12 Ingenious iOS Screen Time Hacks (and how to beat them!)

12 iOS Screen Time Hacks

12 Ingenious iOS Screen Time Hacks (and how to beat them!)

Opening comment from Chris, Founder of PYE:

This blog post receives a massive amount of traffic. Thousands of visitors every week. Most visitors fit into one of two categories. Either a kid who has Googled, “how to hack my iPhone” or variations on hacking Screen Time. Or a parent who is searching for ways to prevent Screen Time hacks and stay one step ahead of their kid.

In the end, this post wasn’t written for either of them. It was written in order to show Apple how ridiculously easy it is to beat their phone.

Parents, listen – your kid is always going to be one step ahead of you. Quit trying to win this game. You will never solve this situation with a technical solution. It can only be solved relationally. TALK to your kid. Congratulate them on being smarter than you and a company with over a trillion dollars of market value. Then laugh about it, and talk to them about what happens next.

Teens, for you – if you feel like your parents are way too harsh with phone rules, I want to encourage you to talk to them about it. Maybe spin up a contract, bring them some of the research you’ve done on how kids have screwed up their lives with technology and that’s not going to be you, ask them to trust you and give them permission to take your phone away if you prove to be untrustworthy.

Either way, the floodgates of conversation need to flow. Enjoy the post. 

[Note: the following blog post was featured by the Washington Post, Teens find circumventing Apple’s parental controls is child’s playOctober 15, 2019]

When it comes to getting more screen time, the creativity of kids goes up by a power of 100. Outsmarting parents at every turn! Not today. We’ll explain 12 Screen Time hacks FROM THE KIDS, and then provide steps for beating the hackers.

Parents are more concerned than ever about how their kids use technology. Many blog posts explain risks related to excessive screen time, online predators, and exposure to graphic, sexualized content.

With the release of iOS 12 in 2018, Apple sought to assuage parents’ digital concerns with the release of Screen Time. For some families, Screen Time has been helpful. As it pertains to preventing explicit content in Safari and other hidden browsers, Screen Time’s Content & Privacy Restrictions does a decent job.

But when it comes to actually controlling SCREEN TIME, the Screen Time feature has been hacked numerous ways by motivated, clever, downright prodigious teens who will not be thwarted from using their precious iPhones.

Here are 12 Screen Time hacks and our very best ideas for stopping them. 


1. My kid is changing the time zone in Settings in order to evade Downtime.

Give your kid a high five for this smart hack. Nice. Next, explain to them that there is a way to stop this hack. If after talking about the screen time issue you still feel it’s necessary to totally prevent it from happening again:

  1. Grab your kid’s iPhone.
  2. If Screen Time is enabled, you’ll need to disable it for these steps.
  3. Go to Settings -> General -> Date & Time -> toggle on “Set Automatically.”
  4. Go back to Screen Time. Enable Screen Time. **Important – don’t forget to also tap “Use Screen Time Passcode.” Set the 4-digit code. Don’t forget it. Don’t tell your kids!
  5. Tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions” and toggle them on at the top.
  6. Further down tap “Location Services.”
  7. Go all the way down to “System Services.”
  8. Ensure that “Setting Time Zone” is toggled off. Tap “Back.”
  9. At the top of the Location Services screen, check “Don’t Allow Changes.” After you do this, if you scroll down on the screen, you will see everything greyed out except System Services. But if you tap it, you’ll then see that “Setting Time Zone” is greyed out, which is what we want.
  10. If you go back out to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Date & Time,” you’ll now see that it’s greyed out and can’t be changed.

2. Even though the YouTube App is gone, my kid is still watching YouTube videos through iMessage.

So clever! But easy to squash this Screen Time hack.

  1. Screen Time -> Content & Privacy Restrictions -> Content Restrictions -> enter passcode -> Web Content.
  2. Check “Limit Adult Websites.”
  3. **This is the key. Under “NEVER ALLOW” you have to type in the following web address exactly like this: https://www.youtube.com
  4. Then, back out from there. If you miss one character in the URL above, it won’t work.
  5. Some parents have also noted that if App Limits or Downtime have been reached for the YouTube app, then a kid can also continue perusing YouTube videos through the iMessage widget (if you’re not sure what the “iMessage widget” is see the image below). This is true. Therefore, if this is being abused, you will need to remove the iMessage app from the “Always Allowed” list. Screen Time -> Always Allowed -> then remove it from Allowed Apps by tappining the red circle with the white minus sign.

iMessage Widget

3. My kid figured out my 4-digit passcode. 

Pick a harder code. Seriously. They may be lurking over your shoulder when you type it in, or looking at the reflection from your glasses. I’m not making this stuff up!

4. My kid enabled screen recording in order to figure out my 4-digit passcode.

Now, that’s smart. Look for the red recording dot at the top of the screen. If you find that they’re using it to get the passcode, it’s time for a really good “let’s chat” moment. If it’s a trick they try again, and you decide that disabling screen recording is the only move, then here’s what you can do:

  1. On your kid’s iPhone, Screen Time -> Content & Privacy Restrictions -> Content Restrictions -> then scroll down to the bottom.
  2. Tap “Screen Recording” and check “Don’t Allow.”
  3. Or, if you want to keep it enabled, just look for the red, recording dot at the top of the device when you go to type in the passcode. If you see it, throw them in mommy-prison. Busted!

5. I have set App Limits, but my kid can keep using the apps after the limit is reached!

One toggle makes all the difference. You can do this!

  1. On your kid’s iPhone, Screen Time -> App Limits -> Add Limit.
  2. Then, select the category or individual app (if using iOS 13) you want to limit. Tap “Next.”
  3. Set your time limit, and **this is the key,** make sure “Block at End of Limit” is toggled on. See the image below.

Screen Time Hacks - Protect Young Eyes

6. My kid found software for his MacBook or PC that allowed him to “hack” the 4-digit, Screen Time passcode.

Yes, this has been an issue. We’ve written a whole blog post about this one. You can stop it, but it’s not easy.

7. My kid did a factory reset of the phone in order to get around Screen Time. 

This is the most drastic step. If a kid is using their own Apple ID (since they would have to type it back in once the phone reboots) there’s not much you can do to stop this hack.

Be observant! If you’re monitoring their usage through Screen Time on your phone, you would notice a significant decrease in usage if a reset had occurred (since Screen Time would no longer be tracking usage).

If a kid is willing to factory reset their phone for more access, then there are greater issues to deal with. I might argue the kid isn’t mature enough for an internet-ready, portable device of their own.

8. My kid is using Siri to send text messages when I have iMessage turned off during Downtime or App Limits have been reached.

First, figure out what is so important that your kid is doing this in the first place. Who knows what you might discover about your kid! If you determine that with repeated use of this hack, even if you’ve told him/her that during certain times they’re not supposed to be texting, you can do the following to turn off Siri. Fun fact – I met the woman who was the original voice of Siri!

  1. On your kid’s iPhone, Screen Time -> Content & Privacy Restrictions -> enter your 4-digit Screen Time passcode.
  2. Tap “Allowed Apps” and then Toggle off “Siri & Dictation.”

9. After Downtime enables, my kid takes a screenshot, and uses the picture to select “send” and a secret iMessage portal comes up.

Wow. We have to marvel at their creativity. If they could only apply this same grit and stamina to algebra. Friends, this is one of the few that we can’t prevent. You can monitor for it with a service like Bark, which can give parents “after-the-fact” insight into iMessage (texting) activity. Have you heard of Bark?

Learn more about Bark – the best social monitoring app we’ve seen!

Bark Parental Controls

10. Once App Limits have been reached, my kid just deletes the app, and then re-downloads the app from iCloud WITHOUT Family Sharing permission, which allows them to continue playing.

Don’t we all wish Apple would allow us to permanently delete apps from a child’s Apple ID? First, it’s time for a curious conversation about what it is about this app that they’ve re-downloaded that they can’t live without. Listen to what they have to say and you might learn something new. If then you tell them, “Hey, I don’t want you doing that” and they continue, then you might need to turn off the ability to delete apps.

  1. Content & Privacy Restrictions -> iTunes & App Store Purchases -> type in your 4-digit Screen Time passcode.
  2. You might consider making all 3 choices read “Don’t Allow” per the screen shot below.

Screen Time Hacks - Protect Young Eyes

11. After my kid reaches App Limits, he can still access iMessage (texting) by swiping down, tapping any iMessage notification, and BOOM, he’s sending a text message to friends!

The only fix we can come up with is tedious. It requires you to access the device immediately before Downtime begins. Swipe down on the phone, reveal the notifications panel, and then clear out the notifications before Downtime kicks in.

12. My kid is getting around App Limits on texting (iMessage) by going to the Contacts app. From there, they can share a contact via text, and iMessage comes back up!

