back to article Apple disables iPad for 48 years after toddler runs amok

It's something many of us have had to deal with: you type in the wrong code into your iPhone or iPad and it get disabled for some period of time. It is a welcome security feature: it makes it difficult for someone who doesn't have the code to get into your device and makes "brute force" attacks – where someone keeps tapping in …

  1. Mike 16 Silver badge

    How many times?

    If they are using exponential backup (doubling the "cool off" time for each failure) and keeping the time in seconds, that would be about 31 times. Of course, if their code was using a 32-bit variable, it might be an interesting question whether the next "fail" would wrap to a low number, while a signed/unsigned confusion could lead to requiring one to wait -48 years.

    "Set the WayBack machine for 1971",

    "and the place?"

    " Funky Town!"

    (OK, off by a decade, but that's not the worst thing the MacOS calculator has done to me)

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: How many times?

      It's running iOS 6 or lower, so it's quite possible.

      However though, a simpler explanation is a wound-ahead clock (for cheating on games) that got auto-corrected when the iPad connected to Wi-Fi while locked.

  2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    Why didn’t the kid have to wait half that many seconds between entering the penultimate and final codes?

    There is more going on here....

    1. SNAFUology
      Paris Hilton

      Silly Apple

      Yes, all apple had to do was deny another attempt until the first time period is up.

      then if three failed attempts just double initial wait time once.

      that should do it, but now anybody can just reset the iPad.

    2. FlippingGerman

      I was under the impression that was how it worked - you lock it for a minute, fail again lock it for 5 minutes, and so on. So at some point, the iPad went from some probably at most hours to tends of years? That's idiotic design.

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Gimp

      Looks like he had jailbroken ("jailbreaked"?) the iPad, which would result in that message.

      If you insert the wrong passcode for 1 to 5 times, there will only be red notifications saying the passcode is wrong, and you needn’t wait to give it another try.

      For the 6th time you insert a wrong passcode, it will report, “iPad is disabled, try again in 1 minute”. And the phone will be locked, and you won’t be able to insert passcode again until 1 minute later.

      For the 7th time, the iPad will show, “ iPad is disabled, try again in 5 minutes”.

      For the 8th time, the iPad will be locked for 15 minutes, and for the 9th time, it will be locked for 60 minutes to insert passcode again.

      If you insert the wrong passcode for 10th time, the iPad will be disabled and you will have to connect it to iTunes to unlock.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        I didnt know that. I'll see if I can test that in the apple store at the weekend. I'll wait until all the staff are busy so I dont get pestered.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: I'll see if I can test that in the apple store at the weekend

          Best way would surely be to start off at one end of the store, go right round, then by the time you go full circle it will be time to do the second iteration.

          1. Truckle The Uncivil

            Re: I'll see if I can test that in the apple store at the weekend

            @Ken Moorhouse

            Is that your real name because you just put it to a post recommending malicious vandalism. You just expressed criminal intent.

        2. Truckle The Uncivil

          @Danny 14

          Let me get this right. You are going to the Apple Store with the deliberate intention of wasting their time? Not buying anything or planning to do so?

          You got a lot of up-votes for assholery.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Trollface

            Let me get this right. You are going to the Apple Store with the deliberate intention of wasting their time?

            Like with all malicious scammers, the more of their time we can waste the less time the have to latch on to some unsuspecting victim and rob them of their hard-earned money.

            That's why he got the upvotes. He's a hero who freely gives up some of his spare time to help prevent others being victimised by criminals.

            --> Only semi trolling. I actually think most phone scammers are far more decent and honourable people than any apple promoter.

      2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Nope, I've jailbroken iPads for ages now ... jailbreaking itself doesn't do that.

        It has to be a tweak that alters either system time or the lockscreen (AndroidLock XT?)

        I'd doubt that the three-year-old knows what tweaks are though.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          It looks like the clock can get reset to 1/1/1970, although quite how a 3 year old can do this beats me. The suggestion is that he had an iPad that had been jailbroken and had then had a software update applied, which might have caused this. Quickest way to solve it is to use Find My Phone and erase the iPad (if you have FMP enabled) or follow the 'usual' steps for a complete restore via iTunes (hold down x and x button, release one button and then intone weird incantation and prayers to Steve Jobs etc.).

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            One possibility is that the device was left in a drawer for long enough to lose power to the clock and revert to 1970. If they store the lockout as a time before which the device couldn't be unlocked rather than a time difference, that would make the 48-year thing if the device was last unlocked in 2018. That method of storage would make sense, as it would be easily stored to the disk so you couldn't get around the delay by turning the device off. Unfortunately, it doesn't make as much sense if it isn't cleared and the clock can get set back.

      3. Mattjimf

        Working with the iDiot devices at work, I have seen this pop up on both the iPad and iPhone a couple of times, although I've always gone with just wiping the damn thing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The kid was holding it wrong.

    5. ratfox Silver badge

      It's the time since epoch

      In 2016, there was this post complaining about an iPhone locked for 46 years. Note the comment posted in 2017, complaining about an iPhone locked for 47 years. And last year, in 2018, a news story made the rounds about an iPhone locked for 48 years...

      Probably, what's going on is that a bug resets the internal time to 1970-01-01, and the time until unlock stays to present time. There's your 48 years, and toddlers are blamed for the bug.

