Apple Won’t Disturb iOS 6 ‘Do Not Disturb’ Bug

Apple's iOS 6 call and notification avoidance feature, Do Not Disturb, has stopped working properly, and here's the kicker: Apple has no plans to proactively fix it.

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Apple‘s iOS 6 call and notification avoidance feature, Do Not Disturb, has stopped working properly, and here’s the kicker: Apple has no plans to proactively fix it. I noticed this firsthand when Jan. 1, 2013 rolled by and the little crescent moon icon iOS 6 employs to indicate DND is active didn’t disappear from my iPhone 5’s top bar, stubbornly stuck just to the left of the clock.

DND is supposed to disable itself automatically, blinking on or off at times appointed by you in your iPhone or iPad‘s settings. I have mine queued to smother incoming beeps, buzzes and bloops from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

But Jan. 1, 2013 was apparently too much for iOS 6 to handle. DND now requires manual activation and deactivation if you want to insulate yourself from your iOS device’s notification chatter during a given period.

Hello ghost of Y2K past (give or take a decade), and the funny thing is, Apple — while acknowledging the problem exists in a support document titled “iOS 6: Do Not Disturb mode stays on after scheduled time” — hasn’t announced plans to do a thing about it.

“After January 1st, 2013, Do Not Disturb mode stays on past its scheduled end time,” reads the problem summary, and here’s the only official resolution: “Do Not Disturb scheduling feature will resume normal functionality after January 7, 2013. Before this date, you should manually turn the Do Not Disturb feature on or off.”

Seven days? No big deal then. But it is a little annoying as well as somewhat odd, given the bug’s universality (and the sheer number of people running around with iOS 6 devices), that Apple’s response hasn’t been more proactive. You have to imagine a lot of people who don’t keep tabs on tech news are left wondering why DND won’t shut off or being rudely signaled during their nocturnal hours as emails, texts and who-knows-what-else chug away.

My wife was one of the latter, mentioning last night that DND had inexplicably stopped working when I asked her what time she was setting the alarm for. How many people are going to spend the next four days perplexed and answer-less, wondering why their iPhones and iPads are suddenly misbehaving?

Apple’s so far been mum on why this happened in the first place, leaving answers to the imagination. The most sensible guess I’ve run across so far is probably this one by Stand Alone, Inc. mobile app developer Patrick McCarron, who noted via Twitter: “If you use a date format string of YYYY (vs yyyy) you get 2012 until 1/7 when it becomes 2013. Easy mistake to make, I have.”

It’s not the first time iOS has had trouble with dates, either. iOS 4 had a few notorious zingers — one in late 2010 triggered by daylight savings that caused alarms to squawk an hour too late or too soon, and another in January 2011 that had the opposite effect of the DND bug, causing certain types of alarms to stop going off at all.

Since it’s not the first time iOS has been bamboozled by the annual turnover, I’ll probably hedge my bets with a secondary alarm source when New Year’s Day 2014 rolls around.