iPhone alarm borked by daylight savings?

I may do this to my iPhone 4

I am tired and I am grumpy. And it’s my iPhone’s fault! Yes, folks, as if losing an hour’s sleep due to daylight savings isn’t bad enough, how about losing another hour just for good measure? It seems that Apple have borked something with the alarm clock and despite the clock on my iPhone being correctly set, the alarm I had scheduled for 5:55am went off at 4:55am this morning, which is basically 3:55am until my body clock adjusts. Unfortunately my tired brain didn’t spot the critical flaw in the Matrix and now I’m seriously hacked off. But the plot thickens upon further investigation…

At first I thought that there must be a system-wide issue causing all alarms to go off an hour early, so to test the theory at 5:42am this morning I set an alarm for 6:43am expecting it to go off an hour early. 5:43am came and went with no alarm. I then set an alarm for 5:45am and it went off at the right time!

To be completely thorough I then tried the same setup again but this time with it set to repeat daily. This time, the alarm did go off an hour earlier than it was set for. So it seems we can narrow this issue down to repeating alarms only. But for how long? Forever? Until the US comes out of daylight savings? Until iOS 4.2? Until iOS 5?!

In the four years that I have been using an iOS device as an alarm clock, this is the first time that I have seen this happen. Since it happened immediately after daylight savings I can only guess that this somehow involves timezones and Apple’s somewhat flippant attitude to how not getting them right affects users outside of the United States. For example, the issue where birthdays entered into contacts appear one day late is well known and has remained unfixed since what seems like the dawn of time.

But then that doesn’t explain why it would only affect repeating alarms, so now I am thoroughly confused. I don’t know if my alarm will go off at the right time tomorrow and I don’t know if I will, in my sleep-induced haze, forget to double-check the time when it goes off tomorrow morning and wake up an hour early yet again, thus falling into a nightmarish unbreakable cycle that slowly eats away at what little of my sanity remains!

If you’re thinking “user error” (you cynic!) think again. After I tweeted my annoyance this morning and asked if anybody else had been caught out, I was flooded with replies from others who had also been affected:

Grumpy people!

And if you’re still not convinced or believe in mass stupidity, here’s a quick video we threw together showing a recurring alarm set for 8:53am going off at 7:53am:

If anyone knows any more about this than we do (such as how to fix it!) go ahead and share in the comments. Also, let us know if this has affected anybody using an iPod touch, iPad, or any device running iOS 3.x.x.

If this does continue then I would suggest everybody submit feedback to Apple.

Now, where’s the coffee…?

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  1. daba says:

    Sorry, but mine worked fine. I updated iTunes yesterday if that could make a difference?

    (daba has made 19 comments)

  2. Steve Lawrence says:

    What model device are you using and what iOS version is it running? Also is it a recurring alarm and did you Sync your iPhone with the new iTunes after installing?

  3. oobidub says:

    Hi Steve,
    My alarm worked fine also (iTunes not updated to 10.0.1).

    One thing I recall doing after I moved back from Australia was to muck around with the Time Zone Support in Mail, Contacts, Calendars. I switched it on and my reoccurring calendar alerts originally created in Australia started going off 2 hours later. I have since ensured Time Zone Support was set back to OFF. It’s unlikely to be this but your alarm going off early made me think of this…

    iPhone 4 32GB iOS 4.1

    (oobidub has made 33 comments)

  4. fstgtr says:

    I also had a very frustrating morning!!
    Alarm was set for 5.40am but it went off at 4.40am!
    I have several alarms set to keep me on track in the morning so they kept on going off.
    Almost got to the point of wanting to smash the thing!
    Tried everything from restarting the phone, deleting the alarm and reentering it … but the alarm didn’t even go off.
    Very frustrating having such a simple thing fail … if it says 5.40am why in the world would it go off an hour early … especially when it says 5.40am alarm and the time says 4.40am!!!!!

    (fstgtr has made 2 comments)

  5. Steve Lawrence says:

    @ oobidub:
    Hmmm interesting… will try that out but switching time zone support off introduces other issues. That shouldn’t have to be the answer.

