In which Apple destroys my daughter’s iPad forever

My daughter has an iPad mini. It is a second-hand one given very graciously by a friend when his daughter outgrew it.

My daughter has taken good care of this iPad, an astonishing thing given her age and the number of second and third hand iOS devices she had accidentally destroyed when younger.

She loves it and she had a lot of precious things in her iCloud account.

The other day, Apple locked her out of her iCloud account and her iPad. We don’t know why. The Apple support people don’t know why. I think it may have to do with when I modernized my AppleID to use an email address, which is what the iTunes account on the iPad is registered to.

My daughter knows her account name. She knows her password.  She did not forget either one. She did not lose her device. She did not do anything to trigger the Apple ID issue. The only thing we know is that it happened at roughly the same time the ApplePay person told me to update my AppleID. It may be related. It may not be.

She set up this Apple ID on her own around 2010 or so, when she was quite small and listening to her Mom, who said don’t give out personal information, she made up a birthday and answers to the security questions. 8 years later, she does not know that information and there’s no way for us to guess it.

Despite the fact that she owns the iPad, has the physical iPad, knows her id, and knows her password, there is no way for her to ever use the iPad again because we do not have a receipt for the iPad, nor does the kind gentleman who gave her the iPad. The Apple Store does not provide access to records from that far back, roughly 7 years ago. Also, her email provider deleted the account about 3-4 years ago and is no longer allowing email signups.

What’s more, Apple will not unlock her iCloud account to get all those drawings and letters she put there for “safety” even though she has never forgotten her password.

We dug up a previous iPad with a cracked screen that used the same iCloud account, and for which I did have the receipt. That was insufficient for Apple to unlock her device or to let her back into iCloud, even though both devices use the same account and both are physically in our possession.

My daughter is the owner of a brick, which is not getting replaced.

Update: Just for the lawls. I don’t know why it says Weds, Dec 31. This is the older mini with the cracked screen that I had the receipt for.


  • Never ever trust others to save YOUR important data. Always store it on YOUR harddisc. And do backups.

    • I had given her many backup talks and she feels terrible about this.

      • You have deleted my suggestions how to use an own harddisc for storage even on iOS with Nextcloud or a NAS system.

  • What’s the error on the iPad when attempting to sign in?

    Can you unlock it using Find my iPhone?

  • That story sounds like the one person who’s kid locked her out of her own iPhone for 47 years by entering wrong passwords. ( (Allegedly – this is from the British Sun newspaper/tabloid?) (How the hell does that happen? I thought the idea of a time-lock was that you *couldn’t enter another password* until some delay?)

    I’m wondering – how many other stories of people erroneously/”semi-erroneously” (the kid entering wrong passwords) locked out of their data? Along with the FBI/other-government-TLAs wanting to get into things (surely someone could make a way to make a “distributed public-key encryption” system that would work with a device-specific key (a key that could only be recovered via PHYSICAL possession of the phone).

    With all that, is there the possibility of a class-action lawsuit in the works?

    • 47 years is I believe because the iOS clock reset, iPhones do cap out at a certain duration. Although this situation mentioned here is (I believe) at fault of Apple, the one you linked is in no way related.

  • That’s what you get for posting false info in the account details. Can’t really blame anyone.

    • She wasn’t blaming anyone. As for the false info, that’s considered best practice for security reasons.

      • A key part of that practise, though, is retaining the false information in a password database, so that you can pass identification tests later on should it prove necessary.

        It wasn’t explicitly stated in the story, so I felt it was worth adding that here.

    • Blame isn’t being placed? LOL at you scolding a child. OP is right too, not to use your personal information for security secrets. Pet names, SSN, etc. It’s stupid, and it’s good she didn’t do that. The failing was in remembering or storing that information where she could find it again. I recommend Enpass, or Lastpass for secure notes. She learned from this, and that’s a net positive.

  • Are there multiple AppleID’s in play on the iPad? (for instance, for weird historical reasons my iPad is registered to one AppleID, but my music is tied to a different AppleID, and all other iCloud stuff is tied to a third AppleID). I have to be careful when something pops up asking for a password, and make sure that I know which AppleID it is asking for.

