back to article Miss your morning iPhone alarm? It's not just you, and Apple is looking into it

iPhone failing to get you up on time lately? You're not alone – reports have been spreading of just such an issue.  These rumors, as so many often do in today's age, began on social media. This time it was a rash of oversleeping TikTok users blaming their iPhone alarms failing to go off.  Yeah, yeah, save the comments about " …

  1. abend0c4 Silver badge


    I seem vaguely to remember some sort of mechanical device making that noise. Can't for the life of me remember what it was. Maybe it'll come to me in the morning.

    1. Dimmer Silver badge

      Re: TikTok

      I have cats.

      I don’t need a device to wake me. :)

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: TikTok

      Showing your age there.

      I just assumed we were finally bringing Return To Oz back in to normal social conversation.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: TikTok

      Baby Ben or Big Ben from Westclox. Mine are all original "wind daily" models from the 40s, 50s and 60s. I used to collect them; they could be had from garage sales for a buck or two. Don't waste time with the battery powered chineseum clones, they are junk.

      I only use one when I'm on the road ... here at the Ranch my little Jersey cow bellows a couple times when it's almost time for milking, thus waking me, and the dawgs and cats.

      1. ICL1900-G3


        Jerseys are lovely, in nature and appearance. Lucky you.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Re: TikTok

      You are indeed dating yourself - mechanical timepieces are too damned noisy. I bought a digital as the backup to the cellphone alarm, just in case this thing pulls "an Apple" on me one morning.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: TikTok

        Yeah I hate the sound of ticking clocks. As it happens though I have a very good sense of time and this includes the ability to wake up when I need to. I still have an alarm clock (electronic) which I set before really important occasions but typically I wake up, look over at the clock and disable the alarm before it goes off. I bought a replacement alarm a couple of years ago when the previous one failed (probably through despair at the futility of its existence) and it was several months before I finally found out what it sounded like and that was only because I forget to disable it and it went off when I was in the shower.

        1. PB90210 Bronze badge

          Re: TikTok

          I was quite surprised how loud the ticking was when I *stopped* using using a mechanical clock!

          It was months before I stopped hearing 'ticking' in the wee small hours

          (looks like the brain was filling in to compensate for the 'nothingness')

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: TikTok

      I have a ~$15 clock radio that only make noise when it goes off. Seems to work well.

    6. hoodselina

      Re: TikTok


  2. J10

    Had the Same Problem

    I had this exact problem. Disabling Attention Aware fixed it for me. I would wake up maybe 30min after the alarm and it would be going off at a very low volume. Finally managed to catch it in the act when I woke up just prior to the alarm going off... that time it started with loud audio for a fraction of a second, and muted. Phone was on my bedside charger and NOT pointed at me, so there was definitely no attention for it to be aware of...

    This was a long time ago- maybe a year ago. So this has been around. I Googled the problem and that was where I found out it was related to Attention Aware, no thanks to Apple as they hadn't acknowledged it at the time.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: Had the Same Problem

      It's pretty grim that zillions of phones are making 3D images of their users faces _all the time_ ...

      And yet the only thong wrong with this situation is that a few false positives are causing the alarm to be too quiet

      1. fajensen

        Re: Had the Same Problem

        How else will the murderbots bots find us for the AI-rapture?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Had the Same Problem

          They won't need to find you. They'll just transmit a signal and turn us all into Cybermen

    2. fajensen

      Re: Had the Same Problem

      Some apps seems to block the alarm too. I noticed that scrolling Reddit, then passing out with the app still active will block the alarm.

  3. Tron Silver badge

    Ironic... an advert on El Reg at the moment features a clock radio. A proper one with an LED display - one that you can see at night. A bedroom isn't complete without one of these beauties. They are really quite comforting. They aren't so easy to find nowadays, so when my old one finally croaked after a couple of decades (outlasting numerous generations of iPhones), I stocked up. The new one works fine. Daylight saving requires a manual tweak. Is that so hard? I date from the 80s and am happy to run with 80s tech. The simpler tech is, the less likely it is to go wrong.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Ironic...

      Adverts on El-Reg? Your doing it wrong!

      I do see some quite large inter paragraph gaps now and again though :)

      1. Tron Silver badge

        Re: Ironic...

        quote: large inter paragraph gaps

        So you missed the one for xhamster that slipped through the filter last week. A useful direct link there.

        You aren't a true El Reg fan unless you see the ads, buy the T-shirt and get the official tattoo.

        1. cookieMonster Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Ironic...

