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2011 brings iPhone alarm failures, fix offered

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Friday, December 31, 2010
News Categories: iPhone

Reader reports have confirmed a 2011-related alarm clock bug affecting iPhones running iOS 4.2.1—and possibly other iOS devices—in which one-time alarms fail to go off after having been set, a problem noticed first by New Zealand and Australian users as their clocks rolled over to the New Year, followed soon thereafter by Twitter postings and discussions of the alarm failures. Until Apple fixes the bug, a suggested workaround is to set every alarm to be recurring rather than one-time, then disable the alarm once it has sounded. [via Engadget]

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Comments

1

Oh for heaven’s sake ... as a New Zealander who got stung by the iOS 4.1 alarm bug (recurring alarms not working properly after NZ went to daylight savings time) months and months ago, and had to wait for iOS 4.2 for his recurring alarms to work properly again, it amazes me that Apple didn’t thoroughly check everything before releasing 4.2. Annoying.

Posted by Lawrence Mikkelsen in New Zealand on January 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM (PDT)

2

Hey, at least this little bug didn’t make online functions unuseable.

The PS3 had a VERY major date bug that prevented any and all online connectivity, useability of purchased digital download games AND rendered any disc-based game that used Trophies totally unplayable for a couple days last year. Rendered it a very expensive blu-ray player for all but older disc-based games.

At least my iPod touch still runs any app on it…that’s all I’m saying. smile

Posted by Daniel S. on January 1, 2011 at 8:34 PM (PDT)

3

Excuses, excuses. I’ve no iPhone, but please, folks, just use an ordinary bedside alarm clock. That’s what you get for relying too much on gadgets. Also, stick to a routine and you won’t even need an alarm clock to wake up at the right time. smile

Posted by Jones on January 2, 2011 at 8:32 AM (PDT)

4

Alarms are not working running OS 4 either. The work around seems to work. And as for the suggestion to use a normal alarm clock - then why not use a normal phone too smile

Posted by Nick on January 2, 2011 at 9:53 AM (PDT)

5

Dear Jones, please stop preaching.  A bedside alarm clock is a gadget too, just like an iPhone.  And an ordinary routine will not help someone who needs to get up extra early to catch a morning flight, like I had to do in Shanghai on January 2.  By good fortune I arranged a wake up call at the hotel.  Otherwise I would have missed my flight.  One would think that Apple could at least get a simple feature like an alarm clock right.  The iPhone sucks, and Apple needs to slow down the software updates until they get things right.

Posted by Bobbo on January 2, 2011 at 9:06 PM (PDT)

6

It’s kind of weird that “A somewhat obscure bug was discovered in the iPhone’s alarm-clock software; Apple provided a workaround and promised a fix soon” translates to “the iPhone sucks,” but I guess it means that consumers hold Apple to a very high standard, which can only be a good thing.

I heard a learned commentator on the BBC state that “Apple can’t seem to get right the very basic elements of a phone.” A little extreme, I think. Or maybe we’ll see tens of millions of people showing up at Apple Stores and screaming for refunds. Only time will tell.

Posted by orgel in Falls Church, VA on January 3, 2011 at 7:48 AM (PDT)

7

@Orgel: it’s a function of context.

Apple has controlled around 70%-75% of the “stand alone” media player market for over six years. They’ve been controlling around 25% of the smartphone market for around three years now. They get around 70% of downloaded music business across the globe and have a strong say in how that business is conducted because of their market share. They’re in position to hold a significant percentage of the tablet computing market as it grows and matures. They’re in position to hold a significant percentage of the “accessory box” to home entertainment center as that market grows and matures. They’ve positioned themselves to have a strong hold on the digital distribution of periodicals, episodic entertainment, and movies down the road. They’ve been more or less successful in the personal computer business for nearly 30 years. They’ve been posting quarterly profits in the billions for years.

