Why iOS Do Not Disturb failed

By , Jan 4, 2013

Do Not Disturb 3

Do Not Disturb (DND), a nifty new feature in iOS 6, has garnered quite a lot unwanted attention when folks on New Year’s Day realized it failed to turn off outside its scheduled time, causing them to miss alerts for phone calls, text messages and more.

As the problem persisted and news of another seemingly time-related iOS glitch made the headlines, Apple carelessly added to the controversy by airing the unfortunately-timed iPhone 5 ad, starring tennis celebrities Serena and Venus Williams and centered around the flawed feature.

Apple in a support doc acknowledged the bug and said it will fix itself  on January 7. But why DND failed in the first place and how will the bug just miraculously fix itself next week?

According to ArsTechnica, this is actually a common pitfall that can happen at the beginning of the new year. It comes down to the known problem dealing with the ISO versus Gregorian calendar.

The ISO week numbering system uses the YYYY format for the year whereas the Gregorian calendar uses the yyyy format. Depending on which week of the year it is, the ISO numbering system uses a date digit with 1 starting on Monday. For example, Tuesday of the 50th week of 2012 translates into 2012-W50-2 in the ISO week format.

The problem comes in when January 1 of the new year ends up falling on a date that doesn’t get along well with the ISO week format. The first day of 2013 started on a Tuesday, whereas (as noted by TUAW) the ISO standard expects the first week of the year to start on “the Monday that contains the first Thursday in January.” In this case, that would be January 7, 2013.

It’s a common problem, per this code sample which replicates the problem online.

What’s really interesting is that Apple warns about this mistake in its own developer documentation, advising programmers to avoid any problems by using the Gregorian calendar system instead.

“In most cases, yyyy and YYYY yield the same number, however they may be different. Typically you should use the calendar year”, the support doc reads.

One developer who spoke with Ars points out that Apple should probably only be looking at the time to turn DND on or off without even taking dates into account at all.

And as to why Apple advised users to be patient for the bug to fix itself and not offer a quick remedy in the form of a minor iOS software update, know that releasing a new code to hundreds of millions of iOS devices in the wild is anything but trivial.

Besides, each iOS software update must be thoroughly tested, which takes weeks. Therefore, Apple opted to wait rather than risk introducing new bugs by hastily putting together an iOS software update.

Nevertheless, it’s genuinely perplexing that Apple itself has fallen prey of this common mistake with the date format, don’t you think?

Maybe the iOS team should read its own documentation more carefully?

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  • http://twitter.com/Tkf530 Tristan

    Idiots.

    • Ivan

      How can you call them idiots? Can you create a feature like that?

      • Tr1pTr0p

        That’s the most retarded argument I’ve ever heard. You should remember that the next time you criticize food, clothing, music or anything else.

      • Ivan

        Whenever I criticize food, clothing, music, etc. I don’t call their “creators” idiots. I just say I don’t like it but not call them “idiots” ;)
        Of course you’re going to defend the one who called Apple idiots for the problem they had with the feature because based on you picture, you’re an android fan.

  • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

    So that’s why that little bastard isn’t working ¬¬

  • Singularity19

    The bug fixes itself because Jan.1 2013 will only happen once..

  • jose castro

    i never really use it.

  • maurid

    Perfect timing. But I wouldn’t get the oh-so-holy Galaxy S3, I’d get the Nexus 4 instead.

    • nima

      Ya, the s3 sucks.
      My phone is very boring without JailBreaK.

      • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

        why do you type JailBreaK? Can’t you just write jailbreak?

      • nima

        Becaz it’s a shortcut I added on my iPhone, I type jb it gives me JailBreaK

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

      nexus 4 is far better then the s3!

      • nima

        No first it’s iPhone then s3 then others

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

        well all have different options like me i think the note 2 is the best phone i dont think theres a best phone but the right phone

      • nima

        Ya YOuR right, it’s based on opinion and what we like…
        But I really like the ios platform it’s very formed and great UI’ed. But unfortunately it has too much security that its hard to JailBreaK and that makes me very disappointed!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

        Agreed

  • http://twitter.com/Tkf530 Tristan

    This wouldn’t have happened with a open source iOS.

