Apple’s Screen Time feature can be used to limit activities, durations, and times of day when children in a Family Sharing group can use their devices. However, you can also use Screen Time to remind yourself to leave your phone or computer after a certain time or sometimes during the day.
The problem? You can set yourself a screen time passcode, set an extra bar to cross when you hit a limit. (If you’re too tired to remember your passcode, it’s probably time to put the phone down.)
When you set the Screen Time passcode for yourself Institutions > Screen timewhere you tap Use the Screen Time passcode, iOS and iPadOS ask you to choose and enter a four-digit screen passcode, then enter it a second time to confirm that you remember it correctly. So far, so good. (On macOS, you can only set a Screen Time passcode for accounts that aren’t set up with admin status.)
Apple now tells you to enter the password for your Apple ID account in a screen called Screen Time Passcode Recovery. This provides backup: if you forget your Screen Time passcode, you can use your Apple ID to unlock your device or disable Screen Time. You can tap Cancel to avoid entering your Apple ID. If so, iOS or iPadOS will prompt you with “Are you sure?” It offers two buttons: To skip or Enter Apple ID. Crane To skipand the passcode is set without the recovery option.
This is all well and good unless and until you forget your Screen Time passcode. While you may find this unlikely, this passcode is different from other codes we routinely enter on our devices. So you may not have a reason to use it for any length of time. If you haven’t saved your choice in a password manager, it could fly out of your head.
If you don’t remember your code And you have set up the Apple ID backup, you can follow Apple’s reset instructions on this support page.
A reader wrote seeking advice on how to fix their code for bypassing the Apple ID step. At first I thought they were mistaken as the Apple page that documents how to enable a Screen Time passcode says “Enter the Apple ID and password* you used to set up the Screen Time passcode .” There is no “if you choose” or “you can tap Skip”.
But it’s optional – and there’s no way to get rid of it. Our reader eventually had to reset his device.
This Mac 911 article is an answer to a question from Macworld reader Henry.
Ask Mac 911
We’ve put together a list of the questions we get asked most often, along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQs to see if your question is covered. If not, we are always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to [email protected], including screenshots if applicable and if you want your full name used. Not every question is answered, we don’t reply to email, and we can’t provide direct troubleshooting advice.