      At least, I find the explanation a lot more likely.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: It's the time since epoch

        As in complete drainage of the battery, resetting the RTC?

        Quite possible.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's the time since epoch

        The theory is correct, but there is a discrepancy I can't quite get rid of - the current date in minutes from Unix epoch is 25915106, which is about a year more than the iphone is locked for.

        It's currently 2019, right?

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: It's the time since epoch

          Probably the device was last used in 2018, and the lock time was written then. Then, it was left long enough to die, during which the first part of 2019 happened. When rebooted, the clock is set to 1970, and the unlock time is set to whenever it was last used in 2018. One would suggest writing the current time to the disk as well to forestall this, but it doesn't seem Apple built it this way.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's the time since epoch

            The tweet doesn't suggest that though.. Doesn't say "last year, my (then) two year old tried to unlock it, so I stuck it in a cupboard for a year and just picked it up now".

            I'm sure the pattern is correct, just can't explain the year gap.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: It's the time since epoch

              My guess would be that some time in 2018, the locking system got a wrong code and wrote a time. For all we know, it was just a "try again in one minute" thing, or even an automatic thing the device does every time it unlocks. It wouldn't have to be noticed until the clock reset. Consider if the code and user actions followed this sequence:

              2018-sometime: User enters wrong code

              2018-sometime: Device puts current time in unlock limiter, meaning the user can try again right now

              2018-sometime +5 seconds: User enters correct code

              2018-sometime +5 seconds: Device unlocks, doesn't clear the unlock time

              2018-sometime +5 seconds to 2018-sometime+some minutes: User uses device

              2018-sometime+some minutes to 2019-04-08: Nobody uses device, battery dies, clock resets

              2019-04-08: User turns on device. Device reads the unlock time, saying "Don't unlock until 2018-sometime", and presents the 48-year delay

              2019-04-08 +one minute: Child gets blamed for coding mistake.

    6. daniel_wu

      I smell it as some weird programming failure. The kid should wait for 24 years before he can tap another wrong PIN and make it 48 years.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you have never seen a 3 year old type into a computer game a 20 caricature alpha-numeric password because he is tired of getting mom or dad to come let him back into his nintendo game without having to start over, then you don't know three and four year old kids very well........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Emojis?

      You can use emojis in passwords now?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Emojis?

        BOFH password rules, must contain Upper and Lower case letters - but not from the same alphabet, a haiku only in Emojis and the name of the undying one written in Elder Sign

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: Emojis?

          Add in 2 different sets of rules depending on which specific part of the site you create it on, at least one of them also lying about the rules anyway and you have Microsoft's external developer login!

        2. tony2heads
          Alien

          Re: Elder Signs

          You might just awaken an Ancient One...

          1. TomPhan

            Re: Elder Signs

            The laundry will be visiting soon.

        3. Ian Emery Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Emojis?

          Seems a bit extremem, why not just use "密码"

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Emojis?

        You always could:

        West:)and-East^_^

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Emojis?

          Racist emojis??? ;-)

    2. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Must be stupid 3-4 y/o.

      My daughter hacked mummy's iPhone age <18 months and started exploring the wonderful world of randomly dialled international phone calls.

      #020 was her favourite starting place; there are now numerous people in Canada who wont answer a call from Mummy's phone number - luckily we dont know any of them.

      REALLY luckily, we have a cheap overseas call package.

      Staff at her nursery and later, at her Primary school were warned.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Phone (and tablet) manufacturers don't take toddlers into account in their security models.

        Pass codes or patterns can be learnt, face unlock is trivial to bypass (hold the phone up to mummy or daddies face then run away), and for fingerprint locks just wait until daddy has fallen asleep on the sofa and gently 'borrow' a finger.

        Clearly the solution is a feature similar to face unlock, but which requires a view of a tidied room before it will unlock. Sure, the kids can bypass it, but they'll have to clean their room first ;)

        1. FlossyThePig

          ...Phone (and tablet) manufacturers don't take toddlers into account in their security models...

          From what I've read recently a lot of manufacturers, not just phone and tablet, seem to forget about gender, race and other factors in their design process..

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        My daughter hacked mummy's iPhone age <18 months

        Nurture that - there's a future BOFHette in the making right there...

  4. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    Congrats to the 3 year old

    on achieving the new High Score.

    now, where can they enter their initials?

    This does seem to exemplify modern mobile gaming (minus the microtransactions).. poke the screen and be rewarded - not a fruity user myself, but i am betting the unlock system made noises, and did not require a submit action (e.g. pressing enter)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congrats to the 3 year old

      trust me, they got better at Final Fantasy 1 (yes this is early 90's) than dad ever was really fast.

  5. Timo

    Three year olds can't read

    They can't read, but they can sure figure things out. So the child would not have been able to understand the error or lockout message.

    It's wild, everyone else (parents) have been reading for basically forever, and it is easy to overlook that fact when encountering a situation where the ability to read is (urgently) needed.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      Wrong. Shortly after my third birthday, my mother discovered I could read, even a stylized font as in a Coca-Cola billboard. She immediately handed me my first novel to read, "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" by Robert A. Heinlein. I chewed through that in less than a week, going to "Rocket Ship Galileo." So, yes a child of three can read.

