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Apple admits New Year's alarm bug

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 
Apple has confirmed an iOS bug where non-repeating alarms fail to ring on the first few days of the new year, recommending that users set recurring alarms until Jan. 3, when the alarms will resume working properly.

As various time zones entered the new year, reports began cropping up from iOS users whose one-time alarms had stopped functioning after the device's clock had ticked over to January 1, 2011. According to reports, the issue affects devices running the iOS 4.2.1, the latest version of iOS.

Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison responded to the reports by confirming to Macworld that Apple is aware of the problem. "We're aware of an issue related to non repeating alarms set for January 1 or 2," Harrison said. "Customers can set recurring alarms for those dates and all alarms will work properly beginning January 3."

The issue is reminiscent of the iOS alarm bug that caused alarms to miss the daylight saving time change that occurred earlier this fall. After Australian users were woken up an hour early because of the bug, Apple Australia told ZDNet that the company was "aware of this issue and already developed a fix which will be available to customers in an upcoming software update."

In November, a number of European readers contacted AppleInsider to note having trouble with their iPhone alarms. Apple subsequently released a support document detailing the bug and recommending that users turn off their recurring alarms.
post #2 of 135
So it was a bug... I woke 30 min late today, thought I was late to this wedding I'm working today. C'mon, fix these alarm clock bugs already!
post #3 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by marokero View Post

So it was a bug... I woke 30 min late today, thought I was late to this wedding I'm working today. C'mon, fix these alarm clock bugs already!

I awoke an hour and a half late and it was absolutely marvelous. My only alarm is chirping birds which I chose to ignore today.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #4 of 135
Is this the third time, or am I mis-remembering? What is so hard about doing the alarm app right?
post #5 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by marokero View Post

So it was a bug... I woke 30 min late today, thought I was late to this wedding I'm working today. C'mon, fix these alarm clock bugs already!

This is pretty shameful as its a dumb bug to repeatedly have crop up now. Its not like they are a startup.

What does this really take from Apple to detect ahead of time? One iOS developer spending an hour setting the clock ahead to these milestone dates to see if the alarms go off as they should?
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post #6 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I awoke an hour and a half late and it was absolutely marvelous. My only alarm is chirping birds which I chose to ignore today.

I now want an Angry Birds novelty alarm clock that pelts my head with round, squashy birds from the game to wake me up.
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post #7 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is pretty shameful as it’s a dumb bug to repeatedly have crop up now. It’s not like they are a startup.

What does this really take from Apple to detect ahead of time? One iOS developer spending an hour setting the clock ahead to these milestone dates to see if the alarms go off as they should?

Apple must be using the same $100 million labs that missed the antenna design issue to test the clock app
post #8 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is pretty shameful as it’s a dumb bug to repeatedly have crop up now. It’s not like they are a startup.

What does this really take from Apple to detect ahead of time? One iOS developer spending an hour setting the clock ahead to these milestone dates to see if the alarms go off as they should?

I don't know how they mess this up too. It seems that someone didn't do what he supposed to do.
post #9 of 135
WARNING: SETTING ALARM TO "REPEAT" DOES NOT SOLVE SOME PROBLEMS. MY ALARM FAILED TODAY AGAIN DESPITE BEING REPEATING ALARM.

DO NOT DEPEND ON IPHONE ALARM AT THIS STAGE FOR ANY CRITICAL APPOINTMENTS UNTIL THIS IS SORTED OUT.

Something else is the issue. The Apple spokesperson seems to be repeating (pun unintended) what blogs are reporting about it working fine if you set to repeating alarm, and about it working after Jan 3rd. This may not be the issue, it needs further investigation once the iOS engineers are back from holiday.

By setting it to a repeating alarm it seems to solve the issue when you test alarms during the same day. But somehow my alarm didn't go off this morning (Jan 2 2011) despite being a repeating alarm.
post #10 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I now want an Angry Birds novelty alarm clock that pelts my head with round, squashy birds from the game to wake me up.