There’s a general frustration felt by all iOS Screen Time parents about the continued lack of iMessage parental controls. Here’s how to stop this Screen Time hack by turning off the Contacts app:

  1. On your kid’s iPhone, Screen Time -> App Limits -> enter your 4-digit Screen Time passcode.
  2. Select “Productivity” and then the Contacts app. Tap “Next” in the upper, right corner.
  3. On the next page, give the Contacts app a really low time, like 1-minute (the minimum allowable by Apple) so that the limit is reached quickly.
  4. If you go back to the home screen where the app is, it should be greyed out after that 1 minute.

And, there you have it! We’re sure there are more Screen Time hacks, but these are some of the more significant ones that parents have mentioned. I’ll never understand why Apple doesn’t hire 10 junior high kids to test their products. Give them each a free iPhone, and they’ll do anything.

There are many other toggles that need to be set in Screen Time. iOS 13 also has new settings (iOS 13 started rolling out on Sept. 19). If you want to learn more about iOS 13, we’ve written about every toggle that matters.

Read the iOS 13 Blog Post

Protect Young Eyes Logo

Additional hacks that parents have told us about after publication of this article:

  • iPhone loophole alert: If you try to set a Screentime limit to your kid’s time on Apple Music, they can completely bypass it by using the “Recently Played” widget on the Notification Menu Screen (swipe right from the main home screen… scroll to bottom to add widget).”
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144 thoughts on “12 Ingenious iOS Screen Time Hacks (and how to beat them!)”

  1. Okay I’m feeling a little dumb…I have “block at end of limit” toggled on, but it seems like she STILL is able to access everything past app limits. I don’t know if she’s getting to things through Safari, but even that is set to just 1 minute and blocked at the end of the limit (although she uses it for way longer than 1 minute every day). I have All Apps & Categories set to just one hour, to limit her use to an hour, and Block at End of Limit toggled on, but somehow, she is still on her phone for HOURS. I also have Downtime set up for pretty much ALL DAY (as a way to remove all access except phone calls/texts when she’s grounded from technology), but she’s still accessing everything. I used to think I was pretty tech savvy, and clearly, I am not.

  2. You might ask her if she’s doing anything special. Like maybe using a different Apple ID than the one that is set up through Family Sharing and Screen Time? If you haven’t locked “Account Changes” under Content & Privacy Restrictions, then anyone can remove the Apple ID and get around everything you’ve set up. Maybe give that a try!


  3. everything in this article… and it’s not my middle schoolers who are bypassing but my 3rd and 5th graders hahahah

  4. So easy to disable screen time without any of those methods
    I coded a .mobileconfig File that when installed disabled screen time
    Watcha gonna do bout that

  5. Hi Chris,

    My son has found a way to access anything on the internet by going thru the Settings app, which I can’t place a limit on. No other reason for him to spend that many hours in that app. Any thoughts on how to restrict that one?

  6. Matthew Milunic

    I usually use quite a few of these, but you did miss one. In later versions of iOS that came before iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 if you go into Safari, YouTube and get into fullscreen before the time out screen appears you can stay in full screen.

  7. fun fact: Susan Bennet has not been the voice of Siri for quite some time now – it‘s now computer-generated

  8. One trick my kid has used to watch video (in, say, Safari) is to hit play and quickly tap the icon for full screen video. Then the Screen Time screen pops up “behind” the video. As long as he doesn’t come out of full screen, he can watch as much video as he likes.

  9. We don’t set time limits through the phone and expect it to work. If we communicate a hard rule and it is broken, our son will lose his phone for at least a week. So if he plays his phone or uses it at all after the time we have set as the limit, he loses his phone. How do we know? We check “battery usage” in the morning. You can see if his phone was used during the night at all. Obviously we have limits on adult content as well. We also sometimes just ask that he “turn it in” to us at the allotted time, which is the best way to ensure he isn’t on it. I don’t trust Apple to do my job for me as a parent.

  10. i have 2 questions. 1) when my daughter’s screen time kicks in, grays the app. there is an option to extend the limit by 1 min, etc… how can i remove this. she is constantly extending it. 2) i go to settings th change the screen time password, i input thw new number, and appears to set. however, when i got back to check it, it does take it and the old one is still active. what am i doing wrong.

  11. My kid was sending imessages and texts through games. He would select share score or something similar and a message would pop up, delete the content and type whatever he wanted.

  12. Did the contacts time lock and when you access the phone app and select contacts you can still share them through that app so an iMessage will still pop up.

  13. Hi – wow, that’s a good one that we were not aware of. And it doesn’t look like you can turn off the phone app under “Always Allow,” which means I don’t think there’s a way to beat this one. The lack of iMessage controls is so frustrating. I’m hoping this article will shine a bright light on this so that Apple does something.

    Best to you!

  14. For your #1, I bet it’s because you need to set the toggle in our hack #5 in the blog post. For #2, I have found that Screen Time in iOS 13 is fickle about changing the Screen Time passcode. The only way to fix this that I’ve found is to completely shut off Screen Time, then toggle it back on and set the new passcode. This is a complete pain because it forces you to reset all of the other Screen Time settings. I plan to call Apple about this one to get their attention on it.

    Best to you!

  15. That’s a good one – I was not aware of that one and I’ll add it to the list that I bring to Apple’s attention from time to time. Those ingenious kids!

  16. Smart! Well done. There are ways to stop that with a profile + password, but I’m guessing your parents might not want to spend time figuring that out, and I’m guessing you’re the type of kid who would just use a different device or get around it another way. If that’s true, just be careful. The internet is bigger and more insidious that you can handle if you’re not careful. I don’t suggest these controls because I don’t trust kids like you. I suggest them because I’ve seen darkness and evil online that you can’t fathom.


  17. My kids already knew about most of these, but no one is mentioning this: I have reported the Facetime screen time bypass to Apple 4 times now since IOS 12 was released. Once Screen Time is enabled and you can lock down every app (except the phone app of course)… my 11 year old daughter figured out that she can go into her Phone app recent history and click on any Facetime call she made previously and it will dial that contact in Facetime, although the actual Facetime App is completely locked on the home screen. Apple’s latest message to me was they were aware of this bypass and no solution in sight. Incredible! $1 Trillion dollar company with brilliant engineers and get owned by an 11 year old. Amazing!

  18. I have another one for you to add to your list! I’m not a parent, but I filed this bug with Apple a few months ago, and it’s been ignored.

    If you set up a website to have content restrictions on a website, you can nonetheless right-click a link to that page in Safari, and download the webpage. Then you can view it offline, absent the content restriction. For most static websites, this does the trick pretty well. All you would need to do is Google search for the site you’re looking to bypass restrictions for, and then download the page.

    Hope you can get this loophole (and the others mentioned above) to the right place!

  19. I do IT for a living. So tech solutions I’m quite familiar with…

    One ingenious parenting solution to all of these (and future) hacks: “If I catch you doing any of this sh!#$%@#$t then I will ground you from your phone for a day/week/month”


    I don’t monitor my kiddos use — I let them know what the expectations are, what the consequences will be, and then enforce them when a problem occurs. Basic kiddo/employee/pet managment.

  20. I’ve tried everything to block WhatsApp during downtime but it won’t grey out!,!,!,!,!?.?.

    Tried making sure it’s not on the always allow list.
    Added a time limit of 1min for all apps.
    Updated to latest software.
    Reset phone.
    Deleted app and reinstalled it.

    Every other restriction works but WhatsApp doesn’t?

    Anyone have some ideas?

  21. I don’t believe any child should have access to the internet without direct and actively attentive parental supervision. Don’t buy your child a smart phone, but them a flip phone for calls and txt’s, and take it away when it’s time. The Electro-Magnetic Radiation produced by your phone is shown to cause harm on a cellular level and increase risk of certain cancers. One study that I read showed a 40% increase chance of some kinds of brain cancer after 10 years of cell phone use where the phone is held up to the ear. Until the data is gathered, assessed and made sense of by an independent 3rd party (not working for the communications industry or some other nonsensical conflict of interest), I don’t think children should have cell phones. And with teenagers especially: it WILL become a mobile porn viewing device covered in nasty….why even go there? Teach your children to maintain themselves during this developmentally critical time of their lives and talk with them yourself, don’t leave it up to the smart phone. And when your child is using technology, you should be able to see their screen at all times. I got away with more than anyone could have guessed when I was a teen, and a tech savvy teen at that. Now as an adult, I see how it has affected my life and had I known or had my parents been aware of my sneakiness, all I can say is that it wasn’t worth it and now I have shit I’ve got to work through so I can lead a normal life. And by normal, I mean even seemingly simple stuff like treating women with respect.