      What likely helped considerably is that I' autistic and the only time I would allow myself to be held was when she was reading to me and the books weren't the dumbed down children's books on offer. Real books. Somewhere along the way I figured out the shapes of individual written words that go with each spoken word. BTW, that's still true and may also have something to do with formulas being a words in their own right. Music too for that matter. Weird how minds can work.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Me too - apparently I had a fscking tantrum on my first day at school when I had to do finger painting and singing instead of being allowed to read all the books in the library

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          I was five when we went to get me in elementary school. The Principal tried extremely hard to get me put in kindergarten which would have had me likely ditching school forever. First grade was bad enough. I spent a lot of time staring off into space for many years in (US) public school. Music, choir and all four strings, was the only thing that kept me somewhat involved. Also starting university at a terribly young age although I still had to spend half days in public school so I would be properly socialized with my peers.

          [Excuse me? Peers? We didn't even live in the same universe!]

          1. Mr Benny

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            "Also starting university at a terribly young age"

            Whats the point? University isn't just about learning, you can do that from a book. Its about making friends, forming contacts, even having sex for the first time, and just generally maturing from a child into an adult. Sending a bright young kid to uni is just another form of boarding school for parents who can't be bothered.

            1. BigSLitleP

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              A good friend of mine skipped a year of school due to being so fricking smart. Got to Uni at 17, won student of the year a few times, passed with honors, had definitely already had sex before he got to Uni, had a lot more at Uni.

              Sending a kid that doesn't want to be educated to uni might be a waste of time but sending a motivated kid to Uni early is a great idea.

              1. Mr Benny

                Re: Three year olds can't read

                17 is only a year younger than most people go anyway. Its not the same as sending say a 12 or 13 year old which has happened.

            2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              " Its about making friends, forming contacts, even having sex for the first time, and just generally maturing from a child into an adult. "

              No, it's for learning. The rest of us were doing exactly the same thing, just in different aspects.

              There's quite a bit of bitching that my current alma matter is all about the study, and not about the partying.

              1. Mr Benny

                Re: Three year olds can't read

                "No, it's for learning. The rest of us were doing exactly the same thing, just in different aspects."

                If you think university is simply about learning then you're either incredible naive or socially inadequate. Or both.

          2. myhandler

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            You might find the novel The Last Samurai by Helen De Witt amusing. It's about a somewhat similar kid.

        2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          I was not a quick/early reader, but I did also complain that "it's rubbish, all they do is play games, we learnt nothing!" on my first day. XD

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            I wasn't a great reader when I started school, but I already loved arithmetic.

            When we started to do sums in school we were made to work out the answers with Cuisenaire rods - coloured rods, where the length in cm and colour of each rod represented a whole number from 1 to 10. I don't think the order of the colours had any standard significance (not rainbow or resistor colour code sequence anyway). Rather than use the rods to do the sums, I'd do the sums the normal way and then have to work out which rods represented the sum afterwards.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisenaire_rods

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              Rods... blimey.

              Just been mugged by my misty eyed memories of childhood.

            2. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              (not rainbow or resistor colour code sequence anyway)

              Funny.. A few weeks back a friend of mine and I were discussing just this, wondering if perhaps they did match a standard colour code. None of the ones on the linked article match what I recall, though the European version seems closer. The again, looking at Michael Parekowhai's work, maybe my recollection is rather dimmed with time (https://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/artists/70/Michael_Parekowhai/371/). That or our rods were discoloured from over-use or over-exposure or something...

              Thanks for answering a question or two anyway :)

            3. Simon Harris Silver badge

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              Obviously, from the wikipedia article I linked to above, Cuisenaire rods aren't an infallible guide to teaching maths. One of the images in the article shows the 'Cuisenaire track to explore multiplication' with a pupil's worksheet that reads:

              1 x 1 = 5

              2 x 5 = 10

              3 x 5 = 15...

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisenaire_rods#/media/File:Six_year_olds_in_class_using_a_Cuisenaire_track_to_explore_multiplication.jpg

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Three year olds can't read

                Obviously a typo. The other two read 1 x 5 = 5 ...

                Give the kid a break, we've all done it ... even as adults :-)

        3. Wilseus

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          I remember that in my first year at school, the teacher had me helping the other children with their reading. Later on, I was the first in my year to finish the Ginn 360 reading scheme.

          I had less success later on with maths though, that was also a work-at-your-own-speed system, which I found trivial and boring, so I didn't do much, which put me further and further behind. A vicious circle.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            I had less success later on with maths though, that was also a work-at-your-own-speed system, which I found trivial and boring,

            I had much the same experience. Years ahead in reading-based stuff.. Falling behind a year every week (or so it seemed) with my maths-based stuff. Except science. I had some real fun there.

            (Who me? No I am NOT admitting to anything. I told you a thousand times I do NOT know what happened to the 3rd form science lab, nor do I have any idea where the rest of the building got to...)

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      3. Little Mouse

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Damn - that's put me in my place.

        I thought I'd done pretty well reading Watership Down when I was eight...

        1. Andronnicus Block

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Well of course there is reading, and then there is understanding.

          In my case I was a precocious reader from an early age and by my early teens was already devouring material from the adult section of the public library. And no, not that sort of adult material, that came a bit later...

          Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Animal Farm by George Orwell, which to me at almost 13 was a brilliant story about talking animals with problems to sort out. The hidden message (thanks Wikipedia, much better than I could ever summarise) - a “fable reflecting events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union” - went completely over my head.

          As I recall, I finally understood what it was actually about when I re-read it as one of the set books in “O Level“ English Literature back in the early 1970s.