          I got the mug, does that count??

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Ironic...

          It’s been a few years since has been live according to the wayback machine

          With the last “ad” I can locate being

          So it would seem possession of a t-shirt, mug etc. is also a sign of age…

          I note according to nominetUK, the domain is still actively owned, so I presume some element of ElReg (holding out in London) are intending to reopen, pricing stuff in GBP and only shipping via Royal Mail to UK addresses… (any one outside of America who has tried to buy stuff from US websites and get it shipped will get the humour).

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge

            Re: Ironic...

            overseas orders are fine as long as shipping does not take 4-6 weeks...

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Ironic...

      > A proper one with an LED display - one that you can see at night

      You mean one that glares all night and keeps you awake. FTFY.

      One problem with standard clock radios is the radio doesn't work, because there's no longer any morning radio stations here.

      Another problem is the only remaining alarm option is usually only EHHHHHGEHHHHHGEHHHHHG, and at 6am, that's going to have an abrupt introduction to Mr. Fist and Mr. Hammer.

      I did find a clock once that played the Westminster chimes, and it worked for about 20 years before finally expiring. Today the options are "fuck you" and "oh yeah, fuck you"

      At least with a phone I can pick the wake-up sounds, and I can also set it to "gentle" where it ramps up from silent over 60 seconds.

      Edit: and I don't do Daylight "Saving" Time myself. I come into work at 8am Eastern Standard Time year round. It's not my problem your clock is off an hour.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Ironic...

        > I did find a clock once that played the Westminster chimes, and it worked for about 20 years before finally expiring. Today the options are "fuck you" and "oh yeah, fuck you"

        NB playing the Westminster chimes and longevity are not related.

        My parents had a lovely grandmother clock from circa 1900 that played Westminster chimes. Obviously, it didn’t make tea, but there was something reassuring about its tick and a strange silence and emptiness to the house when it stopped.

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: keeps you awake at night

        The digital one I bought from Amazon (second one, bought 2), they do not have radios but they feature sound activation: turn on the SA mode and the display stays off until it hears a sound at a distinct volume. Thump the tabletop, slam a draw, clap your hands - the display turns on for about 15 seconds.

        Add in the built-in wireless charger (only OK performance, but still, it's there) and solid bamboo frame, it is a surprisingly handy little table clock alarm. Darkness, until I need it.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Ironic...

        You could cobble together a home radio station using inexpensive "stuff", feed it from MP3 player on 'random'. Might be nice to take music with you out to the garage or back yard as well.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Ironic...

      The irony is either linked to the article being about alarm clocks, or the fact you've just bought an alarm clock...

    4. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Ironic...

      When I were a nipper I had a Binatone clock radio. It had one of the best alarm sounds ever. I'm pretty sure it just channelled the mains through to the speaker because it was this incredibly loud BUZZ! It didn't go off very often but when it did I'd wake up with my heart pounding.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    Attention Aware?

    Never heard of it... which came first the iPhone X or iPhone SE? I'm running late and don't have time to look now!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Attention Aware?

      iPhone SE doesn't have FaceID, and so doesn't have the IR sensors required. So your tardiness isn't related to your phone I'm afraid.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Attention Aware?

        So right your are, my alarms went off, I just fell asleep again for 20 minutes...

  5. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

    When you get to a certain age, you wake up every four hours (or so) to visit the water closet - it's then just a matter of synchronising with when you need to get up.

    If you're not yet that age, have a baby - that'll make sure you wake every few hours.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      I could wish it was only every 4 hours, for me it is sometimes every 1.5 to 2 hours.

      Yes, that means I end up living a life of constant exhaustion. All too often my weekends are spent sleeping most of it away.

      1. The Organ Grinder's Monkey

        If you're genuinely needing to pee every 90 minutes you're probably not emptying your bladder fully, maybe only 50%. It's a common condition, diagnosable with a quick ultrasound test, & (AFAIK) either curable or significantly improvable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It was in the Simpsons once, so it must be true, but the claim was that native americans used to habitually drink a lot of water before bed when they needed to wake up early...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        It's a well known soldier's trick when you have one man on guard duty and one man sleeping (like in a foxhole). Drink a bunch of water, you wake up in a couple of hours needing to pee, then switch roles.