  22. I have an iPhone 7, and my son has an iPhone 6. So my phone is on iOS 13, and his is iOS 12.

    Also having problems with being able to bypass downtime with the “one more minute” feature popping up, or being able to respond via the notifications center.

    Separately, I’ve turned off notifications for iMessage and emails – and I have myself as the “emergency contact” – which will break through if the phone is in “do not disturb” – but is there a way that texts from myself can be sent as notifications to him, but texts or emails from others will not…?

  23. My kid has discovered that his Safari history isn’t recorded if he opens a link from Google Docs on his iPad. If he wants to browse without an audit trail (even with all the Screen Time controls properly configured) AND have his Screen Time report show that time as Google Docs / Productivity app usage, rather than Safari / web site time, he’s all set.

    I contacted Apple Support about this, and because I provided technical detail referring to the use of SFSafariViewController (the Safari component Google Docs uses to open a link), they told me they couldn’t help me and sent me to Developer Support, which then sent me back to regular Tech Support (all this over the space of several days). I have not had the heart to try again to get Tech Support to engage.

    It’s easily reproducible – any chance you would be willing to add this to your list of items to take to Apple for resolution?

  24. Yes, thank you. I also heard of this one through another parent, and you’re right, total, unpreventable hack. I’m adding it to our list that we’re brining to Apple.


  25. Hi, do you see the “Communications Limits” feature in your Screen Time options? You might be able to achieve that kind of control over the texts and emails from others in there, although we have not tested that exact scenario.

  26. When I try to check my kid’s screen time from my own iPhone (iOS 13.1.3), most of the time I get a void page (in the daily or week display). Do someone know what’s going on ? Thanks.

  27. I think Apple is on the right track but they have a long way to go to fix all these issues. One of my pet peeves I have with the App store is that there is no way to reset downloads as if an app was never installed. For example. I originally permitted my teen to have snapchat. She abused it so I deleted her account and deleted the app from her phone. However, she could just go to the app store and re-download the app since I already granted her permission for this app in the past. Of course she knows that if she tries that I will literally “Break” her phone and she will lose it indefinitely. 🙂 Apple should allow parents to reset app store permissions so kids have to ask for permission to reinstall apps that were previously approved and installed, but since deleted. Seriously… Apple should just ask parents for advice before implementing any OS changes or new stuff. I have already reported about a dozen issues with the iPhones (whether is screen time related or other issues I have experienced)…but they DO NOT respond or actually listen to consumers. I wonder if anyone is paying attention at this company.

  28. There are a lot of things I really dislike about this article. I’m 22 years old so I’m neither a parent nor a child, and I think I have sort of an unbiased view on this issue. Monitoring and limiting screen usage is useful, but you’re suggesting that parents go to extreme measures and ruin the experience for their kids.

    > Now, that’s smart. But we can disable screen recording!

    Disabling screen recording is such an extreme measure to prevent the kid from watching the passcode in a video. This is a feature that they may want to use but you’ve just scared parents into disabling it. A better solution would be to make parents aware of the red bar at the top of the screen when it’s being recorded.

    > If a kid is willing to factory reset their phone for more access, then there are greater issues to deal with. I might argue the kid isn’t mature enough for an internet-ready, portable device of their own.

    If anything, you should applaud a kid’s creativity for finding these workarounds. It’s an indication of creativity and if encouraged it can lead to success in technical fields in the future (particularly around security).

    > Ok, for this hack it’s time to turn off Siri. Fun fact – I met the woman who is the voice of Siri in 2016 in Boston!

    Once again, another extreme measure. You’re getting parents to become extremely paranoid and the kids will face the consequence of this. Siri is a useful tool in iPhones and asking them to disable it isn’t ideal.

    > Wow. We have to marvel at their creativity. If they could only apply this same grit and stamina to algebra.

    Once again, don’t shame kids for using their creativity here. Technical skills are great and discouraging them for applying creativity in tech does no one any favours.

    > In the meantime, we need to turn off the ability to delete apps.

    This might make sense for some age groups, but it could also be a frustration for others. Imagine running out of storage or trying to get rid of an app you no longer like only to realise you can’t delete it. I understand that you want to educate parents about this if their kids are abusing it but I feel you need to do more to help the kids by pointing out that these are extreme solutions that should only be used if the kid has abused these loopholes in the past.

    Overall, I’m really unhappy with the lack of empathy this article demonstrates towards kids. You should definitely add warnings to some of these solutions explaining the downsides of them and how they should only be used in extreme measures. Building paranoia isn’t going to help anyone.

  29. This is a new issue that I have not seen reported yet. You might need to call Apple. But recently, that has been a move that bears much fruit for people other than “thanks, we’ll let our engineers know.”

  30. Hello! Thank you for leaving such a detailed, well-written comment. I enjoy other perspectives, and have adjusted the tone of a few of our comments as a result. I believe your comments have caused me to make the post even better. In the end, I agree with you. We need to err on the side of curiosity before condemning the brilliance. Thanks again!


  31. My daughter figured out our password so we changed it. BUT it is not changing on her phone despite the fact that we changed it on our parental settings?

  32. An iOS 13 bug that’s a real pain right now is that Screen Time passcode changes don’t stick unless you completely toggle off Screen Time, and re-toggle it back on again. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to reset all of the other settings, too. Big pain! But, everyone is experiencing this right now.


  33. Hack #1 is not working for me. What that setting does in iOS13 is preventing the kid from changing if Time and Date is allowed to use location services or not. It doesn’t prevent the kid from toggling automatic time and date on and off, and changing the time zone. This ability alone renders Screen Time absolutely useless.

  34. Issues like this aren’t limited to Apple products. My son has been exploiting the Windows 10 screen limits feature and playing on his computer whenever he feels entitled to do so. I’ve had to go to the extreme of removing the power cable until he asks for it.

    I’ve reported this to Microsoft a number of times, but never a follow-up.

  35. A few queries:
    1. What about controlling access to apps that appear in the lock-screen, like spotify? These don’t seem to contribute to the screen-time totals.
    2. Why does the amount of screen-time logged for the phone for the day so much larger than the sum of the amounts of screen-time logged for each app – ie, (family member) > “See All Activity” > “Total Screen Time” reads “2h 34m”, while the sum of the “MOST USED” apps could be half that. Is this related to (1)?
    3. Why is the “Approve For” limited to 15 minutes, 1 hour, etc? Why can’t I select what I want?
    4. What about allowing the parent to create a default profile, then allowing the parent to switch something on for a short while, then the phone reverting to the default profile? How many times have we enabled an app, then forgot to deny it?

  36. The date/time solution does not work. I have tried it several times following the instructions very carefully. Everything is as it should be and greyed out in system services but I go back to date/time and the set automatically button is not greyed out. I feel like it used to be greyed out but now I cannot fix it for the life of me. It completely defeats the purpose of screen time and is so disappointing

  37. No matter what I do I can not get the date and time to grey out, even on my phone, are you sure these are the right instructions?


  38. These are very good tips. But one issue is that the screen time is on and with app limits, when checking the screen time activity from the family share, it is not reporting any kind of activity why is that? And how to fix it?

  39. Hi, we are looking into it. Something has recently changed and I appreciate that you and a few others have brought this to our attention. We tested this sequence of steps closely in order to write the blog post. But, clearly something is now different. If we figure it out, we’ll let you and others know.


  40. Hi, we are looking into it. Something has recently changed and I appreciate that you and a few others have brought this to our attention. We tested this sequence of steps closely in order to write the blog post. But, clearly something is now different. If we figure it out, we’ll let you and others know.


  41. Hi, we are looking into it. Something has recently changed and I appreciate that you and a few others have brought this to our attention. We tested this sequence of steps closely in order to write the blog post. But, clearly something is now different. If we figure it out, we’ll let you and others know.


  42. We have three iPad 6th gen models for our kids. All of them have been upgraded to iPadOS 13.1.3, all have the same model number – MR7G2LL/A. They should all be configured the same, but the one for our oldest, who is 10, can still bypass the timezone restriction in hack #1. On the oldest, the “Set Automatically” option can be toggled and the timezone changed, while the one used by our next child, who is 8, it is locked to Set Automatically and is greyed out. I’ve been through all of the Screen Time settings on their iPads, and they appear to be configured the same.

    I noticed iPadOS 13.2 is out, I am upgrading these two iPads to see if that changes anything.

  43. That’s not a normal behavior, Joe. You might want to give Apple Support a call and/or stop into an Apple Store for them to ensure everything is set up correctly.

  44. The fix of hack #1 doesn’t seem to work. I’ve done it several times and nothing is grayed out. And I can’t find this workaround mentioned anywhere else online either. Perhaps it’s carrier dependent? I’m on Xfinity Mobile (which uses Verizon’s network). I’d love to know if there IS a way to block changing the time if there is a way!

