In response to Gizmodo’s inquiry, iRobot apologized to the customers for the inconvenience and linked to a video and written instructions about how to manually deactivate child and pet locks.


Other users wrote to Gizmodo that although their Roombas can activate manually by hitting the “Clean” button, their devices are still effectively unusable since they cannot tell the vacuum to only do certain rooms or avoid debris in other parts of the house.

This is just another example of the finicky difficulties employed when electronic devices require an internet connection to access necessary functionality. Is this unavoidable as devices get ever-more complicated? Perhaps, but there’s an ever-present need for newer models of any piece of tech to introduce more functionality and more features, which means companies need to figure out more workarounds for their users if things ever go wrong.


It’s also a little ironic that iRobot is having trouble with with Amazon servers just a few weeks after the online retail giant announced it was buying out the company for close to $1.7 billion. Consumer rights groups are already up in arms over the deal, saying that Amazon was being anticompetitive by buying out its competition for the home cleaning market.

Update 09/09/22 at 4:10 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include a comment from iRobot.