Chinese woman locked out of iPhone for 47 years


iPhone China locked
Not a message you want to see on your iPhone.
Photo: Kankanews

Do you want to continue being able to unlock your iPhone in a timely manner? Then maybe don’t leave a 2-year-old child playing with your handset.

That’s the lesson learned by a mom who ended up locked out of her iPhone for 47.5 years because her son entered the passcode incorrectly enough times.

According to a news story currently doing the rounds in Chinese media, the incident took place earlier this year. The woman gave her 2-year-old her iPhone to watch educational videos online. When she asked for the phone back, she discovered that her kid made enough bad passcode attempts that the phone had locked down for 25 million minutes.

“I couldn’t really wait for 47 years,” the woman is quoted as saying.

It’s not clear exactly which handset was being used, but from the picture it looks like the iPhone 5 — which predated biometric passcodes like Touch ID or Face ID.

The perils of forgetting your iPhone passcode

For those who haven’t ever had the misfortune of being locked out of their iPhone, time-based penalties like this do exist. If you insert the passcode incorrectly up to five times, you simply get a message saying that it is wrong and you need to re-enter it in order to access the device.

The problem starts when you enter it for a sixth time, after which the iPhone will be disabled for one minute. Enter it incorrectly another time and the iPhone will be disabled for 5 minutes. Get it wrong again and this number increases to 15 minutes, then 60 minutes, and so on.

There is hope, though — although it comes at a price. If you’ve completely forgotten your passcode (which is admittedly less of an issue in the biometrics era), you can unlock the iPhone, but only by wiping it and doing a factory reset. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got your phone backed up.

Source: South China Morning Post