  45. Hi, yes, something has changed recently to make this hack ineffective. It’s worked for over a year and now something has changed. We’re looking into it!

  46. Hi,
    my son discovered the code of Screen Time Control. I changed it on my iPhone, in Family Sharing, but I don’t know why on his iPhone it didn’t change. How can I change it on his iPhone?
    Thank you for your help

  47. As a teen whose parents view her screen time (but don’t put concrete limits on them), I can say that some of these parents go too far. My friend gets limited screen time but she’s not even addicted to her phone. I spend a lot of my time on Snapchat, but I only talk to about 5 people, one of whom helps me when I am not feeling mentally OK. I talk to him a lot, whenever he’s on (he’s 4 hours ahead of my time zone and his school takes his phone at night), and he has helped me through so much. If it wasn’t for him, I would be way worse than I am now, so I pretty much need Snapchat to have access to him (he doesn’t really respond on any other app because his equally controlling mom can see, even though he goes to boarding school). For some teens, including me, we need to talk to certain people who we can trust with things we’re going through, and those people don’t always go to your school or other activities. I do online school by myself (started last year), and I only see the same 8 people at swim almost every day. However, I am not close with them, and therefore do not trust them with even 10% of the things I tell my friend that goes to boarding school. Also, some of the best friendships I (and even my mom) have made are over the web. No, you obviously shouldn’t trust everyone, but usually kids my age know who you can trust and who you can’t (and when your mom has been part of a mom’s blogspot-turned-FB group for nearly 17 years, she probably knows the other members pretty well by now).
    I can assure you, all of my friends live on Snapchat. That’s how I can communicate with them. It’s sad, but being schooled at home and living in a very small place you literally can’t leave unless by plane means that you get to know a lot of people in other places through social media, and they can be friends for life. Better than the people who live in your area.

  48. yall Boomers are dumb. There will always be ways for children to circumvent these frivolous restrictions you impose upon them, so you might as well just stop being overly excessive helicopters. No kid likes a parent like this and will be driven to prove he is more tech savvy. In almost all cases, he is! So all of you set down your phones, and let the kids have the same freedom that you had back in your day.

  49. Christine Oliverio

    Thank you for all of this information!! Is there a reason our son’s phone would stop reporting to my husband’s iPhone? It’s almost as if they’re not synced up any longer and we’re sure if it’s some sort of setting it what’s going on…

  50. My son would ask for more time and he would select a certain time and it wouldn’t alert me to approve it and He will just continue to use the app even after down time.

  51. I am 16. I am male. These threads are exactly what makes kids want to do these hacks. Hell, I came here to try to hack my screen time. But you guys just assume the worst of us and it hurts to read. Now yes there are some cases where kids need to be limited and talks need to be had. But a majority of the time we just wanna talk to other people or be able to have some fun while we still can before we have to go make money and start families. You are ruining these years for us. In all honesty just because we are on our phones a lot doesn’t mean we don’t love you or don’t need you. We do it because we love ourselves and we need ourselves and we still have outside activities and people we can’t reach through the phone. Technology forges bonds. I don’t say this to change your mind I say this to educate. So please think twice when debating to put limits on or add more. Because all your doing is limiting happiness before the real part of life starts.

  52. Happiness through a smartphone. I just don’t think true happiness can be found there! If you study the apps and how they’re built, like we have, you discover that they aren’t built to help us. All of us have old brains that can’t resist the pull of these features. Even my 45-year-old brain! Your 16-year-old, Paleolithic male brain isn’t strong enough to resist their pull, either. We write these articles to protect you (and all of us) against a technology that we can’t control. I wish you the best.

  53. good lord, that attitude…blatantly insulting the kid you’re supposedly trying to “protect”? looks like someone has a bit of an inferiority complex going on. good thing you found this nonsense to boost your self-esteem a little; you need it.

  54. In my house the kids were going through settings, typing in passwords for youtube or twitter or whatever, going to change password, which would open up a browser through which they could view whatever videos they wanted to. They also found ways to view videos through various apps that were connected to youtube- like I wanted to make Khan Academy unlimited because if you want to math at 2 a.m. go ahead, but they were watching youtube gaming videos through it.

  55. Another bug I’ve encountered twice now on my son’s iphone 7: if his phone dies from battery drain, screen time loses it’s passcode and all restrictions are lifted. It’s still “enabled” on both his phone and my phone, but if I try checking screen time from my phone I just get a spinny wheel and it never updates. And just turning screentime off and on again doesn’t work – I have to completely remove him from Family Sharing, re-add him, re-setup screen time and then it comes back.

    I discovered this because my son came and told me himself – both times. I know not all kids are like that (I have two other young ones who, when they get phones, I can assure you will NOT come tell me unasked). But as he reached 10, 11, 12 (he’s 15 now) I worked hard to make sure he understood two things. #1 – Dad loves you enough to protect you from things that don’t love you. #2 – You are solely responsible for your own choices and bear the responsibility of the consequence (good or bad) of those choices. You can’t force your kids to do or not do anything. What you can do is teach them, through a stability of character and person, that you can be trusted. That you really do know what’s best for them. Sometimes they’ll ignore you. And they’ll reap what they sow. But you’re still there to guide them when they do, to answer questions, to help them see the lesson learned. There are still boundaries to be made, but they should be progressively lax as they age, handing more and more of the responsibility of choice over to them. I don’t take my son’s phone at night anymore and while at first he used it for a few hours in the night, he now only uses spotify for 15-20 mins (to help fall asleep).

    None of this, however, is helpful for a willfully defiant child, or for a child actually addicted. Deeper issues likely exist, and family counseling or therapy would probably be very helpful. As has been stated, screen time is not an end-game solution, it’s one of several tools for parents to help raise their kids into well-adjusted responsible adults. But like all tools, we expect them to work as advertised. Unfortunately, screen time doesn’t appear to.

  56. You’re right – the Settings -> Passwords and then change passwords hack is one being exploited by a number of kids (you’re the second parent I messaged about it tonight). That Safari access does obey the Content & Privacy Restrictions you might set up to “limit adult content,” but Downtime and tracking screen time aren’t able to touch it. Arg….Apple…..

  57. you overprotective boomers need to stop

    This is insanely stupid. My parents put restriction on my phone for literally no reason I was on my phone for 3-4 hours a day before this. And they set the limit for 2 hours and 45 minutes. They blocked the reminders app which I use app day for school and chores, they blocked my audio book app which I use for school ( I’m a part of battle of the books)
    They also blocked SoundCloud and Spotify which are music apps. They blocked google, and my weather app. And countless more apps that don’t need these restrictions at all. As much as I hate it I understand why you would limit YouTube and apps like that but half of the apps my parents blocked were apps I use daily for good porpoise but not anymore because of screen time. I think parents need to trust their kids and calm down
    – B

  58. Lol Not going to even lie ya’ll kinda stupid.

    You never thought that Kids would Read this too? Ur giving kids ideas not the parents. Their generation will always be superior in technology, and they will beat anything you throw at them. I know a 13 year old, who can Assemble and reassemble a PC in less than 5 hours. So you being here Is kind of a wasted effort, not even going to lie.

  59. I may be missing something big here, but I have enabled Screen Time on my child’s phone via my Apple ID. When I go into her settings is there a way to prevent the child from logging out of the phone or resetting it? If I do it all I need to do is enter the phone’s passcode not screen time. Really need to figure out a way to enforce these restrictions when my child is not with me, and an adult may be helping to reset the phone and replace with an entirely new Apple ID to bypass all of the restrictions I set. Please let me know, thank you.

  60. Hi – you’ll want to ensure you’ve set a passcode for the Screen Time restrictions you established. You can review those here. She can always perform a factory reset – nothing can stop that. But she would have to be really devoted to beating your controls to want to reset the phone multiple times.

  61. Hey Chris, I’ve been trying to block access to the imessage app store for weeks and can’t find a useful way to do it other than needing to jailbreak phone. Or blocking message app altogether which is not a solution. Do you have any suggestions for that as blocking the app store doesn’t block this imessage app store.