Great Idea
post #11 of 135
I wouldn't want to be an Apple engineer right now.

Once I can see, bugs get past everyone. Twice? Not a good way to start the new year with Steve.
post #12 of 135
This is like Y2K, but for real. Does anyone know where the issue is stemming from?
--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
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--SHEFFmachine out
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post #13 of 135
Lets see how they try to make this the user's fault. I use iHome +sleep alarm clock app instead of Apple's. I'm going to hope its a bug in their app and not something in the OS itself.
post #14 of 135
I've always set double alarms for any event that would be catastrophic to miss. My phone plus my vintage 1983 Panasonic clock radio.

I wake up with only the clock radio for routine workdays (if I'm late one day it's not exactly catastrophe) but ALWAYS two alarms if I have something like a flight. It's only common sense!

As to this bug... I'm REALLY curious as to the technical details of it. Has anyone figured it out yet? I can't imagine what's so special about the beginning of 2011 that would trigger this. UNIX systems (like the iPhone) tend to keep time as "seconds since 1970", which should completely leave out what year or month it is as an issue.
post #15 of 135
To make a mistake once, well, that happens to everyone; but to make the same mistake twice, well that's just careless. Apple have $50 billion in cash, are the world's biggest Technology company, and can't fix a simple bug like this?

Are Apple engineers incompetent, or has the boss just taken his eye off the ball? Bring back Woz! He'd have never let this happen.
post #16 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

To make a mistake once, well, that happens to everyone; but to make the same mistake twice, well that's just careless. Apple have $50 billion in cash, are the world's biggest Technology company, and can't fix a simple bug like this?

Are Apple engineers incompetent, or has the boss just taken his eye off the ball? Bring back Woz! He'd have never let this happen.

It might be the downside of success, arrogance.
post #17 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

It might be the downside of success, arrogance.

Another downside is the number of people who disparage you simply because you are successful.
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post #18 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

To make a mistake once, well, that happens to everyone; but to make the same mistake twice, well that's just careless. Apple have $50 billion in cash, are the world's biggest Technology company, and can't fix a simple bug like this?

Are Apple engineers incompetent, or has the boss just taken his eye off the ball? Bring back Woz! He'd have never let this happen.

Would it be that easy to fix? I'm guessing it's hard to notice a zero-day bug like this without some way of advancing the clock and calendar to the affected day. So Apple wasn't aware of this until yesterday. I also have to wonder if there's any way of updating the built-in iOS apps without a full system update. I've never seen those apps appearing when I check for updates. I'd hate to in charge of Apple's servers if everybody downloaded a several hundred megabyte update just to fix that one app.
post #19 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Would it be that easy to fix? I'm guessing it's hard to notice a zero-day bug like this without some way of advancing the clock and calendar to the affected day. So Apple wasn't aware of this until yesterday. I also have to wonder if there's any way of updating the built-in iOS apps without a full system update. I've never seen those apps appearing when I check for updates. I'd hate to in charge of Apple's servers if everybody downloaded a several hundred megabyte update just to fix that one app.

Even just advancing the clocks may not be a 100% way to test this bug. Something else is happening that is triggering the deactivation of the alarm, in the process of over a continuous period of time of several days or so. To be sure the Apple engineers have to revisit the code of the app and find out what is happening. Time Zone settings may affect things, etc. Not that Apple is not responsible, what weird bug in the code is there that is suddenly causing 1.1.2011 errors?

I set my alarm last night (or early this morning of Jan 2, 2011) to 11AM, set to repeat everyday. It did not go off. Nor did I hit the Snooze button, because it would have gone off more than once. In fact the alarm was just sitting there as usual but did not trigger.

