If you are a parent of young children, you’ll understand how hard it can be to stop your little ones from playing with your iPad or iPhone. In early April 2019, a 3-year-old child from Washington, D.C., landed his dad into a messy situation after getting hold of his iPad.
To solve this difficult problem, the father, Evan Osnos, staff writer from The New Yorker, took to Twitter to post a screenshot of his iPad, asking for advice.
He tweeted: “Uh, this looks fake but, alas, it’s our iPad today after 3-year-old tried (repeatedly) to unlock. Ideas?”
Uh, this looks fake but, alas, it’s our iPad today after 3-year-old tried (repeatedly) to unlock. Ideas? pic.twitter.com/5i7ZBxx9rW
— Evan Osnos (@eosnos) April 6, 2019
It turned out Osnos was accidentally locked out of his iPad after his toddler repeatedly entered the wrong password.
Apple devices like iPhones and iPads have a security feature that disables the device for a period of time each time the user keys in the wrong password. In 2018, a 2-year-old Chinese boy disabled his mom’s iPhone for 25,113,676 minutes—around 47 years and nine months—after he entered many wrong passwords.
So, like in the aforementioned case, Osnos’s iPad was disabled due to his child’s countless failed tries to access the device. A pop-up message appeared on his iPad, telling him “Try again in 25,536,442 minutes.”
Enjoy your new time capsule? pic.twitter.com/WEsQ8zFOJP
— David Piccirilli (@bluedevilinhou) April 10, 2019
In other words, Osnos would have to wait 25 million minutes, or 48.58 years, somewhere in 2067—nearly half a century later—in order to access his iPad again.
Oh my gosh! That’s indeed a very long time!
Fortunately, a handful of Twitter users responded to Osnos’s plea. They came forward to offer him some helpful, and not so helpful, ideas.
“Time travel seems to be your best bet,” one user wrote.
Another commented, “Next time just give the kid the passcode.”
Time travel seems to be your best bet.
— GeorgeFWatson (@Geopilot) April 7, 2019
Meanwhile, a third one suggested: “Put it in a museum. 47 years from now someone can unlock it to see what computing used to be like.”
“Reboot your 3 y.o.,” joked another.
Put it in a museum. 47 years from now someone can unlock it to see what computing used to be like.
— newtwit (@newtwit) April 8, 2019
Amidst all the various suggestions, a Twitter user named Xavier Brochart recommended a “well documented” solution to the problem.
Whilst User Glenn Fleishman kindly shared: “Here’s step by step instructions from Apple-focused site @TidBITS https://tidbits.com/2018/01/15/what-to-do-if-your-ipad-gets-disabled-by-too-many-passcode-entries/ … This happened to writer/friend @jcenters, and he documents the paths forward.”
That’s a well documented issue. Solutions here: https://t.co/NOFNVUYKj7
— Xavier Brochart (@xbrochart) April 7, 2019
On Monday, April 8, Osnos told New York Daily News in an email that he was still locked out from his iPad.
“It’s down a few hundred minutes from yesterday, but it looks like we’ve still got 25 million minutes to go,” he said. “On Twitter, people have suggested various fixes but the consensus seems to be that we’re using an old operating system that won’t let us restart fresh from iTunes.”
As stated on the Apple website, if users are not able to wait out of lock time, they will need to remove their passcode and perform a restore using iTunes or other methods. However, if you never backed up your device beforehand, the data will be irretrievably lost.
Update on toddler-iPad-lock-out: Got it into DFU mode (don’t hold down the sleep/power button too long or you end up in recovery). Now restoring. Thanks to those who shared advice!
— Evan Osnos (@eosnos) April 9, 2019
Finally, later on April 8, Osnos managed to restore his iPad by putting it into Device Firmware Update mode, as per other Twitter users’ advice.
“Update on toddler-iPad-lock-out: Got it into DFU mode (don’t hold down the sleep/power button too long or you end up in recovery). Now restoring. Thanks to those who shared advice!” he tweeted.
To avoid a tech disaster like this one, don’t ever leave your child alone with your devices. Also, it’s advisable to back up your data.