Has your iPhone alarm stopped going off? Lossless audio might be to blame.

Apple Watch alarm
Apple Watch alarm (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple released lossless audio and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos for Apple Music this week.
  • iMore has discovered this may be wreaking havoc with alarms on iPhone and iPad.
  • Users online have also started to notice the issue.

Apple announced at WWDC 2021 that lossless audio, along with Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos was rolling out on Monday to all Apple Music subscribers.

Yet the new feature might be causing some issues with Apple's alarm feature on both the iPhone and iPad, according to our tests and users online. Since updating to iOS 14.6 and enjoying lossless and spatial audio, three of my morning alarms this week have borked. On Wednesday, I got the bog-standard alarm tone (although the alarm feature on iOS often does this to me from time to time to keep me on my toes anyway). What's really strange is that on both Friday and Saturday I missed my alarm completely, and was instead woken by my wife. Both times I picked up my phone to see the alarm was going off silently, I could tap snooze or stop, but it made no sound whatsoever. Each time I had selected the same song that supports Apple's new lossless audio.

Bewildered, we've run some tests and, lo and behold, it seems that as it stands the alarm feature on iOS (I'm on 14.6) simply cannot play lossless audio or Dolby Atmos tracks as an alarm sound, it either reverts back to the default alarm tone, or worse delivers the aforementioned silent alarm. I assumed I was losing my mind, but it's not just me. The problem has since been raised on the Apple Support communities forum, user fashionlin writes:

Not only my iPhone but also my iPad can't play the music with the Lossless label in the Alarm. If I set the music without the Lossless label, the alarm can go off.Models:iPhone X running iOS 14.6iPad Pro (9.7-inch) running iOS14.6

These reports are backed up by a thread in the Apple Music reddit which reads "As the title says…after turning on lossless my alarm does not play the song chosen from Apple Music. It's just vibrates. Luckily the iPhone has a great haptic motor and the vibration alone woke me lol Does anyone have any ideas?". Two further users chimed in stating:

I have the same issue. Not only my iPhone but also my iPad can't play the music with the Lossless label in the Alarm. If I set the music without the Lossless label, the alarm can go off.


Same story. I set up alarm on my iPad that doesn't have vibration, so I just missed it yesterday :(

Apple's alarm on the iPhone is wonky at the best of times, but I've never encountered a bug where alarms consistently go off without making any noise before. As other users have noted the vibrations still seem to work, but I don't use these so was left sleeping soundly on Saturday when I should have been at the gym.

If you've had any similar issues, please let us know down in the comments or over on Twitter. Hopefully, if there are a few people experiencing issues then this is likely a software bug that Apple can fix pretty quickly, we've reached out to Apple for comment in the meantime and will keep you updated!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9