With the iOS 13.3 update, Apple added Communication Limits to Screen Time which allowed parents to limit how much and how many times their kids can talk to someone. If a number is not in their contact list, kids cannot talk to that person.
Kids can also not add any new contact to their contact list unless their parents approve it by entering a pre-specified PIN. However, as CNBC has discovered, the Communication Limits feature is riddled with bugs and does not work properly.
On an iPhone running iOS 13.3 with Communication Limits enabled, CNBC discovered that kids would be given an option to add an unknown number to their address book if their contact book is not synced with iCloud. Once that number is added, kids can FaceTime, iMessage, or call that number. Ideally, the prompt to add an unknown number to the contact book should not come up since the Communication Limits feature is enabled and it would require a parent to enter a pre-specified PIN.
Kids can also use Siri on the Apple Watch to text or call any number, once again bypassing Communication Limits. There are other bugs with the feature as well like the keyboard disappearing while trying to send a text message to a newly added contact.
The Communication Limits feature works as intended when the Downtime feature is enabled on the kid’s iPhone. Then, the option to add an unknown number to a contact book does not come up.
Apple has already acknowledged the issue, though it says that it happens only on devices set up with a “non-standard configuration.”
Apple told CNBC, “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.”
There are a few other bugs that CNBC discovered while using the Communication Limits feature which it has detailed to Apple. It is unclear if we are going to see Apple roll out a bug-fixing update before Christmas or not.
The initial iOS 13 release was a buggy one from Apple that led to it rolling out multiple updates in quick succession to fix all such issues. However, months after release, we see a similar trend from the company as it struggles to add new features to the OS in a fully functional way the very first time around.