    Can she log into that AppleID via a web browser?

  • A couple of thoughts. One if you have adapters and can get ethernet to the iPad, you might be able to get the time to resync and correct itself. from there it’ll be on the network so maybe that might change things? (and maybe not)

    On another note, with my kids’ iPhones and iPads i used Configurator to supervise them and to generate an unlock token. This way I can always use Configurator to unlock the device no matter what they did. (A supervision profile gets installed tied to my iMac which can override lock codes, etc.)

    Well worth considering in the future for family members under 18

  • The iPad seems to have been reset to 5PM on Wednesday, December 31 1969 (UTC-7, somewhere at/around the west coast). As 12AM on Thursday, January 1 1970 (UTC+0) is the start of “Unix time”, I think that the battery just ran out for some time and reset the internal clock.

    Unfortunately, the security mechanisms probably kicked in and locked the iPad until the internal clock syncs back up to the last time the iPad was unlocked. If the iPad was paired with a computer (connected to iTunes) before it was locked, just connect it and it should correct the time and let you use the iPad again. Or maybe you could try connecting it to WiFi to force it to sync time from the Internet.

    Last option would be to simply restart the iPad in DFU mode and restoring the firmware, erasing the iPad – as long as the iCloud username and password are known, it can be unlocked so you can use the iPad again. You could then restore the last iCloud backup to the device and get back your daughter’s drawings, pictures and documents.

    • Even though we know the iCloud username and password, we are not permitted to access iCloud or even sign out of the iCloud account on the iPad.

  • i had to add an email address to my apple ID account a few years ago and I remember having so many problems of account being locked that i created a new Apple ID linked to another email address.
    I’m really sorry to hear about your problem, good luck.

  • You changed YOUR ID and that affected her ID? False.

    You can never use the iPad again? False.

    You stored important data on someone elses server and now you can’t get to it? That’s YOUR fault.

    • My ID is on the iPad as well as it is used for all the iTunes activity.

  • You could try for getting some of your data back.

    • We have. I doubt it will do anything as the AppleID is locked.

  • Maybe does jailbreaking the iPad works?

  • Hmm. I realize the main issue is that the AppleID is locked (which is to say, the problem is “in the Cloud”, and not just at the iPad). But is at least some of the data on the iPad?

    Does the iPad still connect to your local wifi? If so, then I’d expect that eventually it will re-sync the time as long as you leave the iPad plugged in (and maybe power-cycle it once a day). I assume that once the time is correct, then you’ll be able to unlock the iPad even if you can’t log in to the iCloud account.

    Once you can unlock the iPad, then you might be able to get some files off of it by using a program like:

    There’s at least one more which is in the Mac App Store, but my mind is blanking on what the name of it is

    • We are very happy customers of PhoneView and used it to get the majority of the data off it that we could. Some apps required manual transfer, which was a big pain, and items in the cloud were not reachable at all because of the lockout.

  • if the apple id is logged in on some other device, then apple support can in fact send you a code to the other device to reset the security questions!

  • We own Apple products now, after scrupulously banning them for almost 30 yrs.

    So perhaps our perspective differs from devoted users?

    We use our 7 boxes for secure communications, and all of it without icloud. So most of what is mentioned in your artical doesn’t affect us. That said, my biggest surprise occurred right after initial purchase. When I looked and looked for a local/private icloud server system. I wanted to setup our own local storage.

    There is no product of this type. I still don’t know why.

    Without that server – users are totally dependent on Apple’s whim. Not a place I would ever wish to be.

  • everything about apple ecosystem seems stupid to me, i dont find any of their products user friendly

  • It happened to my iPad too and a week later to my iPhone. The problem was never resolved. I now have a new IPad and iPhone and I’m terrified it’ll happen again.

  • This is just another reason among the long list of reasons why I bought an Androind and departed the iPhone scene.. I’ve grown to hate Apple. I say we all file a class action lawsuit against them.

    • The device is still available. Nobody took it from her.

  • Apple cannot ban for nothing.