Apple admits New Year's alarm bug

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 136
    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!
  • Reply 2 of 136
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 136
    Is this the third time, or am I mis-remembering? What is so hard about doing the alarm app right?
  • Reply 4 of 136
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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 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?
  • Reply 5 of 136
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 136
    ski1ski1 Posts: 251member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 136
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 136
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 136
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    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
  • Reply 10 of 136
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 136
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    This is like Y2K, but for real. Does anyone know where the issue is stemming from?
  • Reply 12 of 136
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 136
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 136
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 136
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 136
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 136
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 136
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 136
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,476member
    Apple: not ready for the enterprise.
  • Reply 20 of 136
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    Apple: not ready for the enterprise.



    Beauty over Reliability?
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