        2. Andronnicus Block

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Well of course there is reading, and then there is understanding.

          In my case I was a precocious reader from an early age and by my early teens was already devouring material from the adult section of the public library. And no, not that sort of adult material, that came a bit later...

          Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Animal Farm by George Orwell, which to me at almost 13 was a brilliant story about talking animals with problems to sort out. The hidden message (thanks Wikipedia, much better than I could ever summarise) - a “fable reflecting events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union” - went completely over my head.

          As I recall, I finally understood what it was actually about was when I read it again as one of the set books for “O Level“ English Literature back in the early 1970s.

          My god that dates me.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Wrong ... mine read at 3. He’s 4 now and gained a very rare place in a selective private school where he is learning Mandarin, arithmetic, science and to play cello.

        Already has his own iPad and taken over Dads iMac. Passwords are not an issue.

        Reckon he’ll be coding by 7.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Take away his iPad and give him a Raspberry Pi + touchscreen + battery + RPi starter kit (or possibly the Arduino equivalent). A kid who learns Mandarin at that age will probably enjoy tinkering around!

          I started coding at nine (and none other than by reading the help pages and examples that shipped with Visual Basic 2005) , yet I don't consider myself anywhere near close to him ...

          You're absolutely lucky to have such a child!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          My kids were speaking Mandarin at 4 as well. We just convinced them that mommy couldn't speak English and daddy couldn't speak Chinese (well, that part was easy because daddy's Chinese sucks). They were learning to play the piano then too.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Consider introducing him to https://www.kidzideaz.tech where kids code, and IBM's Master the Mainframe contest. https://www.ibm.com/it-infrastructure/z/education/master-the-mainframe.

          We in industry need little guys like him to take over the future.

      5. Garry Perez

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        +1 for "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" Still one of my favorite books

      6. Mr Benny

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        "She immediately handed me my first novel to read, "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" by Robert A. Heinlein. I chewed through that in less than a week"

        Sorry, I don't believe a word of that. I've worked with kids and got my own and while a really smart 3 year old might be able to stutter their way through a picture and words book none of them could read a Heinlein novel cover to cover. The fact that 25 people modded you up means there are a lot of naive people out there. Sorry.

        1. BigSLitleP

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Or there are a lot of people (like me) that did the exact thing you are saying couldn't be done.

          Which one of us is the more naive?

          1. Mr Benny

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            Not me. You might like to think you were a child prodigy but the truth is usually somewhat more prosaic.

        2. Donn Bly

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          My youngest wasn't reading Heinlein at 3, but she was reading her older sisters' books and well into chapter books before she went to preschool. I didn't realize how much of a problem that would cause when she got a bit older, as she was always in trouble in school because she was so bored.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            "she was always in trouble in school because she was so bored."

            Few teachers or educators are geared up to understander that "special needs" works for both ends of the ability spectrum. Special needs is almost always taken to mean helping the slow kids. The clever kids are usually noticed, but the really really clever kids get ignored, often because, as you say, they get so bored they end up being as disruptive as the worst of the slow kids.

            1. MrBanana

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              I was also in the disruptive == a bit dim category when I started junior school. I was taken out of the regular class and put in the special group, playing with the big crayons and blunt scissors. Maybe it was because I pointed out a flaw in the class experiment we were given to perform, and the teacher didn't like a smart arse.

          2. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            she was always in trouble in school because she was so bored

            I remember pulling out a book to read when I'd finished my other work. Teacher told me that wasn't what we were doing and to put it away.

            Didn't take him more than a few weeks to realise that if I was reading, I was quite. If I wasn't reading, I was disrupting the class and occasionally making comments about how boring things were (with various degrees of volume and expletives). Eventually got my way and was allowed to read as soon as I finished my work, anything to shut me up.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Three year olds can't read

              "I was quite."

              Quite what?

        3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          I don't vouch for that particular reader, but there's a handful of deliberately written "Heinlein juveniles" that are nowhere near as challenging as "A Martian Named Smith". On the autistic spectrum there's likely to be a lot of subtext that you don't understand even in a relatively simple story, but you can follow the action. So, shoelaces no, reading yes.

      7. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Junior (infant? I don't remember) school sucked hard. The teachers were absolutely adamant that I'd HAVE to read a book with big type, simple words, and a picture on every facing page. You'd think that was the insult. No, the insult was that I'd go home and make my way through John Wyndham's books and upon reporting this to the teacher, she replied quite affirmatively that I did not and was making stuff up.

        That was the first of many years of dealing with piss poor teaching staff that shouldn't have ever been qualified to go anywhere near somebody else's children. It's amazing how when you don't fit into some seemingly arbitrary pre-defined category, this justifies bullying, rudeness, and in some cases entirely random "you have been marked down because...". I wonder, now that autism and ADHD are known things (they weren't when I was young, autism back then meant the severely autistic, and hyperactivity was considered intentional misbehaviour rather than interactions with chemicals such as food colouring), is it any better? Or have the assholes that enjoy bullying children simply found themselves different targets?

      8. holmegm

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Yep, at three my parents thought I was just remembering words when I read along with stories - until I picked up a novel off their bookshelf and started reading it aloud.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Me too.

          At primary school I had a teacher who, having ensured I could write, which is not the same thing, just let me get on with my reading while most of the rest of them were on c-a-t spells what?

