Toddler locks mom’s iPhone for 47 years

“A two-year-old boy in Shanghai disabled his mother’s iPhone for the equivalent of 47 years after playing with it and repeatedly entering the wrong passcode, according to a Chinese media report,” Kristin Huang reports for The South China Morning Post.

“The incident happened in January after the phone was given to the child to watch educational videos online, the news website Kankanews.com said,” Huang reports. “The mother returned home one day and when she checked the phone found it had been disabled for 25 million minutes by pressing keys repeatedly when the handset requested the passcode be inputted, according to the article. Each time the wrong keys were pressed the phone was disabled for a period of time, the report said.”

“A phone technician at an Apple store in Shanghai was quoted as saying that the woman could either wait years to try to input her passcode again or wipe the contents of the handset clean and then reinstall files,” Huang reports. “‘I couldn’t really wait for 47 years and tell my grandchild it was your father’s mistake,’ the woman was quoted as saying.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It wouldn’t be their father’s mistake. It’d be their grandmother’s.

Note: If you enter the wrong passcode on an iOS device six times in a row, you’ll be locked out and a message will say that your device is disabled. Unless you made a backup before you forgot your passcode, there isn’t a way to save your device’s data. You’ll need to erase your device, which deletes all of your data and settings. You’ll need to erase your device. More info here

20 Comments

    1. as in…
      “wipe the contents of the handset clean and then reinstall files”

      Yup.

      This can be done with iTunes or iCloud (if you purchased additional storage space).

      The point being that the info on the phone would first need to be erased. If she hadn’t performed an iCloud or iTunes backup her data would be lost forever.

  1. How about only allowing continuation of password/passcode attempts after entering a phrase or solving a problem so that the user is protected against both malicious attempts and toddlers?

    1. The reason it is such a long time is in part to keep theives, foreign governments,the FBI & cops out as well as thieves. If Apple put in a “reasonable” time the bad actor, whoever they are, would just have to wait a “reasonable time” to get into the phone.

      Apple’s stance is your data is your data and no one else’s, no matter who is trying to get into the phone. I agree with that wholeheartedly.

      1. NDW: Who does it serve having a 47 year timeout? If you are scared of governments, enable the 10 fail auto-wipe feature. For normal people, a 1 hour limit should be fine.

        1. The iPhone didn’t have a 47-year timeout.

          Supposedly the kid keep imputing the wrong passcode, which kept adding to the standard ‘timeout’ period though I don’t buy it because my iPad 2 (close enough) is set to wipe itself after 11 attempts, which makes the whole cumulative time of 47 years a bit outlandish sounding.

          I’m sure it’s even possible no matter what iOS device you’re working with, for that matter.

          1. Total minimum time required to input all 11 attempts at a correct passcode and fail is 141 minutes at which point the iPhone goes black screen and erases all data and becomes an unusable brick. The two year old would lose interest and go play with something else long before then.

      2. Right. And thanks to Apples narrow vision here, my data won’t even be mine anymore either because it will be locked for 47 years.
        I should be free to let my kid play with my iPhone without worrying he can disable it in such a fashion if it locks while he’s using it.

        Apple should realize there is a far better chance that someone’s kid is playing with a phone and inadvertently disabling it, than there is that someone is actually trying to unlock the phone by guessing the password over and over. Seriously, what are they smoking ? Or are they all a bunch of hippies and millenials with no inkling of what its like to have a family or kids.
        There has to be compromise. No way should the delay time reach such retarded levels!

  2. Hmmm. I worked for Apple for several years and this ain’t really news. I saw a lot of handsets locked for xXx minutes. Often equivalent to dozens of years. Whether or not newer os has made this impossible or not it can happen. It’s far from unique. As an aside – the volume of iCloud unlock requests into Apple stores are astronomical. Apple has work to do to solve the issues of the everyday stupid.

  3. WOW that’s effing absurd of Apple. I thought it locked for 5 minutes then 10 then 15 but had no idea it went to up to such idiotic limits.
    That is really very stupid that Apple does that, it should just disable for 10, 15, 30 whatever minutes each time. That still makes it very hard to crack.
    It should NEVER be permanent. The real passcode should unlock it when it “wakes up” from being disabled. I hope this is a setting, I know there’s one for wiping after so many tries.

  4. Mine did the same (without any fiddling from a small child)
    Plugged in an old phone to charge/wipe in order to sell it.
    It was the first time it had been used in about six months.
    It told me I was locked out for 24,627,918 minutes. (Just shy of 47 years)
    Plugging it into iTunes soon fixed it.

  5. I call BS. This phone was either jailbroken, or this toddler kept trying to unlock the phone for a decade. Each time you lock the phone, the wait time goes up.
    1 min, 5 min, 15 min, 60 min. 6 hours etc. To get to 47 years, it’s likely that it would have had to get to 2 years first…

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