iPhone Alarm Bug Gave Thousands of Europeans an Excuse to Sleep in

By Jennifer Welsh | November 1, 2010 11:13 am

wakeupA glitch in the iPhone’s alarm software gave many Europeans an extra dose of sleep this morning, when their alarms went off an hour later than expected.

While the time on the phone correctly “fell backward” with Europe’s scheduled switch from daylight saving time, because of a software bug the alarm function didn’t recognize the switch, and all recurring alarms went off an hour later than intended. Frustrated iPhone users took to twitter, said the Daily Mail:

Users of Twitter were also quick to make jokes at Apple’s expense today. Garrettc wrote: ‘Daddy, do you remember where you were during the great iPhone alarm calamity of 2010?’ ‘No son, I was asleep’

Siobhan-83 wrote: ‘Ben’s iPhone alarm didn’t go off this morning, used it as an opportunity to tell him younger, newer models aren’t always the better option.’

And Jamiei said: ‘A whole hour of peace and quiet in the office this morning without any iPhone users courtesy of Apple.’

Hilariously, the bug was discovered a month ago when the exact opposite thing happened in Australia and New Zealand following their “spring forward” daylight switch–everyone got up an hour early. Apple had promised a fix to the problem then, and still claims the bug will be fixed with the release of an update (iOS4.2) in the coming weeks. But it probably won’t come out in time for the American daylight saving switch next Sunday (November 7) night.

The glitch is only affecting recurring alarms, and users can get around it when the time comes by setting a single-use alarm–so don’t expect the iPhone bug to be an acceptable excuse to sleep in next Monday. Any recurrent alarms created after the switch will work properly, but old alarms will continue to go off at the wrong time.

Just another reason to get rid of the time change all together, some say, as the perennial arguments continue over the benefits and costs of daylight saving time. New studies this year indicate that extending daylight saving time in northern areas could save energy and decrease pollution, bringing major health and environmental benefits.

Northern areas need the daylight saving time more, experts said, because they waste energy lighting the afternoons when it gets dark. Also, extra sunlight in the afternoons would make people more likely to exercise and soak up some Vitamin D. Many northern countries are wondering if it is time for a change to the policy, daylight saving expert Mayer Hillman told Reuters:

In some countries, such as Britain and Russia, politicians are being asked to consider parliamentary bills suggesting it’s time for a change. “It must be rare to find a means of vastly improving the health and well-being of nearly everyone in the population — and at no cost,” said Mayer Hillman of the Policy Studies Institute in Britain, where a bill on DST is coming up for consideration in parliament soon. “And here we have it.”

Hillman’s study found that time zone changes in Scotland could give residents 300 extra hours of light per year, and that setting the clocks in Britain ahead by one hour in the winter could save 0.3 percent of daily energy demand. Either way, it still won’t fix the iPhone’s faux pas this morning.

Related content:
Discoblog: An iPhone App, a Refractometer, an Objectively Perfect Cup of Coffee
80beats: Steve Jobs: There’s No iPhone “Antenna-Gate,” But Here’s a Free Case
DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Time
DISCOVER: What Do Urban Sounds Do to Your Brain?
DISCOVER: Discover Data: The Technologies We Love to Hate

Image: Flickr/Robert Couse-Baker

  • TerryS.

    Oh no. Apple software with a bug? What next…security holes?

    The next headline: “DNA tests prove Apple software engineers are human.”

  • http://andeatingit2.com Joanna Cake

    I am so glad I read this. I have been trying to work out why my recurring alarms were all going off an hour after they should have even tho the clock was set to the right time. I shall cancel and then redo them. Many thanks, Discoblog xx

  • http://www.bendecases.com Iphonecovers

    The fresh Microsoft zune cell phone browser is definitely amazingly great, although not as well as the particular iPod’s. It works well, yet isn’t as fast as Opera, and has now your clunkier slot. Should you once in a while consider using the web browser that’s no problem, but if you’re intending to look into the net much from your PMP then this iPod’s much larger computer screen and web browser may perhaps be vital.

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