      9. AK565

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Yes, i was also reading before age 3. According to the story, my first word read aloud was "stop" which i recognized outside the context of a stop sign.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      I started learning to read at age 2....

      1. Claverhouse Bronze badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        There's no shame in being a late developer.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Late software developers do not deliver on time and so do not get paid.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            unless you have a contract with the NHS. They look at you funny if you deliver on time, sort of "what have you not done?" look. Better to take a holiday just before deadline date just to be sure you are "late enough".

          2. Alien8n Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            It's rather difficult to code once you become a late software developer.

            Man walks into pet shop with a software developer under his arm:

            "I'd like to complain about this software developer. It's dead."

            "No it's not, it's just sleeping."

            You know the rest...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            > Late software developers do not deliver on time and so do not get paid.

            That sounds like the kind of test that needs to go into HMRC's IR-35 self-assessment tool to see whether you are truly treated as a contractor or an employee.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          there may be shame if you later admit to it online.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            Unless you do so in On Call, at which point we'll all just try and out-do you with our own stories in the comments.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        The true love of reading comes to those who learned through the words of Sheila K. McCullagh.

        I loved her pirate series so much that I now collect the ones from my time.

        I was not an early reader, I was just a bit ahead of target level because I enjoyed those books, but I was and still am an experiential learner.

      3. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        Amateurs! I came out of the womb reading War and Peace!

        1. Kevin Fairhurst
          Joke

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          So THAT'S where I left my copy...

          1. phuzz Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Three year olds can't read

            That's a pretty literary 'your mum' joke.

      4. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        > I started learning to read at age 2....

        Pah. Reading is useless where I work. Mind-reading - now that would be useful.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Three year olds can't read

          Sadly that would be a wasted effort here.

          Then again being a person of very little mind and filled with fluff is a prerequisite for a position in management or politics.

          Anonymous only because some toddler might snitch.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      My Dad started reading Herb Caen's column to me every morning from the time I was born, followed by the headlines and the first couple paragraphs of the first section of the S.F. Chronicle. One morning Dad was ill and in bed. Mom was flabbergasted to discover that I had gone outside to get the paper, and was making good progress on reading Herb's column for myself. I was three.

      I don't remember the events in the above paragraph, but a year or so later I do remember being irritated on the first day of kindergarten because I wasn't allowed to bring my newspaper to read.

      If you are a new parent, read to your kid early and often. It's important.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        My daughter wasnt quite that advanced, she could read what she was interested in though, we would get road signs and van sign-writting called out, but books were mostly for Daddy to read to her.

        School Reception (age 4 1/2), tested her out as a reading age of 7, but I did warn them she doesnt like answering questions, and she was likely not giving them all the correct answers on purpose; she then chewed through the early readers to the extent they were jumping book levels every week, and put her into the ARP 3 months later.

        Her enjoyment from reading alone has only really kicked in recently (age 6), when I gave her a Dr Who "Decide your Destiny" book.

        Just dont let her near a computer or smart phone.

    4. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      Well of cause not if they have bone idle parents wrongfully taught that children cannot learn and must be left in the mud to "figure out life by themselves".

      But if given lots of educational attention (no the boring type, could just be reading to them with also making the book/pages visible as in the above post) they can learn just about anything.

      That's how the human brain works.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      I'm not quite sure of the age but our son picked up reading PDQ from the Ladybird books. Our daughter had much more of a problem and turned out to be somewhat dyslexic. However I think her misspelling of sulphur on a poster presentation was more due to her post-doc supervisor than dyslexia.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        I was taught by my dad to read words in the Sunday paper, sometime around the ages of three to five.

        That was all very fine & terribly splendid, then on attending primary school, I was hobbled & marked down as a slow reader thanks to their instance of teaching i.t.a. (Initial Teaching Alphabet) , by second year at primary the more "advanced" pupils moved onto writing from the other line of the blackboard. I think at some point I decided to jump streams, my older & wiser teacher sternly told me I shouldn't be doing it, but I don't think she explicitly told me to go back.

        The following year was I moved up to junior school & I don't recall it being in use there, so I presume all made the transition, although with hindsight a few may have been left totally floundering.

        https://theliteracyblog.com/2015/05/14/i-t-a-a-great-idea-but-a-dismal-failure/

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: then on attending primary school, I was hobbled & marked down

          Not sure how old you are now, but words like Profumo, Keeler, Rice-Davies were prevalent in newspapers when I were a lad, which could explain a reason for hobbling your vocabulary at school.

      2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Three year olds can't read

        However I think her misspelling of sulphur on a poster presentation was more due to her post-doc supervisor than dyslexia.

        I'm afraid to say the spelling mandated by IUPAC is sulfur. This article elucidates: Nature Chemistry:So long Sulphur

        The recommended spellings of the names of the elements in English are contained in the 'Red Book' published by IUPAC, in Table 1 beginning on page 248 IUPAC:Red Book. Note the recommended spellings of aluminium and caesium, with aluminum and cesium as allowable variants. Sulphur is not an allowed variant.

    6. Trilkhai

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      Nope, sorry, wrong. As an autistic 3-year-old, I was definitely able to read at least on an average pre-teen's level, and my favorite activity at home as a toddler was pretending I was "in school" by completing math, spelling, grammar & reading worksheets that either my mother made up or that came from elementary-school-level workbooks. My nieces are maybe a bit above-average in IQ, and thanks to having one grandparent who is a retired teacher, by age 3 both were at the "gleefully point at words and read them aloud for adults' benefit" stage reading-wise... My mother also tells me that she remembers teaching herself to read as a toddler by getting her mother to read words aloud for her out of the newspaper.

