iOS 6 Do Not Disturb goes on bender, takes New Years off

Proving once again that even the latest, greatest iOS time-based feature can fail in the face of simple change, tons of reports are flying around the internet that Do Not Disturb -- the feature that lets you mute Notification Center alerts during specified, usually nighttime, periods -- stopped working at some point between 2012 and 2013.

Manually flipping Do Not Disturb from off to on again seems to fix the problem for some people, rebooting for others, though that might be small comfort when the Game Center trumpet goes off at 4am after you've been out old lang syne-ing until the wee hours, or when it won't turn back on and you miss that important call.

Apple has struggled with alarms and other time-based functions during transitional periods before, and it seems they still haven't figured out a way to fix whatever's causing the problems.

I have almost all my alerts turned off all the time anyway, so I didn't notice the problem, but if you did, let me know what happened, and if you found a fix that worked for you.



Update: Apple has released a knowledge base article saying the bug will fix itself on January 7.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS 6 Do Not Disturb goes on bender, takes New Years off


Mine still stuck on. Toggled the setting. Nope. Rebooted with it on and off. Nope. If I turn it on at all, the moon appears. Crap. Why is there always some stupid bug like this.

You do realize if you turn the switch inside of settings to "on" that is turning it on RIGHT NOW and not turning on your schedule right? you set your schedule inside of notifications and it will show "Scheduled: 1:00 AM" or whatever time you set and the switch will be off if it isn't during your scheduled on time.

I also noticed my Do Not Disturb was on an hour after it was scheduled to turn off. I went into Notifications > Do Not Disturb & toggled from Scheduled On to OFF then back to On. Do Not Disturb is now off with it scheduled to go On at the appropriate time.

One more thing for Apple-Hating bloggers to obsess over, blow out of proportion, and otherwise hate on iOS... smh.

I'd agree if this weren't the umpteenth time this kind of thing has happened. I think this speaks of a much larger problem at Apple.... the one that might actually be their demise. (see my post below)

This is a major screwup by Apple. A time critical text was delayed by several hours (until I noticed the moon in the status bar) Jan 2 because of this. The DND function deactivated fine on the morning of Jan 1 so I was definitely not expecting this.

Honestly, after all their other date related screw ups, you would think they would drop a few bucks to test properly. If they are incapable of designing proper unit tests, they should just pay a squad of minimum wage workers to walk through the dates and check functionality.

This is especially embarrassing for Apple coming on the heels of the ping pong commercial. I imagine lots of people just activated this feature in time for it to blow up in their faces.

+1 to changing from midnight to 11:59pm start time! So weird that as someone else mentioned, changing the date on your phone to 2011 or 2016 also "fixes" it, but not other years (not a real fix though as you will be on the wrong date all the time)

Not just a mere ton of reports are flying around but you say multiple tons of reports are flying around! Do you iSheep realize this colossal failure by Apple might have cost people their job or a missed appointment with a doctor, and Apple should be sued to the hilt! The once gleaming Apple has fallen from the tree and is now rotting on the ground; this would have never happened under Steve Jobs. As a result, I'm buying a Galaxy Note II tomorrow with it's massively sized display and guilt free open source version of Linux known as Android Jelly Bean. Goodbye iSheeple!

Um the DND is not an alarm. It only silences phone calls, txt messages ,and other notifications as selected. So has nothing to do with getting an alarm. That still worked fine. Sue apple because you may have over slept? Really?!? I suppose you are one of those who buy HOT coffee and spill it on yourself then sue Folgers. Wonder how folks ever got to their jobs and doctors before iOS6 release with the DND feature? (even though that has nothing to do with an alarm) Never thought about that too much.

Hmm, funny. Mine worked perfectly fine like it always does. I'm in the US, scheduled to shut off at 6 am. Shut off at 6 am. Yay for me I guess.

Me too, I use DND from 10:30 pm to 5:30 am, didn't even know this was an issue until I read it online.

Does Apple not use unit testing for their time-based functions? Seems like most of these types of problems could be averted using simple tests. If they do, their tests are broken.

I think Apple needs a few more folks in the Time and Alarms division.

But seriously, I think this is indicative of a larger problem I keep seeing with Apple... which, I think if not addressed, will ultimately be their demise.

Attention to detail!

This is what made Apple and what Jobs was famous for. Many of us Apple users have spent extra money on our computers for a LONG time because of this. It's because we know (or assumed) that Apple spent the hard time thinking through each UI change, often doing usability studies. We love it in the big picture when Apple thinks through an entire industry in order to redefine it. We love it in the manufacturing and industrial design of their products.

It still exists at Apple. We see it when we look at an iPhone 5 or the iPad series (hardware). We see it in many other ways. However, on the software side of things, I think it is really slipping lately. The software folks seem more focused on a 'new look' for iTunes than they do for pinning things down like the file system interaction on iOS, or 'save-as' on OSX, or proper syncing and basic features of Contacts and Calendar (we just recently got the ability to search more than a few fields in Contacts!). The same can be said in this case. Alarms might not be glamorous, but they are critical to those who use and depend on them.

While Apple is certainly doing well in many consumer markets, what will happen if people learn they can't ultimately depend on these devices for core capabilities? Siri doesn't matter much if the device doesn't wake me up for that important meeting. OSX doesn't save me much productivity time if I or some user opens a document and accidentally makes some changes which get auto-saved and I now have to chase down a backup (assuming I'm good and have one).

A friend of mine, who has been a Mac consultant for a LONG time (and got me into Macs more than two decades ago) recently said that he wouldn't even recommend Macs in a business environment right now (nor upgrading to Lion or Mt Lion for existing folks), given the mess that Apple has created around saving files.

Apple once understood that the small things matter. I fear if they don't get that back in their sights, it is ultimately going to be their undoing.

This was posted by another user on MacRumors forums:

"I made some tests and this issue will fix itself on Sunday January 6, 2013. It will happen the first few days of January 2014 (until Sunday January 5, 2014) if the bug is not fixed. Most first few days of most years seem to have this bug. The bugs starts on January 1st (based on the From time under Scheduled) and is usually fixed on the first Sunday of the year (except if the first day of the year is a Sunday, then it is fixed on the second Sunday). Years preceding years where the first day is a Sunday are not affected by the bug.

Let's check the next few years, this is the pattern :

2013 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 6
2014 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 5
2015 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 4
2016 : Issue not happening even though first day is a Friday
2017 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 8 (Jan 1st is also a Sunday)
2018 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 7
2019 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 6
2020 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 5
2021 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 3
2022 : Issue not happening even though first day is a Saturday
2023 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 8 (Jan 1st is also a Sunday)
2024 : Issue fixed on Sunday Jan 7

The same pattern happens if you go back in time as well.

Note : If DND is scheduled before midnight, then the issue and the fix (see above) are delayed one day since it's based on the From time under Scheduled."

I discovered that the moon appeared and DND engaged immediately upon setting a future time on my iPhone 5 via Settings --> Notifications --> DND. This interrupted all phone rings and alarms causing at least one missed appointment.

Here is my 4-step remedy:
Settings --> Notifications --> DND --> Scheduled ... turn OFF
Settings --> DND ... turn ON
Settings --> Notifications --> DND --> Scheduled ... turn ON
Settings --> DND ... turn OFF

Like magic, the moon will disappear and your scheduled time will appear beneath the words "Do Not Disturb" at Settings --> DND

Upon rereading the instructions above, it is perfectly understandable to me but probably as clear as mud to you.

Good luck and may all you wishes come true...

Yesterday I was able to manually deactivate the Do Not Disturb feature. Now we are on January 2nd and it's stuck activated once again.