  62. A teen that isn't addicted to my phone

    I am not addicted to my phone. I am 16 and I am currently going to college and just finished a semester of 17 credits, I teach piano, do service work, and I am involved in our church youth group. I am a responsible person through my own work rather than what my parents forced me to be. My average screen time is 2 hours a day, which according to Psychology Today, a healthy amount of screen time is 1-2 hours a school day (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-happy-life/201812/how-much-screen-time-is-too-much ). I am fantastic with technology because of the restrictions and I have been ever since my helicopter parents gave me access to a screen. Just know that strict parents do not make kids more innocent, they just make kids sneaky and terrified to talk to their parents about the tiniest things. I speak from experience and from what I have seen through my generation. If you give your kid a limit, they will HAVE to use up all their screen time, otherwise, they feel like they wasted it. Let them figure out how to budget their time by trial and error, rather than running their lives for them. I have seen too many good people have parents run their lives and then crash and burn when they are on their own. Or even better, have healthy communication with your child through words rather than communicating your expectations through your device. Give them access but if you want to know what they’re doing on their phone, ask to go through their phone in person, rather than expecting a device to do your job as a parent.
    If you don’t talk to your kid in real life and have a healthy relationship than they won’t want you to be in their lives. It’s a two-way trip that involves trust on both sides.

  63. I’m sorry but I have to say this, the parents that put on screen time for their kids are causing more problems then what they think. Many people believe that the limit is set and that’s that but in reality it’s bad. Many kids at my school are made fun of embarrassed because of limits. I know from experience because many time when I’m hanging out with my friends everybody is playing a game together and I have to sit and watch because my parents feel like they need to be in control. Not just that but when we can’t communicate with are friends we end up getting left out, for example my friends had been texting me about a sleepover but because I had screen time limits I wasn’t able to respond, this made it seem like I was purposefully ignoring them and that caused them to question are relationships.

  64. Hi Chris
    I have disabled “Account Changes” on my son’s phone but it does not work. All time limits I have put do not work, he uses I guess another apply ID. Why isn’t his account grayed on his phone? Perhaps some running app or an abo prevents this restriction? Or maybe it is possible to disable it from icloud?
    Thanks for your time!

  65. Wondering what has changed with Screen Time recently. My son’s phone used to shut down apps when time ran out. He now can just keep selecting “One Minute” repeatedly. It’s as if the “Block at End of Limit” option isn’t working any more. It used to work great. Other parents I know are also running into this same issue. I’ve got an iPhone 7 and he has an iPhone 6 plus.

  66. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one having trouble with the “one more minute” feature right now. Make sure you’re running the most updated version of iOS 13. Part of the problem might be that iOS 13 doesn’t work on 6 plus, so your son’s phone might start having issues……

  67. Ok so a kid here. 15. I constantly used the screenshot method over and over again. if I used my time up, screenshot, share, message, delete the attachment and go on about texting. Thought I was the only one who thought of that and was very proud of myself ? ok so I’ll get to the point. IOS 13 has made it impossible to send people texts in any way if you have used up your time, thus ending my amazing little hack that cannot be solved. 🙁 sad now but it helps I guess

  68. Not to be “offensive”, but if you have a good solid relationship with your child, then maybe you be having said problems or even have to have Screen Time settings put in place to begin with. When you put restrictions like that in place its seen from the child’s point of view, less as a helpful resource and more as you trying purely to be controlling. Maybe have a conversation with your child or teen before putting any restrictions in place and try and get them to limit their phone use more. If that fails, THEN place restrictions on their phone, but explain to them why you are doing it. Explain that you aren’t trying to be controlling and that you are merely trying to get them to engage in other things and be more present in everyday life aside from a screen. I do understand that excessive phone use has become a problem but it can be combat in a simpler way then this. And most importantly is the relationship of trust you should have with your child.

  69. I think screentime is just an easy out for not having strong relationships with a child and not wanting to do anything to fix them. I think it’s lazy and an invasion of the privacy of the child. Try trust for once

  70. Hi Chris, love the site and love your advice. On hack #1, I’ve done all the steps but my daughter can simply change the date and time to 2018 and presto, the app limits magically don’t apply anymore! Any ideas on how to stop this?

  71. Hi, it seems that this hack has become unsolvable with recent updates to iOS 13, which is absolutely ridiculous. We’re aware of this, but will be looking for a solution.

  72. Hi Chris, I am a 16 year old that goes to one of the best high schools in the country, maintains good grades, and does many activities outside of school such as three sports, community service, and volunteer work. While I love being in the moment and sharing real world experiences with my friends, in today’s day and age it is extremely hard to thrive without a cell phone. I am at the age where I am starting to get a job and pay for my own things. I had a screen time restriction of two hours at 15 years old in my sophomore year of high school. This has been lifted and now I “only” have the screen time restriction going from 9:30 pm to 8:00 am. I also have to turn in my phone, and I am not allowed to have Snapchat. Overprotective parents like mine just give kids a reason to become mischievous and sneaky. Before new updates put out by Apple, I bypassed many restrictions that allowed me to contact friends. My savvy with technology was a big factor in me getting accepted into my school. Sophomore year is when high school parties start to happen and friendships start to clique. I have been shut out of many friend groups because of being left out because of a Snapchat or a text that came through to everyone after my screen time restriction. My mental health has degraded tremendously because of my parents and I have received no help because “If I wasn’t on my phone so much I wouldn’t have problems”. The one friend that I did have that helped me through many things whether it was depression, my anxiety, or even drama with a girl I might like, was cut off because of the new feature that helps parents restrict contacts on their child’s phone. Lastly, I also have a problem with Life360 but that is a conversation for another day. I am just here to share my experience that I believe will stay true until my senior year in some way or another. So here I am to say thank you, for teaching our overprotective parents that have yet to trust technology, more ways to restrict their kids from fun experiences, conversations, and even personal help from friends.

  73. hi, just to share hack #1, i having few ios phone for kids, ios12 n ios13, if set automatic in Date/Time didnt grey off, u need to set screentime competely off, then go set location service timezone to off ( there is 2 setting, 1 setting in the normal location services page, the other in the content & privacy restrictions page) , both set to off, then follow #1, go to normal location services page to turn on location service for timezone, and the one in content & restriction page also, both Setting Time Zone turn it on, final step remember to change Location Services to Dont Allow Changes in Content&Privacy Restriction page, just play with these steps, u will see the set automatic grey off, and kid will not able to change the date/time to avoid the Downtime period.
    PS even i update to ios13, the set automatic still didnt gey off, so i toggle these setting on both pages, and follow chris step #1, it will works, pls try out

  74. I’m not going to attack the integrity of the article– it is filled with valid information, however, I have several points that I would like to make about screen time.
    1) Make sure that your child is genuinely abusing their iPhones for time-wasting activities. As a teen who uses their phone 90% of the time for communication of some form, my most used apps being Instagram and iMessage, we use it for communicating with friends and peers, to get homework help, be inspired, take pictures with friends to create memories, etc. Screen time of any form is not naturally destructive. However, if/when it gets to the point where it seems like they are spending every waking minute on their phone, have a civil discussion about what they seem to be doing.
    2) Remember that they don’t have as much self-control as you. Just because you didn’t have cell phones as a kid doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be addicted to them if you were them. The parts of your brain that have to do with decision-making and self-control don’t fully develop until your mid-twenties! Naturally, teens don’t have full control of things that have addictive qualities.
    3) Wait for it to become a problem, and even then, see if it fixes itself. Many problems can be solved by letting them play out. Give them a chance. Especially when they first get the device, there is going to be a period where they are still figuring things out on their own. Wait, and then discuss it with your teen.
    4) Downtime: The whole idea of shutting off the phone for a certain time every single night, regardless of anything that might need to be accomplished. Friendships need to be maintained, and that involves making some sacrifices. As someone who has friends who are 15 hours ahead of me, you find that someone is going to have to make a sacrifice to communicate regularly. Once, my father turned off the Internet while I was Face Timing a friend at around 10:30 pm on a Saturday night. It was a convenient time for her and it had been a while since we chatted. Naturally, it was very frustrating and I was upset. I had to explain to her the next morning when my downtime was turned off that my father had decided to turn off the internet. She had thought it was a problem with her data on her side, and she had tried to fix a problem that didn’t exist before I tried to explain. It causes inconveniences like these that are naturally frustrating. It is a good idea to have a few basic apps that are always allowed, such as iMessage or WhatsApp. It allows for communication that might have to happen at hours that aren’t necessarily convenient for the parents.
    5) Individual time limits: Again, very frustrating. It’s especially frustrating when you run out of time mid conversation and leave them on “read,” or “seen,” whatever you want to call it or have to stop mid-conversation. It’s an awkward conversation the next time you see them in person and inconvenient. Parents also don’t understand that some days, screen time is going to happen more naturally than other days. Days such as weekends or days when we don’t have much homework are days when we might watch Netflix on our phone, Facetime our friends, etc. Parents have to remember to be flexible because not every day is the same and more importantly, not every teen is the same.
    6) You aren’t building trust at all. You treat your teen like a child and then expect them to have the self-control of an adult. I’ve spent many nights crying or otherwise very upset, and it’s not because of social media. It’s because of the strictness of my parents. I feel like I can’t do anything without them controlling or at least watching. Regulating the communication with my friends, who are sometimes the only people who understand our struggles because they are going through the same thing, and the people we confide in, isn’t better for our mental health. Parents wonder why we are sad and grumpy, and it’s not because of our phones. Remember that being a teen is an emotional time and we aren’t always going to have a big smile on our face. Life isn’t like that, and you of all people should know that.
    7) It’s frankly embarrassing. My parents have consistently been the most strict out of my peers, from multiple standpoints, and when everyone is having fun at a sleepover or another social event, maybe they’ll take a picture or something, or be on their phones, it’s extremely awkward. You have to explain that your parents have the ability to set limits on your phone. You get judged, and if you don’t want to be judged, you feel the need to lie in order to fit in.
    8) I don’t believe that it’s any coincidence, and feel free to prove me wrong, that the happiest, most intelligent, kindest people I know don’t have limits on their phone. I’m often jealous of the relationships that my peers have with their parents because they are happy and feel comfortable with them and talk to them. I feel that if I have anything to tell my parents, they will already know because of the control that they have over me, or they will simply turn my concerns into a lecture that I didn’t need.
    9) And to address a few things said about teens devoting more time to getting past time limits than to algebra, keep in mind algebra isn’t our best friend.
    Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

