iPhoneThis morning I discovered what is possibly the world’s most annoying iPhone bug. For some time now I’ve been trying to determine why every now and then I seem to sleep right through my alarm. The iPhone alarm can be set to be tragically loud and uncomfortably annoying, so the fact that I have frequently not heard it at all was a mystery. Until now.
Here is the bug:

If you receive an SMS message and do not acknowledge it — because you’re fast asleep, for example — the iPhone alarm will not execute until you clear the SMS notification.

I learned this the hard way. Last night I was awake watching the Olympics until after midnight, so I needed my alarm this morning. It never rang. While I was walking into my office, about two hours later than I like to get here, I saw that my landlord sent me a text message very early this morning. I slid the slider to unlock my iPhone and clear the SMS and all three of my alarms started blaring at me.

This is quite an insidious bug because until Apple fixes it there is nothing you can do to prevent it. I suppose you could contact everyone you know and tell them not to send you a text message earlier than any alarms you have set … but that’s hardly reasonable.

There are 2 comments on this post

  1. You need a social alarm clock if your getting text messages in the middle of the night!

    See http://Sleep.FM . You set the time, alarm tone goes off followed by an audio message from someone in your inner circle.

  2. You are right on the money! I’ve experienced this bug many times myself. It happens just like you said except for one little part:

    “… there is nothing you can do to prevent it.”

    I’ve been using my implementation of a fix for some time. The downer is, if I pass out and don’t actively do it … well, you know what could happen …

    My fix, more of a workaround, is simple:
    Turn ON Airplane Mode

    With airplane mode on, you don’t get anymore text messages, push notifications, or phone calls. Hope no one calls you in the middle of the night for anemergency!!! Regardless of my workaround, Apple really needs to fix this bug!!!!!

Add to the discussion:

I'll never share your email address and it won't be published.

What Is This?

davidgagne.net is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.


A few years ago I was trying to determine what cocktails I could make with the alcohol I had at home. I searched the App Store but couldn't find an app that would let me do that, so I built one.


You can read dozens of essays and articles and find hundreds of links to other sites with stories and information about Ernest Hemingway in The Hemingway Collection.