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Apple’s new iOS parental controls for limiting who your kids talk to are broken

One of the highlights of Apple’s latest update for iPhones and iPads, iOS 13.3 is a set of new parental controls. Called Communication Limits, the tools offer parents granular controls over their kids’ communication activities and allow them to limit who they talk to and add to their contacts. However, it seems like Apple hasn’t quite thought it through as the new feature is riddled with workarounds and can be easily bypassed.

Originally discovered by CNBC, the most significant deficiency the new parental controls suffer from is that they’re designed to function only when the user is employing iCloud for syncing their phonebook. So for instance, if a child uses Gmail to store their contacts, they will be able to add and communicate with an unknown number without any interruption or parental verification.

On top of that, kids also have the option to circumvent Communications Limits through an Apple Watch. They can simply ask Siri on their Apple Watch to text or call a new number and it will do so even if the contact is not present in the paired iPhone’s phonebook.

When reached out, Apple acknowledged the bug and in a statement to CNBC said: “This issue only occurs on devices set up with a non-standard configuration, and a workaround is available. We’re working on a complete fix and will release it in an upcoming software update.”

Unfortunately, since Apple didn’t specify an exact timeline, it’s not really worthwhile to set up Communication Limits for now. Parents who have already configured Communication Limits can make sure and switch their kids’ sync settings to iCloud from any other services like Gmail. You can do so by heading into the iPhone or iPad’s Settings > Contacts > Default Account and selecting iCloud.

iOS 13 has itself had a rocky journey so far and Apple has already pushed out a handful of bug fixes. Apart from Communication Limits, iOS 13.3 brings a host of minor improvements and features including the ability to disable the Memoji and Animoji stickers from always appearing on the emoji keyboard, support for FIDO2 security keys over Lightning, USB or NFC, and more.

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Shubham Agarwal
Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Firstpost…
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