  75. SO, when I set a 25min time limit for a category, say GAMES. Is that 25min PER game?? Or is that 25min total for ALL game usage??

  76. Okay look, I came to this site looking for a way to hack my screen time. And what do I find? An over confident bully of a person, insulting children about their phone usage. Instead of making helicopter parents paranoid, maybe try to encourage parents to have good relationships with their kids. Sitting down and making some rules known face to face, then discussing punishments when those rules are broken. The for every screen time limit placed, the more hacks we will find. Setting screen time limits just makes kids go behind their parents backs to find out ways to get more.
    Kids loose trust in their parents, parents loose trust in kids. It’s a loose-loose situation. There were so many things wrong with this article, not to mention the unprofessional way you’ve been responding to kids comments “Please think about what you just typed. Please study why the apps are constructed the way they are. Your 16-year-old, Paleolithic male brain isn’t strong enough to resist their pull. We write these articles to protect you against a technology that you can’t control. You probably won’t understand. Someday, maybe.” See what I mean. I hope in the future you control your tone when talking to someone who is trying to give you important feedback. Maybe then your obviously “superior” brain can understand someone else’s very valid opinion, and reply to it professionally.

  77. Seems to me that parents are the one with control issues if they are SO intent on kids not getting a few extra minutes on a screen that they are willing to compromise Siri and deleting apps, which is greatly limiting the functionality of the device that you are so intent on controlling.

  78. It’s supposed to be 25 minutes total for the entire category, so if there are 5 gaming apps, that could be 5 minutes each, but total from the 5 can’t exceed 25.

  79. Coming from one of the teens who have to deal with screen time: Look, I get that you parents don’t want us on our phones during class, and yeah, if you have kids 12 or younger then obviously you can do whatever you need. But for us 13 and older, this is absolutely outrageous. Yes, I have restrictions on my iPhone but they’re not as terrible as what I’ve seen. First, why would you ever want to disable their iMessages? We’re not talking to drug dealers or hot singles in our area or any weirdo or creep, we know better, and also what would they be able to do if there was ever an emergency? How would they be able to contact you if something were to go down and you weren’t around to help them? Second, why would you want to disable YouTube? We don’t watch how to kill a person or anything inappropriate. If you want to make sure your teen isn’t on YouTube at night when they should be sleeping than sure, just enable downtime for the YouTube app from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. But listen to me for a minute, we are not addicted to our phones, you parents say that all we do is be on social media and don’t want to talk to you, but what do you want to do after a long hard day at work? Take a nap, relax, watch tv, and yes of course you would want to rest. And it’s the exact same thing for us in school, we have homework, tests to study for, all of this work that we don’t like either. We’re growing up, we’re stressed out, and we’d appreciate free time as much as you would. And just because we’re on our phones doesn’t mean we don’t love you nor need you anymore. We have friends we like to talk to all the time, we like to play video games too. But don’t put these restrictions disabling iMessages or Instagram. It shuts us down. I have been having a couple suicidal thoughts in the past and my amazing friends have been helping me for the past couple of months. But I had Instagram restricted for an unspeakable amount of time before I could use it, and I couldn’t talk to my friends. Like I said before, kids 12 and younger obviously need some level of restrictions on them. But teens 13 and older do not. Period. You want us to grow up? Don’t set any unnecessary restrictions on us, that’s treating us like we’re 9. This is outrageous and I don’t like anything that has been shown on this article

  80. I’m sure you’re tired of reading our comments, but I’ll be 100 percent honest here.
    I really don’t care. This is an issue that’s getting out of hand.
    These comments from other teens are correct, even if they are a little biased. Parents are so terrified of their children getting more screen time that it’s come to this? Kinda shameful, if I’m getting a say. Face the facts, parents: we have the upper hand in this fight. We’re being raised around technology, and no matter how much you limit us, we’re gonna find another way through. Give up, surely there’s better ways to do this. If need be, take our phones at night. If you’re honestly this determined to stop us from extending our time, think about how the child feels.
    And to Chris, of course, I’d like to point out how disgusted I am. So many points have been made and yet you either shut them down and insult the kids you’re “protecting” or you don’t respond. I’m sure you’ll do the same here, and I say go ahead. You’re proving my point.

  81. Apologies, it’s been a pretty unusual winter for me, so I’ve been ignoring blog comments for a bit of sanity. Not responding isn’t great, so my apologies that I haven’t been better at that and I’ll go reply to a bunch right now.

    Hello! It’s our general practice not to reply to anonymous comments because when a fake email address is left, then the comment doesn’t do any good. I’ve tried replying to some of these comments using the email address that’s been left. When it bounces back undeliverable, then that just tells me someone is trying to be mean and not actually talk about it. I’ve been doing this long enough to know what an anonymous comment means. It almost always means “I’m trying to be mean by saying something that I don’t want to be held accountable for.” It’s just not productive 🙂

    But, if this is your real email address, which I hope it is, then I hope you will hear my heart. Most people reading this blog post miss the point. Which means I wrote it poorly and I’ll fix that. Here are the reasons for this post:

    #1 – the throw shade, big time, on Apple. Apple touts itself as this all-powerful, private, hack-proof, safe place. It’s not. At least not for things that they call “parental controls.” This billion dollar business is being out-smarted by genius teens daily.

    #2 – everything that you read here comes from genius teens. I say this is all of our internet safety presentations – if you find that your teen has discovered yet another way to evade parental controls, then first, don’t freak out, second, give his/her a high five and congratulate them on being smart, and third, talk about what that means.

    #3 – to tell parents that NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY, YOUR KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN YOU. Accept it.

    #4 – to tell parents that no amount of figuring out these hacks is a proper replacement for open and honest conversations. Almost none of these controls listed in the post are in place with my own daughter. Why? Because starting 6 years ago, when she got her very first device, we started building digital trust. She knows that I’m safe. I’ll never freak out. I want the very best for her. And, we do both block certain things, control our screen time, etc. at the kid and the parent level because it’s good for both of us. Oh, and she also knows that if I say, “hey, can I just thumb through your device for 30 seconds for anything concerning, is that ok?” that she’s usually ok with that because she trusts me.

    I’m sorry if you don’t have that kind of connection with another adult. I truly am. Too many adults use cell phone punishment as a hammer that only damages the relationship because they haven’t built up mutual trust. That’s mostly the parent’s fault.

    So, the problem I see is that I haven’t done a good job making those 4 items clear in my post, based on your comment. That’s fair, and I plan to adjust some things. Thank you for the feedback.

    I will say that you haven’t shared your comment very kindly. You haven’t asked if I would respond, because if you wanted a response, then just ask for one. Most of the mean-spirited comments left by teens above haven’t wanted a response. They just want to leave an anonymous, insulting comment and not be held accountable. Which honestly, just creates a larger divide between us. See, it cuts both ways. The truth is, you have no idea where I’ve tried to find these kids on IG or Snap, or using their “fake” email, and tried to initiate a productive conversation another way, because replying to their blog comment which then bounces from a fake email address doesn’t really help.

    I wish you the best! If you would like to continue the conversation here, that’s great! I have nothing to hide 🙂 I promise I’ll reply if done in the spirit of a productive conversation. Or, through email, that’s fine too: [email protected].

    Take care,

  82. Totally agree! Without the relationship, nailing down these hacks only serves to damage trust. It’s rules without relationship which always leads to more rebellion.