    7. arctic_haze Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Three year olds can't read

      When I was 3, I was already bored by reading having read all the University library by then. So I helped Turing solve the Enigma and then made the first working DNA model for Watson and Crick.

  6. adnim Silver badge
    Joke

    But we all have something to learn from this..

    Dont buy Apple?

    Don't have kids?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

      Call Wilhelm Tell to shoot the Apple off the kid?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

        Aaaah aaaa!

        *thud*

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

        There's a little known fact about Mr Tell and his wife. Apparently they were ardent crown green bowlers and were in their local equivalent of what we'd call a league team these days. However, no actual records still exist, so ...

        ... we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.

        1. Antonius_Prime

          Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

          That was frogking terrible...

          Have the upvote, and get out!

          XD

          1. TimMaher
            Thumb Up

            Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

            Totally correct @Antonius.

            I up voted you both and will just go an get @Simons coat.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

      Dont buy Apple?

      Don't have kids?

      Is that a multiple choice or do both apply?

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

      Don't buy Apple.

      Teach your kids *nix, not how to fondle slabs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

        I learned Windows (was XP + 98 dual-boot then) when I was four years old.

        I can't imagine I could've progressed any further if all I had was *nix (especially with the state of Linux around 2004 and the lack of software availability outside of the Internet).

        On the other hand, I learned Linux in my teens, and that was a good time to break from Windows.

        Incidentially, my current laptop is a 2-in-1 "Tablet PC" with a swivel hinge, running Ubuntu (and unfortunately GNOME due to multitouch support)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: But we all have something to learn from this..

          "I learned Windows (was XP + 98 dual-boot then) when I was four years old."

          The grown-up name for XP back then was "Windows for Teletubbies" in the UK and Fisher-Price was, I believe, the US epithet. So entirely appropriate.

  7. 404 Silver badge

    Pretty sure I'd rather have that...

    ... than what my Asus Zen Pad has - mess up 10 times and it resets to factory.. I've been scared a few times when I've gotten close... (wet screen, etc - it runs my car kinda sorta)

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Pretty sure I'd rather have that...

      Also had one of those allow a Google account deletion, before allowing the tablet to log out. Thanks to their security system, the Tablet asked to log into the Google account to confirm it was deleted...

      Note, it was not marked as "stolen" or anything. It just wrongfully allowed the account to be deleted via Googles webpage/site (so from a PC or second device) while then effectively bricking the device.

      As they are trying to copy, but not quite understanding, Apples security systems, the Asus device offered no way to actually reset, even with credentials, the Tablet.

      Thankfully a "this must have bricked due to firmware bugs" excuse and a posted return to Asus got a replacement. But really, the device should allow local account login, or allow factory reset if the account is deleted but not notified stolen. OR the account should not allow deletion if not revoking/unlogging the tablet.

  8. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    My boy saw me type the code in once. I simply told him it changed every day so he needn't bother trying it tomorrow. Worked a charm.

    1. bazza Silver badge
      Pint

      Oooh You Cunning So-And-So

      I'm going to have to remember to do that.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Sounds like you have spawned a future manager

    3. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      If you're into jailbreaking

      There's a tweak that changes the passcode every minute to the time on the clock ... for example, a time of 9:00 AM would become 0900.

    4. jake Silver badge

      My dad tried that with the combo to his bike lock.

      It didn't work. So he got a new lock. I learned to pick it. He gave up.

  9. Sampler

    Denial of use attack

    So, all I have to do to deprive someone of their overpriced fondleslab is punch the password in wrong a few times?

    1. Criggie

      Re: Denial of use attack

      Same goes for most smartphones too - sufficient failed attempts and it gets all defensive.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Denial of use attack

      You will deprive someone of the data on it, as it can be reset.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Denial of use attack

        > You will deprive someone of the data on it, as it can be reset.

        You will temporarily deprive them of the data on it until they restore it or access the data through another device.

        Data on just one device is data you don't care about.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Denial of use attack

          You can still get at the data on it unless you've set the device to delete it after a certain number of failures. My device and many others are not set this way, so all you'd do if you had access for the 81 minutes* required to do this is annoy me.

          *You have to enter the code incorrectly ten times, but there are enforced gaps between each try after five. If you're trying to lock me out, I'm unlikely to let you have the thing for that long. If you really want to deprive me of my device for malicious reasons, just accidentally on purpose drop it onto concrete a few times. That will work much better.

  10. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

    Weird how people missed it

    1. The device is running iOS 6 or earlier.

    2. iOS lock delays double on each wrong entry, until reaching 30 minutes or something, before being completely disabled with a "Connect to iTunes" error. This error, therefore, is a result of a wrong time setting on the iPad (kids wind the clock ahead for cheating on games), then a wrong passcode attempts, then an auto-corrected time setting (possibly when the iPad auto-reconnected to Wi-Fi).

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Weird how people missed it

      Apple use wallclock time for security purposes?

      Provided by an outside source?

      Bloody hell, that's the most stupid thing I've heard all week. Have they no idea what they're doing?

