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Alarm bells ring silently for iPhone users on iOS 17 (updated)

It’s not just you, iPhone users are waking up to silent alarms. We might have found a temporary fix while Apple fixes this bug.

The user interacts with an iphone touchscreen
Image: KnowTechie

UPDATE 12/30/2023: The iPhone alarm issue is reportedly due to the “Attention Aware” feature, which lowers the alarm volume when it detects the user looking at the screen. If the phone charges overnight, it may mistakenly think it’s being watched and silence the alarm. Turning off “Attention Aware Features” in settings can remedy this.

You may have found yourself snoozing past your iPhone’s alarm more than usual lately, and no, it’s not due to your cozy, warm blankets.

Users across various models, from the iPhone XR to the iPhone 15, seem to be caught in a never-ending loop of confusion when it comes to this particular iOS 17 mystery.

Alarms are going off, but instead of waking the user up with bells and whistles and the usual sudden panic of waking up, the alarms are completely silent.

See, it’s not just you.

According to Android Authority, folks are coming out of the woodwork, including classmates, coworkers, and even my own mother, are going online to express their frustrations with this issue.

Did Apple break alarm sounds in iOS?

screenshot of ios alarm menu
Image: KnowTechie

It looks like silent alarms in iOS is a common problem affecting a wide range of people.

Naturally, everyone has a solution with potential fixes, from turning off attention-aware features to reverting to those classic alarm tones that can wake up a hibernating bear.

And for those who treat their alarm list like a social media feed, maybe it’s time for a little unfollow spree, as too many alarms could be the party pooper here.

Apple has yet to chime in on the matter. Meanwhile, the Reddit subreddits have been tuning their instruments, speculating, and workaround-sharing like it’s going out of style. Some even argue that this issue dates back to iOS 15.4.

But what’s the bigger story here? What the hell is going on? Simple features like alarms should not be broken, especially when the device it lives on is capable of so much.

One of the team has been suffering with this issue, and might have found a workaround. Open the alarm you usually use and move the volume slider. For some reason this got his alarm making sound again.

screenshot of creating an alarm on ios 16
Image: KnowTechie

As we await a fix, it’s a nudge to remember that sometimes, the smallest cogs in our digital clockwork can cause the most significant hiccups.

Keep an ear out for the iOS update that might patch up this silent night (or morning). And maybe, just for now, dust off that old digital alarm clock you banished to your drawer of forgotten gadgets.

UPDATE 12/30/2023: The issue is believed to be caused by a feature called “Attention Aware.” This feature uses the phone’s camera to check if the user is looking at the screen and reduces the volume or doesn’t dim the screen, believing alerts are not needed.

The theory is that the phone while charging overnight, thinks it’s being watched. Hence, it doesn’t fully sound the alarms. To fix this, users can turn off “Attention Aware Features” in the settings.

To disable the “Attention Aware” features, open the Settings app, tap Face ID & Passcode, and then disable Attention Aware Features.

attention aware setting on an iphone over a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Some users have also found that disabling “Standby Mode” on iPhone 15 models, a feature that allows the phone to act as a smart display while charging, resolves the issue—this may be disrupting alarms for some.

While Apple hasn’t officially commented on these issues, deactivating these features seems to have solved the alarm problems for iOS 17 users who’ve been missing their wake-up calls due to their phones mistakenly silencing alerts.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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