This little-known iPhone setting could be the reason why your alarms aren’t working

iPhone alarm interface
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Terang Bulan Gallery)

If you ever want a legitimate excuse to say you’ve missed your alarm, well Apple may have just handed you one, albeit unintentionally. That’s because a bunch of iPhone users are reporting that their phone alarms aren’t going off when they should. 

Over on Reddit, iPhone users have noted that, despite setting alarms on their phones, the actual alarm bell/sound never went off. And apparently, these alarms weren’t set to be recurring, so there shouldn’t have been any reason for them to go silent or reset until they’ve been acknowledged. In these reports, all the alarm does is trigger the screen to turn on, but it offers no sound. 

It would appear that this is an iOS 17 issue, with one Redditor noting it has to do with the ‘Attention Aware’ feature, whereby the iPhone can detect when you're paying attention to it. Seemingly in the cases of these alarms not sounding, it could be down to iPhones on iOS 17 thinking their users are looking at the phone, and therefore not requiring a blaring alarm to get their attention. 

As an iPhone alarm user on iOS 17, I haven't noticed any problems myself. But taking a closer look at my iPhone 13 Pro’s settings, I found that the Attention Aware setting was off – somewhat ironically, I wasn’t aware of the option in the first place, as I don’t think it was ever brought to my attention. 

Arming alarms 

A phone on a blue background showing iOS 17 settings

(Image credit: Future)

The solution to this lack of iPhone alarms is to turn off Attention Aware, which can be found in a couple of places. One of them is in the Voice Control subsection of the Accessibility settings in iOS 17, and the other is the Face ID & Attention menu (above).

But Reddit users also note that switching off the Standby Mode in iPhones, reducing the number of alarms you might have going off close by each other, and switching any custom alarm sound to default ones, can solve the silent alarm issue. 

However, these workarounds aren’t exactly ideal, and I hope Apple can patch over such a flaw in its next iOS 17 update. After all, I can only imagine the excuse of ‘my alarm didn't go off’ will only work a finite number of times with one’s work bosses. 

And if this has put you off iPhones then check out our list of the best Android phones you can get right now. Or take a look at our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra hub to get a feel for what the next big Android flagship phone could bring to the smartphone table. 

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Managing Editor, Mobile Computing

Roland Moore-Colyer is Managing Editor at TechRadar with a focus on phones and tablets, but a general interest in all things tech, especially those with a good story behind them. He can also be found writing about games, computers, and cars when the occasion arrives, and supports with the day-to-day running of TechRadar. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face and a nose for food markets. 

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