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: Weird how people missed it

        Unfortunately true, at least on iOS 6 - 9 (on an iPad, and the last iOS version I tried this on).

        Humans err. Lots of hacks are indeed simple flukes. It's nothing serious though, as enough tries would lock the iDevice with "Connect to iTunes" instead of a timer.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Weird how people missed it

      Personally, IMO, if you are playing a game that needs that kind of Clock hack, the game is not worth your time.

      It's like people paying £££s at the market, for dodgy, broken, fuzzy, badly filmed pirate DVDs... Like, when good quality content is available legally for good prices (second hand stores!) or free (going to a friends) they'd rather pay cash, for trash.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: Weird how people missed it

        There are two types of this:

        - Pirated game installation (before enterprise/developer certificates became a thing) ... people used to use expired certificates, then roll back the clock for the certificate to become valid. (Largely redundant with stolen enterprise certificates nowadays)

        - (What I was referring to) The games don't really need it per se, but would do something like:

        You're out of Special Super Duper Points! To play, you need to wait for X hours, watch videos for enough points to let you play for a couple minutes, or just buy some!

        A kid who doesn't have data/can't be bothered watching lots of videos for points that are not enough, plus having no money to spend on in-app purchases would simply wind the clock ahead, grab the points, then wind it back so "the Internet" don't break (due to expired SSL certificates).

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Weird how people missed it

        It's like people paying £££s at the market, for dodgy, broken, fuzzy, badly filmed pirate DVDs... Like, when good quality content is available legally for good prices (second hand stores!) or free (going to a friends) they'd rather pay cash, for trash.

        2nd hand DVD sales are illegal, as is lending them to friends. If you can be bothered to read the "license". At least the rather few that I've ever bothered to read :)

  11. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "Oh, and never let a three-year-old near a locked tablet."

    Didn't Moses say that?

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      That's why there are only 10 Commandments left.....

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Oh God, that was terrible...

        1. Huw D

          That's not terrible.

          The one about God trying to get people to accept the commandments is terrible. Also completely non-PC.

  12. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Can someone explain how this worked?

    For such a timed lock out system, I've only come across systems where:

    1) you type in wrong passcode.

    2) you are locked out for 1 second. You cannot enter a new code until lock out time is finished.

    3) you type in wrong passcode.

    4) you are locked out for 2 seconds. You cannot enter a new code until lock out time is finished.

    5) rinse repeat with time getting doubled each time.

    OK even if its an exponential time increase system, the explanation that the kid entered the passcode too many times doesnt fly because they have to wait for all of the time before they can put in another code.

    Is this a shoddy implementation where entering codes whilst its locked count towards the number of attempts? Or is something else going?

    Oh and there are a few comments above saying the child messed with the system time to win games and thats the reason, which doesnt really fly for me - 3 years olds do not mess with the system time on a tablet...

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Can someone explain how this worked?

      Well, how else would the time "jump" ahead? It's definitely not repeated attempts at the passcode (as it would lock with "Connect to iTunes").

      Perhaps there are multiple children in the family? I really can't think of anything else apart from that, and I witnessed the clock issue with the lockscreen firsthand (which is why I described the exact scenario above).

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Can someone explain how this worked?

      No, the battery died and the clock reset to 1970. Somewhere in the system, there was an indication to "don't unlock until 2018". The unlock system thus reported a very long wait time. Whether this required some incorrect attempts to activate the timeout system or just happened automatically and the child was blamed is not known.

  13. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Weird

    I remember a similar story was reported in China a few years back, and at the time, the general consensus was that the story was fake. Supposedly, there was indeed a maximum waiting time.

    I'm not quite ready to believe this one.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Weird

      It's not fake ... it's simply not repeated attempts as how the father presumed it was, but a fluke with the system time (I've seen it firsthand).

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Weird

      This can happen without Jailbreak/deliberate clock adjustment.

      I have had this happen to an iPod 1 (so IOS 5 or 6) device where my son tried the PIN sufficient times to lock it out and say try again in (approx.) 46 years.

      The iPod is not jailbroken and I know for sure that the clock was not adjusted manually. The only other explanation could be that (since the battery is knackered) it is something to do with it re-synching its time when it is connected to power and hence WiFi.

      The fix is to reconnect it to iTunes and do the DFU (can't do this as there are no more firmware updates for a device this old!) or restore process via a PC/Mac with iTunes.

      The restore will of course only take you back to the last backup for the device (in this case on iTunes)….

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Weird

        The restore will of course only take you back to the last backup for the device

        No. It will show you previous backups and ask you to select one of them.

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Weird

          I think he means you can only restore what you have backed up, so if your last backup is 10 days old you can restore to that (or earlier if you have multiple backups) but not to any time after the last backup.

          1. Steve K Silver badge

            Re: Weird

            Yes - that's what I meant (as in that is your most recent restore point possible even if it's 2 years old)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DFU ?

    Device, F*ck you.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... might as well throw the $400 rectangular chunk of electronics away." Apple iPad?, sounds like good advice regardless.

  16. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Now if we had software liability

    he could simply sue Apple for the obvious software bug of letting the exponentional backoff not having a limit.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Now if we had software liability

      It does have a limit indeed ... it's explained in a post near the top. It locks out on the 6th attempt and asks to "Connect to iTunes".

