Instead of waking up this morning to the proprietary echoing blip of the iPhone’s default alarm tone, a bunch of iPhone owners awoke this week to find the alarms they set had been turned off. Why? How? What the fuck happened?
All signs point to Apple’s new overnight update feature, which asks you if you want it to install the latest iPhone operating system while you sleep. Or, apparently, oversleep. What the update feature doesn’t tell you is that when it’s done installing the new system software in the middle of the night, it restarts the phone and switches off any alarms you had set on it.
She expected to wake up in the morning as usual to an updated iPhone. And indeed she did, but she woke up more than an hour after her alarm was scheduled to go off. The update had worked brilliantly, but her alarm had been deactivated, causing her to be very late for work.
And she was certainly not alone. Apple’s bug also screwed over the lead guitarist for the Pixies, a student, an employed person, and someone who now has crippling trust issues:
All of our iPhones alarms failed to wake up our household. Did anyone's iPhone alarm go off this morning?— Joey Santiago (@JoeySantiago) October 28, 2015
My iPhone decided to update last night. No alarm this morning and I missed my class. 😡— NoahJ456 (@NoahJ456) October 28, 2015
@APPLEOFFIClAL i selected my iphone to update btween midnight & 5am. My alarm didnt go off. Plz explain to my boss why i missed my meeting?!— Lucie Dean (@DeanLucie) October 28, 2015
my iPhone updated last night when I was sleeping and I missed my alarm. #canttrustnobody— jenna (@jennaredden_) October 28, 2015
The bug has become prevalent over the past week with the release of iOS 9.1, and it appears the only way to avoid losing your alarms is to update manually from the Settings app, rather than clicking “Install Tonight” when Apple pops up another annoying reminder.
And once you’re done, check to make sure your alarms are on.
As far as I can tell from my own experience and from anecdotes on Twitter, the alarm-clock fuckery is a one-night only problem for most iPhone owners. Once the update is done and you’ve reset your alarms, it shouldn’t bother you again ... until the next iOS update.
People signed up for the iOS 9.1 public beta had worse, though, as I learned from experience. It was Apple’s fastest beta cycle ever, which meant I was downloading a new iteration of the software about once a week. After two times choosing “install tonight” and finding an update had turned off my alarm, I got wise and started hitting “install later.”
Don’t try to use a third-party alarm clock app like Sleep Cycle as a backup. The overnight update causes the phone to restart, which shuts those off as well. (That’s something else I had to learn the hard way.)
Apple hasn’t commented on the bug specifically, and the release notes from iOS 9.2, which went into developer beta yesterday, don’t mention a fix. But you might be happy to know, as you’re waking up late for work, that “SFSafariViewController now supports 3rd party Action Extensions. Any Action Extension that works in Safari will also work in SFSafariViewController.”
To be fair to Apple, though, they did fix a separate alarm clock bug in iOS 9.0.1 back in September, so it could be coming. For now, if you haven’t updated to 9.1 yet, just try not to do it while you sleep.
[Photo: Jay Hathaway]