But yeah updating individual Apple built-in apps would be great, I especially don't want to lose my untethered jailbreak at 4.1.2 , there is only a tethered jailbreak for 4.2.1

(People please don't say jailbreakers are responsible for all the bugs)

It is ironic, alarm hardware and software has existed for 50 years. I'm sure the Apple engineers will identify the issue in a few days. Pity about the daylight savings fiasco though, and pity about having to issue 4.2.2 just for this alarm error.
post #20 of 135
Apple: not ready for the enterprise.
post #21 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

Apple: not ready for the enterprise.

Beauty over Reliability?
post #22 of 135
But Blackberry was ready for Enterprise when it lost everybody's data?

Methinks thou doth troll too much.
post #23 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Not that Apple is not responsible, what weird bug in the code is there that is suddenly causing 1.1.2011 errors?

Hmm. 1.1.11 error, maybe? Nah. It would have to be 01.01.11 to the device clock.
post #24 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

I've always set double alarms for any event that would be catastrophic to miss. My phone plus my vintage 1983 Panasonic clock radio.

I wake up with only the clock radio for routine workdays (if I'm late one day it's not exactly catastrophe) but ALWAYS two alarms if I have something like a flight. It's only common sense!

Wow, someone with a clue on AI.

Let us celebrate! This is a momentous occasion!
post #25 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

But Blackberry was ready for Enterprise when it lost everybody's data?

Methinks thou doth troll too much.

As much as I am pissed about this ironically Apple stuff is still one of the most reliable. Windows and gaming on Windows is still a mess. BlackBerry may be enterprise oriented but not bulletproof, it's too archaic and ugly for many anyways.

Free yourself from the burden of perfection. That's the message. But in Apple's case, they are doing well but they are not perfect, I wonder if they are too reliant on Steve calling all the shots all the time. But I'm rambling and this is pure speculation.
post #26 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Hmm. 1.1.11 error, maybe? Nah. It would have to be 01.01.11 to the device clock.

What's a 1.1.11 error exactly? Is it a coding thing?
post #27 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

I wouldn't want to be an Apple engineer right now.

Once I can see, bugs get past everyone. Twice? Not a good way to start the new year with Steve.

I'd hate to be Scott Forstall et al because there just goes his and everyone under him's new year celebrations. But that's why they still get the big bucks in this economy. All the best to them for iPhone in 2011... It's going to be demanding!!! (Not just because of the Clock app)
post #28 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

I've always set double alarms for any event that would be catastrophic to miss. My phone plus my vintage 1983 Panasonic clock radio.
.

I do the same thing. Learned the hard way. This is still BS though because you can't always do dual alarm, like when traveling, nor should you be expected to do so at all. I hope they fix it properly, seems like such a basic app.
\
post #29 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

What's a 1.1.11 error exactly? Is it a coding thing?

Dare I say, Grasshopper, your eyes are open but you no see.


Here's a twister: tomorrow, it's 2.1.11 in the UK, while it's 1.2.11 in the US.


-- hey, don't wax too hard. I take comfort in this Fun Fact from the Mayo Clinic: there's a higher incidence of cranial vapour-lock come eggnog season.


EDIT: Sorry nvidia2008, maybe it's me that's had too much eggnog...
post #30 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimsyswallows View Post

Is this the third time, or am I mis-remembering? What is so hard about doing the alarm app right?

Ask Steve.
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post #31 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

Apple: not ready for the enterprise.

You aren't serious. Are you?
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Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
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post #32 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

... Windows and gaming on Windows is still a mess. ...

Curious, but why do you think gaming on Windows is a mess?
post #33 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlcmh View Post

Curious, but why do you think gaming on Windows is a mess?

Edit: On my iPhone now. Will type when I use my iPad in a few hours time. Boy do I have something to say about gaming on Windows.
post #34 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterO View Post

Dare I say, Grasshopper, your eyes are open but you no see.


Here's a twister: tomorrow, it's 2.1.11 in the UK, while it's 1.2.11 in the US.


-- hey, don't wax too hard. I take comfort in this Fun Fact from the Mayo Clinic: there's a higher incidence of cranial vapour-lock come eggnog season.