    EDIT: Nope, didn’t solve it either. Switched time zone support off, set a recurring alarm for 10:06am and it went off at 9:06am.

  6. camtab says:

    Read your article and tested myself. I can confirm that Iphone 4 running iOS 4.1 does indeed play the alarm an hour early if on reoccurring. One off alarms play at the right time. Very odd and stupid!!

    (camtab has made 480 comments)

  7. feee says:

    I to had the same prob just did a test, turned the settings to off… and working fine, hubby also had the same prob… almost made him late… The silly thing was I had three arlarms going at different times… it worked on the 5.30 one not the other ones! Go figure… come on apple please fix it for us kiwi’s :)

    (feee has made 16 comments)

  8. jamesct says:

    Mine did the same to me this morning!

    I hope Apple can sort this out very quickly.

    (jamesct has made 7 comments)

  9. chiefie says:

    I got iPod Touch 1st Gen with iOS 3.1.3 and didn’t encounter this issue.

    A colleague of mine tested by removing her normal alarm schedule, create a new one in few minutes ahead. That went off, which kinda proved that if you removed the existing alarm schedule and create a new one, it should be fine. Though this could just be a short term fix.

    (chiefie has made 23 comments)

  10. moviemichael says:

    Same thing happened to my partner on her iPhone this morning. She had the alarm set to repeat Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and it went off at 5.30am instead of 6.30am which it was actually set for. I tested it and thought that it had to do with it being an old alarm that she reused before daylight savings because when I created a new non-repeating alarm it worked. Good thing that I read this website or we would have been woken up early again tomorrow morning with her repeating alarm. Hopefully Apple does the right thing and gets it working soon. Has anyone filed a bug report?

    (moviemichael has made 63 comments)

  11. Steve Lawrence says:

    @ moviemichael:
    I have, including a link to our YouTube video, but I would encourage everybody else experiencing this issue to report it to Apple. http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html

  12. Bebe says:

    Argh happened to me too this morning. I logged a bug report, thanks for the link :)
    I notice it only happens on recurring alarms.

    (Bebe has made 15 comments)

  13. lazii says:

    Here was the first place I check to see if it was only my iPhone issue, logged a bug report as well. I have deleted and re-create my recurring alarm, hopefully it doesn’t go off an hour early AGAIN!!! ><!!!

    (lazii has made 11 comments)

  14. lazii says:

    @ lazii:
    Just tested a new recurring alarm for 12:40pm and it went off at 11:40am, so deleting and re-creating a recurring alarm does not do the trick. :-(

    (lazii has made 11 comments)

  15. Craig says:

    My alarm went off correctly this morning.

    iPhone 3G
    iPhone OS 3.13
    Time Zone Support: Auckland
    Alarm set for Weekdays 6:40

    My bet is that it’ll fix itself next weekend when we reach the first Sunday in October which is when NZST kicked in until 2007. I doubt Apple will fix it before then.

    (Craig has made 58 comments)

  16. Kyle says:

    I think the only work around for you people with your new fancy iPhone4′s is to set your alarm an hour late.. boo.. I woke up no problem this morning with my 1st gen iPhone.. bless.

    (Kyle has made 6 comments)

  17. Charlieg says:

    My iP4 running iOS 4.1 did the same thing this morning was too bleary eyed to even think of trying to replicate it on my wife’s 3G. Will log a bug as suggested. I’m not sure that 1 October will fix it . I tried to insert a 30 September birthday in contacts last night & phone insisted on displaying 1 Oct! Coupled with the buggy calendar & the problems with duplicate days, it just seems that Apple can’t understand why we would be ahead of California in any way :-)

    (Charlieg has made 8 comments)

  18. Booster_13 says:

    My iPhone 4 is working fine. I’m still only on 4.0.1 though

    (Booster_13 has made 15 comments)

  19. B Gallagher says:

    There’s now an article about this on the Herald’s website:


    (B Gallagher has made 71 comments)

  20. JT says:

    I’ve submitted a bug f@ Steve:
    I have as well! Hopefully they will fix it in the next update.

    (JT has made 16 comments)

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