Bug Prevents 2013 Scheduling of Apple's "Do Not Disturb" Feature

Apple Do Not Disturb Bug 2013

Update [2:33 PM EST]: Apple has just issued a support article claiming that the Do Not Disturb scheduling feature will perform normally again "after January 7, 2013."

Users of Apple’s “Do Not Disturb” feature on an iOS 6-based iDevice may mistakenly think that the start of 2013 is relatively lonely. The feature – which when enabled during a user-defined time window silences incoming calls, alerts, and app notifications – did not automatically turn itself off as scheduled starting on January 1st, according to a number of user reports on Apple’s Support Communities as well as other online forums, and continues to not operate properly as of the date of this story.

The status of “Do Not Disturb” can be determined by the presence of a crescent moon next to the current time in an iPhone’s status bar. Affected users will noticed the presence of the crescent moon after the set time window for the feature had expired, as can be seen in the screenshot below, provided by TUAW.

The issue was described succinctly by MacRumors forum user “spacesamurai:”

I am in Japan so it is 2013, and I am finding that my iOS devices (iPhone 4 and iPad 2) are showing “Do Not Disturb” even though it is outside of the time I set for them. Not sure if this is related to the new year. Reloading the devices does not help and the software is up-to-date.

Not all users claim to be affected by the issue, with some reporting that the feature performed as expected throughout the first day of the year.

Thankfully, “Do Not Disturb” does not silence user set alarms, preventing a repeat of an iOS clock bug from January 1, 2011. That bug, limited to alarms set by Apple’s iOS Clock app, prevented non-recurring alarms from sounding starting at midnight on January 1st, but corrected itself on January 3rd.

The behavior of the Do Not Disturb bug therefore won’t become an excuse for why millions of iOS users are late to work today, but it may help deflect criticism from bosses about why they didn’t answer that urgent work call over the holiday weekend.

Adding to the irony of the situation was the launch of an ill-timed ad for the iPhone 5 on New Year’s Day. Featuring tennis pros Serena and Venus Williams, the ad touts the “Do Not Disturb” feature:

Ever had a really cool dream? I’m having one right now. I don’t want to be disturbed. And I won’t because before I went to sleep, I set this. Now my iPhone knows not to ring unless its important. Cause disturbing this would just be…wrong.

Apple has yet to comment publicly on the issue and it is unknown if the problem will self correct after a certain date, as with the 2011 alarm bug, or if it will require a software fix from the company. For now, users are advised to manually enable and disable the feature instead of relying on the scheduled time window.

Access to the “Do Not Disturb” options can be found in Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. Ensure that “Scheduled” is set to “OFF” and then manually enable and disable the feature using the toggle found in the top level of Settings.