One of the security measures installed in iOS is a time-based failsafe, which kicks in when an incorrect passcode is entered.
The method is pretty straightforward: If someone inserts a passcode into an iOS device incorrectly, then the software won’t allow for another attempt to happen over a set period of time. The more often that an incorrect code is entered, the longer the timer will kick up. So, for example, if a kid got a hold of an iPhone and just started hammering home incorrect passcodes, the security implementation could ratchet up the time between attempts quite a bit.
Just ask one iPhone owner based out of China. According to a report from The South Morning China Post (by way of 9to5Mac ), the iPhone owner, who is identified by their last name, Lu, gave their toddler the iPhone so that they could watch some educational videos on the device. However, something must have happened, because the phone locked and the child went to work trying to access the device.
Unfortunately for Lu, that meant the passcode attempt timer jumped up to an incredible 25 million minutes, which is 47 years if you’re keeping track.
Lu took the iPhone into the Shanghai Apple Store and was told that the only immediate fix was to completely wipe the device altogether and start over. Or she could wait 47 years for the next attempt to become available to insert the correct PIN.
Lu, for her part, hasn’t made a decision on what to do, but does offer up this, which is pretty funny — all things considered:
“I couldn’t really wait for 47 years and tell my grandchild it was your father’s mistake.”
One of the Apple Store technicians said that they’ve seen devices that have been passcode timer-locked for up to 80 years before.
It is always a shame when our security measures, which are meant to protect us, get in our way like this. Waiting for 47 years isn’t a real expectation, but it also has to be pretty frustrating for Lu that her only option is to wipe the handset and basically start fresh.