Yet, alarm clock code, something that is probably out there in a standard library for licensing, something for which the basic principles haven’t changed in decades, that escapes them, repeatedly. I’ve only been using an iOS device since Sept 2010. In just those few months I’ve seen my alarms get screwed up first by an approved application’s push notifications silencing the alarm while a notice was active even though other push notifications didn’t have this effect, then again when daylight’s saving time expired and the recurring alarms went off at the time they would have had daylight savings not expired. Fortunately, I only use recurring alarms so this latest bug didn’t hit me, but that’s a lot of obvious bugs for something so basic.

I take a lot of grief from the hardcore fans of Apple Inc. on here, but I continue because these sorts of things show, at the least, a lack of sound priorities in their product development. Things like numerous alarm function bugs, on-going smartlist bugs, things like proudly touting the adding of threaded email support in mid 2010 when this was common place by the mid 90s for computers with a fraction of the power and resources of a current iOS device, show a haphazard attention to the details that should matter most. One quarter’s profits re-invested would pay one-thousand top shelf experinced programmer’s salaries for the next 15 years, so why do we again and again see in a product used by that many people, making Apple that kind of money, this degree of incompetence?

There will always be bugs, errors, etc. from just the degree of complexity and human error, but there’s also something called willful negligence. Given Apple’s resources, I think everyone should be expecting better of them. It’s not asking the moon that your alarm alerts you when its supposed to.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 3, 2011 at 10:19 AM (PDT)

8

I agree.  I’m using apple products since 1-2 years, had the iPhone, iPhone3G, and now the iPhone4.  I like apple cause they make things simpler, but on the other hand they are implementing these “stupid” mistakes like Alarm alerts issues.  I underdstand that noone is perfect but as a IT tech , I would say that there are acceptable errors, and there are mistakes that should not be in at first place.  Somehow, Apple and any other manufacturer always manage to oversee the simplest areas.

you can say it’s a learning phase for everyone but the company is very large and there are more than one person working on iOS.

Posted by Dennis on January 3, 2011 at 11:13 AM (PDT)

9

Have had no issues at all…

Posted by Daniel on January 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM (PDT)

10

My iPhone 4 has had no alarm issues. I set up a one time alarm after the first of 2011 and it went off without a problem.

Posted by Miguel on January 3, 2011 at 4:09 PM (PDT)

11

And apple have release a fix (by adding repeats)... ######## they just hope the problem will go away. Until the next time it doesn’t work again and F£$% all from Apple.

Posted by Peter Koch on January 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM (PDT)

12

The DST and New Year’s Alarm Bugs are a pain, no doubt about it, but to put it in context, alarms in Windows Mobile were never, ever reliable in any software revision I used from Pocket PC through Windows Mobile 5 (2000 to 2006 or so).  The difference being that I never relied on my Windows Mobile devices’ alarms but have come to rely on the iPhone’s alarm.  At least in each case they had a workaround.

Posted by Dyvim on January 4, 2011 at 2:55 PM (PDT)

13

@12: Of course, if we really want to put it in context, we should consider the “success” of Windows Mobile and its eventual fate wink

Microsoft did such a bang up job with it they had to abandon the whole code base and start over with Win Phone 7, and that’s what happens when you don’t have your fundamentals solid.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 4, 2011 at 7:20 PM (PDT)

14

@13: Good point!

Posted by Dyvim on January 5, 2011 at 3:03 AM (PDT)

15

@14: I know :D

Heh, in all seriousness, though, I get the impression that Apple is building a very large building upon a poorly constructed foundation. iOS wasn’t a huge endeavor to begin with - the iPhone was a trial product, the original touch not even much of a product at all with them having put more effort into deliberately crippling the OS than anything else.

Four years later and iOS is, at least for now, the leading “smartphone” platform, will remain a leading mobile device platform, and is the backbone of nearly every major non-Mac Apple product. Yet, it’s still running mainly upon the code base that was created under the guise of “don’t put too many resources into this in case it fails”...

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 5, 2011 at 5:29 AM (PDT)

16

Who sets a non recurring alarm as their wake-up alarm?

While this is a problem that should be fixed as well as the calendar issue of some birthdays all ending up on the same day in December, but this sure got a lot more press than the Droid 2 that blew up in a guys ear.

Posted by Tom on January 6, 2011 at 2:20 PM (PDT)

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