EDIT: Sorry nvidia2008, maybe it's me that's had too much eggnog...

LOL maybe when you sober up you can clarify. There is an internal clock that has the unix day and time etc. No reason I can see why on a particular date, which so happens to be January 1 2011, that alarms suddenly stop working or that it suddenly forgets whether it is using US or UK time. Someone at Apple Forums mentioned this error occurs on Jan 1 2012 and some other years as well.
post #35 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlcmh View Post

Curious, but why do you think gaming on Windows is a mess?

Gaming on Windows presents several challenges.

You need to constantly update your drivers for various peripherals and especially the GPU. Updating a few times a month, and sometimes rolling back drivers are common "fixes".

So many games nowadays are console ports and some are poorly done. NFS Hot Pursuit for example: I get some bad lags every few minutes. Turns out, once I disable the WiFi card (a latest PCI card) the lags are much less reduced.

COD Black Ops is another recent offender. Takes several patches for the PC version to not have weird lags and stuttering, even then it isn't fixed for some people.

Some titles are not optimised on PC so you have no antialiasing in certain games, it has to be forced through the driver, even then it doesn't work sometimes.

DRM has reached the stage where many games require a permanent network connection even for single player games and it checks the server frequently. Complaints have been raised eg. for Ubisoft games where this network authentication is worse than Steam, which also ain't convenient some of the time.
post #36 of 135
I'm not surprised if somebody is preparing class action lawsuit already. Seems like they got sued for everything these days.
It's just frustrating. My wife got up late today because of this and she had to take my mom to the hospital. Missed the appointment. (her old alarm clock just broke a couple of week ago)

Btw, Happy New Year everyone.
post #37 of 135
Luckily I am on holiday and nothing major or urgent. Also, I have had Nightstand HD for a while, but will use the alarm feature for the first time for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Jan 3rd, so I've set the normal alarm (non-repeating) and the Nightstand HD alarm.
post #38 of 135
Bugs happen. It's impossible to catch every single one before a product hits the market. I think Apple generally does a very good at releasing quality software.

However, what Apple are missing is a mechanism to deliver small but critical patches to consumers outside of the usual release cycle. I find it staggering that Apple knew about the last bug, had a fix but didn't release the fix until after the problem was affecting people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Gaming on Windows presents several challenges.

<snip>

To go waaaayy off topic, virtually everything you complain about is solved by installing Steam. Steam now supports automatic updating of drivers and most games publishers are happy to use Valve's user-friendly DRM.

There's also a fantastic selection of indie games on Steam that are far more fun that trashy big budget releases like Need For Speed and Call of Duty: Black Ops.
post #39 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Gaming on Windows presents several challenges.

You need to constantly update your drivers for various peripherals and especially the GPU. Updating a few times a month, and sometimes rolling back drivers are common "fixes".

So many games nowadays are console ports and some are poorly done. NFS Hot Pursuit for example: I get some bad lags every few minutes. Turns out, once I disable the WiFi card (a latest PCI card) the lags are much less reduced.

COD Black Ops is another recent offender. Takes several patches for the PC version to not have weird lags and stuttering, even then it isn't fixed for some people.

Some titles are not optimised on PC so you have no antialiasing in certain games, it has to be forced through the driver, even then it doesn't work sometimes.

DRM has reached the stage where many games require a permanent network connection even for single player games and it checks the server frequently. Complaints have been raised eg. for Ubisoft games where this network authentication is worse than Steam, which also ain't convenient some of the time.

All of your complaints basically apply to the the video game industry as such, not to Windows specifically. Or do you think it's fair to hold Windows/Microsoft responsible for the fact that gaming is migrating - and has been for years - to consoles? Because THAT'S the reason for most of the problems you listed, not Windows. Treyarch really screwed up with Black Ops, yeah, but that's because I'd guess 90% of Black Ops-copies are sold for consoles, so they probably didn't even bother with QC for the PC version.
post #40 of 135
It's hardly the end of the world, get over it.
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