    • Richard Servello

      Let me know when you find one, because if you say android, you don’t have a clue and have gobbled up all the pr bs!

  • Kaptivator

    Just wish that you could permanently ignore certain calls in iOS. 1 thing I truly miss about Android is the ability to go to a specific person in your contacts and click “Send to voice mail”. Hopefully iOS can get something like this instead of me having to have 40 ppl in my favorites so 10 ph#’s can go directly to my voice mail. sheesh

    • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

      Kaptivator, I like that idea – I didn’t know Android had that feature! It would be nice to set that as a “default” for all contacts, then select only the people you want to be able to ring your phone (i.e. family, friends) when you enter them in your contact list.

      One thing that also frustrates me about iOS is for Text messages they have a standard feature which includes “silent” as a “ring” tone.

      However, for the phone, they do not include “silent” as a “ring” tone – so, I had to import my own “silent” ring tone to accomplish what should be standard!

      • Kaptivator

        GGD-Now i just have to find a silent ring tone. Yup, Android does have it, or did on the phone I had before I switched to iOS. When I imported my contacts list to iOS, that was the first thing I looked for (send to voice mail). But, I have adapted and will not turn back.

      • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

        I can’t give you the specific URL or else Discus blocks my comment, but if you Google for “mosquito ring tone” you will find it at the top of the results. :-)

      • Kaptivator

        Thanks!! Hopefully the sound does not drive my dog nuts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1342020151 Rohan BluJay Prabhu

      It may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but for each contact you can edit the text and phone alerts to turn vibrate off and, if you have a “silent” ringtone, totally silence their calls to you.

      • Kaptivator

        Thanks!

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Fire Forstall again… ;P

  • O. Bakerman

    I know many programers that know how to do it right… because they failed the first time, including myself.

    Actually I had to fix that same week error for a workmate on two other projects just yesterday.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    REGARDING DND “FAVORITES LIST” BUG…

    Is it just me, or is anybody else with an older iPhone 4 (with current iOS 6x) having issues with the DND not working properly when set to allow the “Favorites List”????

    I loved the idea of DND and that it would allow calls from my Favorites list – however, I have missed many calls from my wife and others that are on my Favorites list when DND is turned on!!! And yes, I have the “Allow Calls From” selected for the Favorites list.

    So, at least for now, I have just turned off the DND feature – disappointed.

    Anybody have issues too? Or, a solution? I’d love to hear it.

  • jabohn

    This article manages to explain why the problem occurred and make it more confusing at the same time. What is YYYY and yyyy and what difference do upper and lowercase Y’s have in the date? If the ISO Standard is wrong then why is it in use or even a standard?

  • nima

    I’m 16 years old and I want to put some cool apps on my iPhone 5, o I forgot I’m not 18 I can’t use a credit card! Instead I will JailBreaK my iPhone 5, oh there is no JailBreaK… Uhh soo I think the only way to get some paid apps and tweaks is for free is android!
    Bye bye iPhone!
    This the story of my life! I really love apple and its past but if it needs to keep up it needs to free up its platform.

    • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

      Use your fucking parrent’s credit card and pay them the money.

      • nima

        U fucking idiot they don’t have CREDIT CARD OR GIFT CARDS IN IRAN!

      • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

        How was I supposed to know you were from Iran? Chill out dude

      • nima

        Becaz I speak Farsi!
        Salam shoma khub hasti? Biya kiramo bokhor

      • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

        But you wrote your comment in english, like wow how the damn fuck? Lol

  • http://twitter.com/amad_ahmed01 Amad

    “The most advanced operating system” my ass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

    iv done already with a note 2 it has a home button so it kinda feels like a iphone ;D

    • nima

      Ya I know and tried it but I love the iPhone platform but unfortunately it’s hard for a JailBreaK.

  • Irfan Tarique

    i just turn my phone off instead of the turning on do not disturb. I would use it, but it never actually worked!

  • Jorge Garcia

    I’ve notice also that my short cuts for messages doesn’t work since this DND bug. Anyone else having this same issue? Im talking about the one’s we create