  83. Have you spoken with your parents about this? How it makes you feel? There’s a break-down in communication that really has to get fixed, probably some on both sides of this. Parents have to understand that in today’s digital world, it’s about finding some balance that allows their kids to still interact, but mitigates some of the risks. I have ideas about that if your parents are willing to talk about it. Please have one of them contact me. See, I think most parents are at least open to a discussion that goes, “Hey, I’m feeling left out. Here are specific examples [insert examples]. I understand some of the reasons, but I’m pretty trustworthy, and I promise I’ll let you know if [this, this, and this] happens. I even found a guy named Chris who helps parents have these kinds of conversations. His website is pye-staging.ajmorrissites.com, and I got his email address. Will you talk to him? [email protected]

    Try it. See what happens. Let me know 🙂

  84. This is a really helpful list of tips for parents. I’ve been thinking about adjusting the post to make a stronger distinction between middle school and high school when it comes to some of these restrictions, and I think your comment has convinced me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a productive way. I’m adult enough to admit when a change might need to be made 🙂

    Take care,

  85. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and for sharing them in a really productive, non-abusive way 🙂 (not all of them have been so kind). I plan to use some of your thoughts in some changes I plan to make to the post to make it more clear about age differences, and that restrictions that are good for younger kids might erode trust in older kids. My hope is that in your situation, especially with what you shared in #7, that you will speak openly and honestly with your parents about the impacts that over-bearing restrictions might have on your emotional health.

    Take care,

  86. Thanks – we all have Paleolithic brains. Not just 16-year-olds. NONE of us can resist the addictive features built into these devices. I could have made that more clear. Please let me know the specific words and phrases in the blog post itself that you would suggest that I change. I’d like to consider your suggestions, if you’d be willing to share them with us. I’ll be honest and say that if this is a fake email address that you’ve used to leave the comment, then that communicates a lack of sincerity. I’m totally willing to have a conversation if you are!

    Take care,

  87. Hello – I’m so sorry to hear some of these things. Have you had some of these exact conversations with your parents? Honestly, I understand not having phones at night, which is good thing for teens AND parents. If it can’t be used by you in your room, then parents shouldn’t be using it in their rooms, either, for example. Is there something I can do to help? If you would like to direct your parents my way, that’s fine. Let them know that you’ve reached out to someone who knows a lot about every device out there and that although I like to educate parents about how devices work, there’s NOTHING more important than loving and caring conversations. Those always work better than any hack/solution.

    I wish you the best. If you would like to chat more, please let me know.
    Best, Chris

  88. Hello – My Kids have found a serious “hack”. I not able to reproduce the process but I confirm that time screen is unactivated in airplane mode.
    I don’t know exaclty it’s work but it restart his iphone 2 times (probably the second times the system is not completely initialized) the consequence that is setting of time screen from icloud are not apply until network go back ! It seem his a sort of “soft reset …”
    Reproduce on my 2 kids iphone (SE + 7S)
    The historical time are update by time pass in airplane mode (it’s the way have found this hack + disucussion with my younguest child).

  89. I’m the one who made the anonymous comment a couple days ago, and yes that email address is real. What I was/am saying is that us teens do not need helicopter parents, we are growing more mature and becoming more like young adults. And these screen time restrictions that you parents put on our phones are no. Longer. Necessary. And don’t say something like “if you’re on your phone you’ll never do good in school thus making it difficult to get a job” We’re doing fine in school because we have google now, i have a whole rant about how much school is different but that’s irrelevant. We simply don’t need screen time restrictions of anything because that just is treating as like we are 9 years old. I’m 14, I can’t use any gaming apps, I can’t use any social media’s. And I can’t even use those iMessage apps like GamePigeon or Animoji that my friends use in my group chat every day. I’m left out because of it. I have a lot more to say but I’ll stop here for now. Also want to say that when I remained anonymous on my previous comment I don’t want my name to be heard, but I am real and my email address is also real so you don’t have to worry about it.

  90. I couldn’t make hack #1 work, until I accidentally made a discovery…
    Where you suggest “Ensure that “Setting Time Zone” is toggled on”, shouldn’t that be “off” rather than “on”?
    I couldn’t make the hack work until I accidentally set that to “off”, and now it seems the time is stuck in automatic setting only. (Exactly what this parent wants. 🙂 )
    (My apologies if I’ve missed something important.)

  91. This is coming from a kid but… Parents if you’re having to set up screen time limits to keep your kids under control on devices. First you have to figure out why they are online so much. Are they in a conflict with their friends or just play it for fun but get caught up in the game. Take some time to ask them why they are on it so much. Then figure out a solution WITHOUT limits it might help you and your kid out a lot. It also, forges better habits so when they go into the world they aren’t on their phone all the time because YOU taught them that there is a whole other world out of their phone. The bottom line is it will help both of you and save a lot of time if you just didn’t put this on and worked out a soultion without more virtual help. So PLEASE talk to your kid before you implement these limits and try and find a real life solution before you move to this one- thanks

  92. Great, thank you for that. I’m not saying for a minute that all kids on their phones are screw-ups. In fact, most of the kids I talk to use their devices really well. Please go back and read the introduction to the blog post, which is fairly new. It was added because of the types of comments I was seeing. If your grades are good, that’s great. The science shows that test scores go down up to 14% just by having an internet-connected device close to you. Even if you’re not using it. That’s pure science – nothing to do with parents. I will also say that there are usually 2 types of parents – those who are way too strict and don’t have the right conversations with their kids about technology and then there are those who are doing nothing and aren’t guiding their kids at all. Both aren’t correct.

    I wish you the best!

  93. Do you know how I can revoke the permission I initially granted for an app to be downloaded? The app has been deleted from my daughter’s phone, but now she can just go back to the App Store and re-download it without asking for permission. (To me, the “Ask Permission” feature is the best thing about Screen time. And I just took all the teeth out of it by letting her download a social media app that I now regret.)
    Thank you!

  94. If you don’t permit the App Store on the phone and you have her set up with Family Sharing, then even if she connects via iTunes from a computer, she will need permission from you to download the previously downloaded app. Or, at least that’s how it’s supposed to work!


  95. I hate screen time. But I wanna write something positive, I do understand you’re doing this to help parents with their kids and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, that’s actually very responsible and helpful with parents with kids at a young age (by the way I hope I don’t sound like a boomer) it’s fine if a 9 year old plays a game like roblox on his iPad, but if he plays it for 36 continuous hours and then throws a massive fit when he has to get off, obviously that’s a problem. I hate hate HATE seeing kids like those, they become spoiled and all they wanna do is be on their electronics. So yes, I do agree that parents do need these for their young child because if a 9 year old uses these to get back on their video games, then they’re addicted and their parents obviously would need this. For teens though it’s different, I do agree with everything I’ve seen with all these comments that teenagers have shared, like I’ve said in an earlier comment, we are growing up, eventually we have to make our own decisions when where adults. Now you may ask, how does that have to do anything with screen time restrictions? Well, the difference is that little kids try and get around screen time just to play games, for teens it’s because we want to talk with our friends and socialize with other people, and when our parents put these screen time restrictions (or any type of restrictions for that matter, except for curfews because that’s reasonable), it makes us think they don’t trust us enough, and if they don’t trust us with our phones, what else do they not trust us with? That’s just stating one but like I said, I want this to be positive. Because, when our parents DO let us use our phones FREELY with no restrictions, that’s like we’ve been freed from a jail cell for a crime we didn’t commit if that made sense. It boosts our self confidence knowing that our parents do trust us! Now once again, I hate seeing a little child throw a tantrum because they can’t play Minecraft anymore. For real, go outside, explore new things, enjoy the sun. It’s not healthy to stare at a screen all the time (I said before but I hope I don’t sound like a boomer saying this) and also, this is actually for us fellow teens, seriously, don’t be on your phone at 1:00 in the morning, it’s harmful to your eyes and stuff (I learned that the hard way). Once again I do appreciate you helping parents with younger kids. But always remember that Teenagers is a whole new thing.

  96. hi!
    im 17 about to turn eighteen. my mum has turned screentime on from 10 pm to 8 am every day. It’s now school holidays and she refuses to change it. how should i approach this situation?

  97. Wow, I’m very impressed that you’re asking, and I’m also hopeful that your mum is willing to have a mature conversation with you about this, since it seems like you want to handle it maturely! My first question is simply whether or not you’ve tried approaching her about this and if so, what was her reason for keeping the rules strict? My second question for you would be are you trustworthy on your device and/or are there any evidences that give her reason not to trust you with more time? If so, what would she need to see in order for you to earn that trust back? Those are a few things that come to mind, but don’t hesitate to ask more questions if we haven’t responded with enough. I wish you the best!