        1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

          Graham Obree, the Scottish cyclist used that trick once. He was attempting to break a track cycling record and had the track (and all the attendant officials and timing kit etc.) booked for 24 hours. He failed in his attempt, but realised he still had the track booked until 9am the next day so fancied having a another stab at it first thing in the morning. The officials thought he was mad but humoured him anyway (also, it was their job to be there). So he went to bed that night, drinking lots of water to make him wake up every few hours. Each time he woke he would stretch and exercise, go to the toilet and drink more water before going back to sleep. This meant he was up early in the morning not feeling sore and achey, but probably still not exactly in the best state due to lack of sleep. He broke the record (which was broken by someone else a few weeks later, which he then bring back, etc. etc.)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > If you're not yet that age, have a baby - that'll make sure you wake every few hours.

      ROFL !

      My daughter didn’t sleep for her first year, she was really good at grabbing 5~10 minute capnaps…

      My son, well sufficient to say he was a 24*7 child, thankfully he became a normal teenager…

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      having a kid is a good idea. Elon has often pointed out that we're below self-sustaining birth rates in many places.

      (otherwise who will take care of us when we're too old to take care of ourselves...?)

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Being retired

    To be awoken by a mechanical or electronic alarm of any kind seems unreasonable and torturous.

    Like the poster above, my bladder is its own time keeper.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Being retired

      I'm seeing an awful lot of folks who seem to have age-onset bladder problems. I see it in the EV range threads, too. Is this a British thing? Because I don't hear anything about that here on the Left Coast of North America (most of my friends are 60+). Perhaps it's something in your diet?

      Not taking the mick ... I'm genuinely curious.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Being retired

        I used to flat with a hospital-based physiotherapist who was telling me about one of her patients complaining she had a constant urge to urinate. After ruling out a few causes she thought to ask if they drank a lot of tea of coffee? It turns out that 15 cups of tea a day was a contributing factor. My flatmate was American, she sounded just as puzzled as you jake :-)

      2. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: Being retired

        I had a small bladder most of my life - or thought I did. My family got used to arranging convenient stops on long journeys. It continued into adulthood. I used to avoid eating or drinking for an hour before a long car trip in an attempt to avoid the need for a break.

        Then one day thinking about how I was getting older and how it was likely to become worse I did some research. I discovered bladder training. I started to force myself to wait until it was really urgent that I go. That was ten years ago when I was in my 40s. I can now go many hours without a toilet break. I'm a keen golfer and I usually manage the entire round (typically four hours) without needing a pee and often don't have one until I get home even after grabbing a drink in the bar.

        It likely won't work for everyone but it worked for me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Being retired

          Good and helpful advice, AndrueC.

          I had a form of bladder training from an early age, growing-up with only an outside loo until age 11. An inconvenience, but one which stood me in good stead — although many decades later, I insist on always having a house with at least as many loos as occupants.

        2. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

          Re: Being retired

          Bladder training worked for someone I know who had bladder cancer. The treatment meant they spent a long time with a catheter in their bladder, so they didn't wee in the usual way. Once the catheter was removed they did bladder training to get their body back to being used to detecting a full bladder again, rather than sending those "need to wee" signals all the time.

          1. The Organ Grinder's Monkey

            Re: Being retired

            Bladder training as described has a downside, which is that not emptying your bladder when you need to is a leading cause of kidney stones.

            People I know that have experienced both kidney stones AND childbirth (only two people I admit, and therefore not a statistically reliable sample I know) tell me that the kidney stones are substantially the more painful experience.

  7. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Whenever I set at alarm, I wake up 15 minutes before it's meant to go off, and then I know I can't go back to sleep for such a short time, so I get up early, go and do something else, ten inevitably my alarm goes off when I'm in a different room from the phone.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had something similar with DST.

    My job requires me to go to $WORK to change the clocks at the DST switchover. So getting ready for fall DST, I set my phone for 1:10 AM, knowing I could easily get up, ready, and travel there in less than 45 minutes. I got a text message at 1:50, a co-worker letting me know he was in position to change his machines; that text woke me up as the alarm hadn't gone off. On my frantic trip into work, the alarm went off, at the SECOND instance of 1:10 AM rather than the first.

    I did file this as a bug with the phone manufacturer who wrote the clock app. And the next year, I set it for 12:55.

  9. hoodselina

    It sounds like there have been a number of users on TikTok complaining about their iPhone alarms not working properly, causing them to oversleep. However, I think we need to be careful before fully trusting this information. It is possible that this is just a local phenomenon or due to minor technical problems. Apple usually has periodic software updates to fix such issues, so I'm confident they will take care of this quickly if there is one. However, until there is official information from Apple or other reliable sources, I recommend that you check and reset your alarm every time necessary to avoid any mishaps.

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