  17. livin' thing
    Facepalm

    My two observations are:

    1. Given the iPad is running iOS 6 or older, Evan Osnos should not be allowed to own any tech product at all. Presumably he's the usual ignorant, yet lippy, arts-grad ex-barista journo that infests most media organisations.

    2. Given his parenting skills - using an iPad in lieu of actually interacting with his child - he shouldn't have been allowed to breed.

    In summary: attention seeking man-child. Probably has beard. Ignore, move on.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Or possibly the owner of an iPad 1 (the original iPad), for which iOS 6 was the last release.

      But seriously though, an iPad Air 2 is, what, $200 on eBay? Could've picked one used ... there's no $$$ excuse, seeing that he's a journo.

    2. Sixelast

      1. It's clearly an old iPad and that's the most recent OS it will run. Are you suggesting that because someone has kept hold of an old product that they still find useful, they should be barred from owning any tech products? Sounds extremely stupid when you put it like that, doesn't it?

      2. The article says he left the device within reach of his child. It doesn't say he was using it as a parenting substitute. You have no idea how much this man spends with his child, but you've jumped to that conclusion because you're a miserable, mean-spirited crank.

      And I don't call you that for no reason - you've just said this person shouldn't be allowed to breed because he is of a particular type that you describe as an 'infestation'. Do you happen to collect any particular type of memorabilia?

      1. livin' thing

        Do you happen to collect any particular type of memorabilia?

        Yes - downvotes and insults. Was that what you meant?

  18. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    late to the party...

    ... have wandered off to be ignorant and unpleasant elsewhere... Why am I always "elsewhere" when they get there?

    I simply didn't have a lock code on the iPad until: A) we traveled and felt it was needed. B) My son was old enough to remember 6 digits and their order.

  19. heligo

    Literally just experienced this with my wife’s iPhone. However it after a period of 1 hour disabled it just went into a permanently disabled mode (XR with latest iOS). I connected it to iTunes and did a restore. Luckily we had a backup.

    So yeah not sure why these devices are being disabled for 48 years. Must be a feature on older versions of iOS.

  20. heligo

    Literally just experienced this...

    ...with my wife’s iPhone. However it after a period of 1 hour disabled it just went into a permanently disabled mode (XR with latest iOS). I connected it to iTunes and did a restore. Luckily we had a backup.

    So yeah not sure why these devices are being disabled for 48 years. Must be a feature on older versions of iOS.

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Literally just experienced this...

      It happened again??

      Does she never learn...?;-)

      1. Thrudd the Barbarian
        Joke

        Re: Literally just experienced this...

        It's deja'vous all over again.

        .

        It's deja'vous all over again.

  21. James Smith 5

    Regular occurence here...

    Working in a school with dozens of pupil iPads lockouts happen frequently, we can clear the passcode via MDM(Mobile device management) while the wifi's connected and then via an ethernet dongle but once it says 'Connect to iTunes' thats it... time to recover from a backup :( the longest I've seen is 1hr prior to the itunes message.

    When they've managed to sign out of iCloud 3+ months ago things get REALLY interesting!

  22. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Good On Ya Apple!

    This is exactly what should happen when someone/anyone (even an innocent toddler) tries to crack into a secure device. (Why? The resulting length of delay indicates how many attempts were made to crack the password. That's useful).

    And yes, a workaround solution to Restore the device is exactly what should be available as well.

    NOTE: If an Apple "genius" ever does anything "smugly", report them to their manager. If their manager acts "smugly", give a call to Apple Customer Service. I've never, ever run into any Apple employee who treated me "smugly", nor would I put up with that behavior. Apple is one of the few companies that deliberately respects the customer, as opposed to treating them as prey.

    Contact Apple for support and service

    1. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Good On Ya Apple!

      HOWEVER! I will agree with others here that this long a delay indicates either a monumentally persistent child OR Apple hadn't properly implemented the delay system in that version of iOS. I suspect the latter, in which case, I withdraw my 'Good On Ya'.

  23. Ausername666

    Same thing happened to me, I put my SIM into it and it reset the date from the network itself.

  24. shah27

    It's fun to do this

    I'll admit I have typed in wrong pin codes on my sisters iPhone just to see how long I can block it.

  25. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Solid parenting there

  26. Herby Silver badge
    Joke

    Pretty simple solution...

    Just get in the time machine, and go forward. Doc Brown might be able to help you with this.

    Not difficult at all.

  27. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Lock up the soap

    Most parents with a new child in the house will go to the DIY store and load up on child locks for cabinets and drawers so toddlers can't drink the drain cleaner or play with mom's good scissors. What they don't do is stop and consider how dangerous a phondleslab can be. Developmental scientists are seeing a trend in kids that are growing up with flat screen devices. They aren't gaining fine motor skills. They are having trouble with perception as they are focussed too much on a 2-D screen instead of a 3D world. They are also not picking up proper social skills by playing with other kids and adults.

    It's a good thing that daddy's expensive toy is bricked. Maybe he'll wake up and keep something that dangerous away from his children before they get into some real trouble forwarding bits of mail to random people in the address book or naughty pictures they find to mummy.

  28. herman Silver badge

    Was I reading by three? - no. Reading by 4? - yes.

    So I must be a bit slow...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which statue law made locking out an iPad a crime, please enlighten me.

  30. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    I've seen this

    I had an iPhone brought to me with a "try again in.." message that worked out to 48 years and change. Of course you can wipe and re-image the device. The user had no idea how it happened.

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