  98. Oh man. I have tried over and over again to do the change time thing. It’s definitely not working.
    When my boys time runs out he just changes the time to the next day. Please tell me there is another fix

  99. The stupid hot spot. Why would Apple go to all of this trouble to make Screen Time, but allow the kid to have unlimited access to the hot spot. Which of course, my teen has figured out to use in conjunction with a laptop to have unfiltered internet. We try… we have the Circle on our home wifi and we have all of the parental controls set, but if they can just use the hot spot to do what ever they want anyway….
    From what I am finding online- there is no solution on this for parents to control.

  100. Not that we know of. It’s the steps here, depending on your device. It’s supposed to work. You might try calling Apple directly and getting into an Apple store. Wish I could help more!


  101. HI, Jenny – I’m not sure what cell provider you have, but if the hotspot is being abused, then you should be able to have the cell provider disable hotspot functionality from the iPhone. See if that works.


  102. Good article. For all the angry teens, I am a young parent and I have just got my wife to set up downtime for me because being on our phones after a certain time isn’t good for any of us. It invariably leads to less sleep than we need, and poorer quality sleep when we do sleep, which leads to poor performance (and mood) during the day. There is loads of research on this. We all need to spend less time on screens. And that is not even touching on the many dangers on the internet. Sorry but a parent just has a duty of care to their child to do what they can to protect them from some of what’s on the internet. Unfettered and 100% unmonitored access isn’t an option.
    Anyway, I hope Apple do something about the one more minute feature. It renders downtime almost pointless. Thanks for feeding this stuff back to Apple.

  103. Hi Chris. I’m sometimes finding it difficult to tell who you’re replying to in your comments. Perhaps you could indicate that by starting each comment with an @ or something. Maybe I’m just a dumb “boomer” who can’t figure it out! ?

  104. Mike F – no, it’s not on you. I can’t stand how the blog comment responses don’t “nest” with the original comment. We’ve got to get that fixed! I’m on it 🙂

  105. Or maybe you could just respect your child’s privacy and let them live with and learn from natural consequences. They stay up too late playing games every night? They’ll be tired and not be able to do all the things they want to do the next day. Instead of punishing them for being on their phone too much, give them a choice. They can either waste their time on their phone, not being productive, or, if they’re responsible, they can do something fun, whatever that may be for them. Give them a treat, buy them something, let them hang out with their friends, or whatever will make them happiest. If they’re tired the next day because they stayed up too late on their phone, cancel any fun plans they had, so they can live with the natural consequences. They’re probably too tired to enjoy those plans, anyways. How are they going to handle life on their own, if they can’t even figure out what a reasonable time to stop texting people is without the help of their parents? If anything, this prohibition of phones will just make them crave it more, since it’s “forbidden”. When they have full access to electronics as an adult, they’ll very likely abuse it, and become addicted, since it’s finally available to them. Any kid with a couple of brain cells will try to get around these unnecessary controls, and it’ll only raise them to sneak around more than they would already, not trust their parents, not feel trusted, and lose all respect towards their parents. If you want a healthy relationship with your child, trust them, and establish with them some rules. If these rules are consistently being broken, then sure, punish your kid all you want (without giving them any sort of trauma, obviously), but you don’t know what’s going on with them, and sometimes what they’re doing might be really important. I, myself have stayed up late, talking people out of suicide. Thank goodness I didn’t have Screen Time to prevent me from being able to help my friends. To sum it all up, trust your kids, let them figure things out by themselves, and love them. Don’t treat them like a criminal.

  106. I would love for a teen to answer this, with their open view of the world. Many have been quick to state distaste for screen time limits, asking that parents communicate and come up with firm rules.

    First, let’s discuss trust. A firm rule is given. Be in bed at X time, so you can get Y sleep. A reasonable parent can easily tell when their child managed enough sleep. Just as you can tell when your friends didn’t sleep well. Perhaps they’re a little slow, their eyes look tired, they’re yawning and the day just started. We have the advantage of seeing them not want to get out of bed. Each child differs, mine needs about 9 hours of sleep. If he needs to be up at 7 AM, the math there is pretty simple. Missing that occasionally, it’s part of growing up. We parents do this too. Missing it regularly constitutes a problem.

    Given the clearly, and reasonably devised time for lights out, the expectation is that the child is in bed at a certain time. At first, this child is trusted to turn off his devices, and a grace period is there to allow them to finish up. Again, this is clearly communicated.

    7 AM rolls around, and the child doesn’t want to get out of bed. They fall asleep at the table eating breakfast. Browsing history has YouTube until 2 AM. The answer is pretty clear why the child isn’t able to keep their eyes open.

    We talk about it, and talk about consequences of not being awake and alert for school, which IS his most important task right now. The next morning, the same problem exists. The same cause exists. What do we reasonably do here? Well, I opted to ask them to leave their phone in the kitchen when they headed to bed. This works, initially. A few days later, they again are falling asleep at the table. The phone, again, has YouTube until all hours of the night.

    I’ve exercised trust, given reasonable limits with no technological control, and they have been ignored. My child is suffering either from lack of control (most probable), or failure to care. Both are legitimate and long lasting problems.

    Do I not have a responsibility to help my child do the right thing? Do I not have a responsibility to help them exercise control if the action is negatively impacting their life? If he were your friend, and falling asleep in class regularly, I’m fairly sure you would suggest he get some sleep. If only YouTube weren’t capturing his eyes all night, that would happen.

    How do you, with your acute awareness of the young mind, help your friend? My 45 years says, “Turn it off…”

  107. Hello “a kid” – there are much more helpful hacker guides than mine 🙂 I’m sure kids have used it, but all of these came from smart kids like you, so there’s no sense in adults like us even thinking we’re able to stay one step ahead. I wish you the best!

  108. all of you are controlling parents. from a kid who has been HOSPITALIZED five times for mental health issues/suicide attempt scares pertaining to me and my parents permanently broken relationship because of screen time along with other things. you are all on the road to being put into a retirement home and dying after years of no contact/communication to your children.

  109. The smartest cookie in the world

    Lol to all of these people. I have just found a way, a new way that no one else has ever discovered >:)
    So I was talking to my friend, and we were reacting to cheesy kid music videos, when she sent me a video of reacting to it. I was watching it, and I noticed that by the time i was done, it was 9:01 and my phone wasn’t locked yet. So I tried to text her using the button that lets you forward a video, and deleted the video and said “hey, text me if u got this message, I think I’ve might of accidentally glitched screen time.” And she responded “OMG how did u do it?!?!” and I was shocked, so I closed the messages app, and turned my phone off. When I opened it, I saw that sure enough, Messages was still not locked! I could now text my friends regularly! But not only that, but the next thing shook me even more:

    I went to the home page and saw that ALL of the apps that were locked are not locked anymore!!! I CANNOT believe it, after trying SO MANY TIMES, I FINALLY GLITCHED SCREEN TIME!!! What’s better? I did it by accident!!

  110. I just can’t believe Apple makes it so easy to get around screen time. I mean even google has family link which works a lot better than screen time. Why can’t Apple make it to where you link phones and set up the password ONLY on the parents phone. As much as Apple charges for these devices you think they could.

  111. Afke Van de Klashorst

    Hello Chris

    How can I remove the option to extend screen time with 1 minute? I have everything in place as per the steps you say and have also toggled on the function to close all apps when the limit is reached but my son can still extend with 1 minute over and over again….

    Many thanks!

  112. Doug Crawford

    Hello! According to our testing, your son should only be able to add the extra minute once. After that, he would be required to input your 4-digit code for any additional time. Has this not been the case for you? I hope this helps.

  113. A combination of school and screen time has ruined my relationship with my parents and has put me into a deep depression. I was judged and made fun of because of the screen time limits. It is not normal for parents to feel the need to control every aspect of their kids lives. If you want your kid to act like and adult, stop treating them like a little kid. If they keep staying up late, talk to them but don’t yell. Trust and respect go both ways and helicopter parents expect kids to respect and trust them when all the parent does is violate the kids trust and disrespect them.

    Chris, the way this article is written is very condescending towards teens and kids. We do not need “protecting” from screens. We are growing up differently from your generation and you need to accept that.

    I have been able to bypass screen time so many times that my parents gave up on it. After my parents stopped setting limits, I discovered that my mental health improved significantly along with my grades. However I still have a rough relationship with my parents because of that. Because my mental health improved so much, I was able to get a nearly perfect score on my ACT and get into 3 Ivy League schools and MIT, which I will be attending in the fall. Because I had access to the internet, I was able to find out, and get, an internship at NASA. Most things kids do on their devices isn’t harmful. Remember that.

  114. Why are you so determined to control kids? This article really pisses me off, all the boomer energy radiating from it. Y’all really blocking iMessage, one of the primary purposes of a cell phone, because your kid is on it..too..much?? You guys are the ones who need help lol

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