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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,465
17,806



Apple on Tuesday released iOS 13.3, a new update that includes Communication Limits for Screen Time, designed to allow parents to limit who can contact their children and who children can contact.

As it turns out, though, there's a bug in the feature that's allowing children to communicate with anyone who texts them.

ios13communicationlimits-800x779.jpg

As outlined by CNBC, Communication Limits is designed to prevent children from communicating with people not in their Contacts list (it can be set to Everyone or Contacts Only).

When an unknown number texts a child, there's an option to add that number to the list of Contacts, allowing the child to then text, call, and FaceTime that person even without parental permission.

This particular workaround only works when there is active Screen Time available. In the Downtime mode, when a child is not supposed to be using an iOS device, there is no option to add a number to the Contacts app.

CNBC says that children can also skirt the contact restrictions when there's available Screen Time by using an Apple Watch paired to an iPhone to call or text a phone number, regardless of whether that number is in the contacts list.

Apple told CNBC that a fix for this workaround is in the works, but parents can take the following steps to prevent children from exploiting the bug:
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Open Contacts.
  3. Select Default Account.
  4. Change it to iCloud.
Forcing contacts to sync with iCloud apparently prevents the bug from occurring on devices that default to syncing contacts with Gmail or other services.

CNBC suggests Apple can address the bug by removing the "Add Contact" option when a child receives a text from a number that's not already in the address book, or Apple could require a PIN before allowing a contact to be saved.

Article Link: Apple Working on Fix for Screen Time Communication Limits Workaround Exploited by Kids
 

BarrettF77

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2015
700
797
What is complicated about telling your QA folks to test new features? Don't defend laziness and repeated complacency. But seriously, the number of flaws in iOS 13 isn't about complexity, it's about accountability and there evidently isn't any at Apple anymore.

Most people on here I think are tired of the excuses and do better next time mentality that exists there. If it was free that's one thing, but we are talking about some of the most expensive products today and a premium over android. Not some off the shelf low end tech.
 

critter13

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2010
373
477
How about the screen time workaround where you can visit social sites on in-app browers even if time limit reached. for example tap on a tweet in Apple News article and boom twitter access even if social media time limit is reached.
 

Justanotherfanboy

Suspended
Jul 3, 2018
851
1,369
Wow, this REALLY makes me grateful that I didn’t raise crappy kids that would go to such an extent to purposefully disobey me.
Mine have always been grateful for the plethora of iDevices dad gives them & also... you know, are aware of the difference between right and wrong.
 

covedrop

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2019
51
52
Wow, this REALLY makes me grateful that I didn’t raise crappy kids that would go to such an extent to purposefully disobey me.
Mine have always been grateful for the plethora of iDevices dad gives them & also... you know, are aware of the difference between right and wrong.

this is potentially the most obtuse comment I have ever seen
 

az431

Suspended
Sep 13, 2008
2,131
6,123
Portland, OR
Did Apple lay off most of their testers after iOS12 was released?

Feel free to volunteer next time a new beta is available.
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Wow, this REALLY makes me grateful that I didn’t raise crappy kids that would go to such an extent to purposefully disobey me.
Mine have always been grateful for the plethora of iDevices dad gives them & also... you know, are aware of the difference between right and wrong.

Perception is what counts.
 

mortenb

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2013
14
52
Denmark
Screen Time is broken already and always has been.

Since the first release, all Screen Time settings are lost if you leave it with wi-fi off for some days...

Sometimes the settings are lost if it runs out of power and is started again - perhaps related to the issue where settings are lost when no wi-fi connection (ie. no connection when turned on again).

A shame, would be a useful tool otherwise.
 
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now i see it

macrumors G3
Jan 2, 2002
8,423
16,512
It should be pretty obvious to everyone by now that apple doesn't test jack before dumping it on to the public. Will this be the last guffaw they make? No. It's gunna keep happening forever just like it always has. Their QA system (if one exists at all) is obviously dysfunctional and broken
 

coolfactor

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2002
5,302
5,817
Vancouver, BC
Did Apple lay off most of their testers after iOS12 was released?

No. It's unrealistic to expect any company to be able to catch every possible scenario as features are added. A change or new feature in one area may require a change in another area that's worked a certain way for years.

  1. Consumers demand feature (in this case, Screen Time).
  2. Apple implements said feature.
  3. Consumers discover a big or workaround in another area.
  4. Consumer accuses Apple of not being perfect.
  5. Apple implements fix.
  6. Life goes on.
Now which step in there is unnecessary noise?
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Did they ever fix the kid-hack of deleting and reinstalling an app to avoid its restrictions?

Sounds to me like the device is not configured properly by the parents. App installation should not be possible without permission or a password.
 
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EM2013

macrumors 68020
Sep 2, 2013
2,454
2,269
They couldn’t have discovered this in the four beta releases?

They might as well just release updates without beta testing. Seeing as how with every release there’s been bugs that weren’t found in betas. Which lead to 13.x.1 (2,3) updates anyway.
 
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adrianlondon

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2013
3,392
3,981
Switzerland
They couldn’t have discovered this in the four beta releases?
They need to actually read the feedbacks that us beta testers leave them. Most of the iOS13 (and Catalina) bugs that are discussed on these forums were noticed and reported months ago.

That's why the thoughtless posts above along the lines of "well, you should work for free and report all the bugs to Apple as you play with the betas so they don't have to bother" are so, well, thoughtless.
 

Puppuccino

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2019
447
426
United Kingdom
This is really lazy software development on Apple’s part. I was expecting a complex hack or workaround of the OS that let you circumnavigate the controls but after reading the article, you just add the person to your contacts and you’re fine.

If they did any testing at all then they would’ve caught this. To defend it and say you always get bugs in software, I know and I’ve worked in software development (I actually have...) and trivially reproducible bugs like this scream poor QA.
 
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BarrettF77

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2015
700
797
Tim meh is galavanting around the country telling everyone their innovation has never been better... If innovation is bugs deployed in production then please shoot me. Because this year has been spot on in that front.
Maybe Apple implemented a unlimited vacation policy and their entire development team has taken the remainder of the year off and the security staff are in the development labs drafting up software releases... 😂
 

jriskin

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2010
7
1
When it comes to getting around restrictions, kids are the best testers/hackers.
^^^ This... I tried Screentime for my two kids and after a few months of 'how did you do that?' i just turned off the restrictions and use it as a monitoring tool. They immediately figured out how to text each other video links to youtube videos in iMessage so that when they run out of time they can watch them later in iMessage... there were just so many times they figured a work around that it became silly...
 
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