Allowing a toddler to use a smartphone doesn’t sound like a great idea. Not only might they start playing catch with it, but you also run the risk of being locked out of your device for almost five decades. That latter scenario happened to a Chinese mother, whose two-year-old son entered an incorrect passcode into an iPhone so many times that it was disabled for 47.5 years.
According to news site Kankanews.com (via the South China Morning Post), the incident took place at the start of the year after the mother handed over her iPhone to her child so he could watch educational videos online. She returned home one day to find the boy’s repeated failed attempts to enter the passcode had locked it for 25 million minutes.
While the report doesn’t specify which iPhone was being used, it appears to be an iPhone 5; a handset that launched before the arrival of Apple’s Touch ID and Face ID biometric security.
The system gives users five attempts to enter the correct passcode, but every subsequent attempt after this adds a time-based lock penalty that keeps increasing in length.
Shanghai Apple store technician Wei Chunlong said there had been phones locked for up to 80 years using the same method. “In this woman’s case, the only way out [without waiting] is to erase all the phone data and do a factory reset,” he said.
The woman reportedly waited two months in the hope that the issue would fix itself, before deciding to seek help. “I couldn’t really wait for 47 years and tell my grandchild it was your father’s mistake,” she said.
Sadly for this parent, it seems that she never backed up the contents of her phone, so she’ll either have to lose everything or wait until the year 2065 for the iPhone to unlock.