3:05 P.M. UPDATE
A reader named David emailed to point out that other sources, such as 9to5Mac and TechCrunch, reported seeing the push alert in the iPhone XS and iPhone XR handsets, as well. An Apple spokesperson has confirmed that the features are actually a little different this time. So in other words, people’s alarms will chime without their phones turning on.
5:47 P.M. UPDATE We’ve gotten more answers about what’s different about this feature now. Jeff Johnson, head of iPhone hardware engineering at Apple, tweeted: “You’re right: the new lockdown option helps. That’s because you could sometimes be woken from a passcode with the push alert, even though your lock wouldn’t be blocked by that same alert.” He continued: “We messed up, so if it works great, we’ll make it even better.” It looks like Apple is taking our suggestion seriously. We’re keeping an eye on its progress. As we said yesterday, we hope Apple improves this, as we think alarm clocks may actually have more to fix than apps about making girls buy iPhones.
2:45 P.M. UPDATE
We’ve heard several other anecdotal reports from readers about these alarms starting while the phone’s screen is still turned off, including the option to set a lock button trigger. You can set this on your phone’s settings page, which is tucked away in settings. If you press and hold a key, you’ll see several options for turning the alarm on, including “Use on/off when locked” and “Use when locked with this lock key.” This option doesn’t make it clear that a hard press on your iPhone’s button would trigger the alarm. Speaking with Digital Trends, Johnson said this new setting is intended to help people navigate the wake-up process. He said he hoped it’d be easier for users to figure out, without requiring the lock button to be activated by accident. He did not mention what would happen if you forgot the lock button or pressed it accidentally. We’re still keeping an eye on this story.
1:43 P.M. UPDATE “A reliable source has informed me about what is going on with the ringtones and lock button on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. These systems have been changed so that users can dial a long passcode while their phone is still on. The tones are now even louder. Also, there is a flashing touchscreen mute that you can turn on while your phone is off. All of this is much better than what was previously there. It’s still a fun feature to play with and it makes my phone ring dramatically like it will when I wake up. But I was expecting a lot more of a function-over-looked thing, and it definitely appears to be that.” It appears that Apple has been using this sensitive information when informing the security community about its new protocols.