Apple on Tuesday released their iOS 13.3 update, which included Communication Limits for Screen Time, which are designed to allow parent to control who their children can contact and be contacted by.
However, it’s Thursday, and kids have already found a way to exploit a bug in the feature that allows them to communicate with anyone that texts them.
As reported by CNBC, Communication Limits can be set to prevent children from communicating with folks not in their Contact lists. (It can be set to “Everyone” or “Contacts Only.”)
When an unknown number texts a child, there is an option available to add the number to their Contact list, allowing the child to text, call and FaceTime with that party, even when the limits are set.
This end run around the Communication Limits setting is only available when there is active Screen Time available. If it’s Downtime mode, when the child isn’t allowed to use the device, there will not be an option to add the number to their Contacts list.
The report also indicates that kids can also get around the roadblock when there is available Screen Time by using an Apple Watch paired to an iPhone to call or text the number, even if it isn’t added to the Contacts list.
Apple has confirmed a fix is in the works for the bug,but until it is released, parents can do the following to prevent their little geniuses from exploiting the bug:
- Open Settings.
- Open Contacts.
- Select Default Account.
- Change it to iCloud.
This forces Contacts on the device to sync with iCloud, which apparently prevents the bug from occurring on devices that usually default to syncing their contacts with Gmail or other services.