Timers vs. Alarms

That is very much not what I want.

Today in stupid Siri bugs, let’s have a look at failed timers. When last I wrote about timers, it was to grouse that the iPhone is incapable of running two timers at once. The Apple Watch, however, is a precision timekeeping device. It’s more capable, and has mastered the science of running two (or more) timers at once. Wow!

Unfortunately, if Siri fails to hear the full command for a timer, things go rather wrong. Recently, I wanted to set a timer for three minutes. I said exactly that to my Apple Watch: “Set a timer for three minutes”. However, it seems Siri missed the last word. This was the result:

A two part message. Part 1: “Set a timer for
three”; Part 2: “Timers can't be set for a time of day, so I set your alarm for 3 AM.”

This is a truly terrible automatic behavior. Because it didn’t hear my full command, the system created an undesired alarm and defaulted it to on. If I’d failed to notice this error, I would both not have been alerted when three minutes had passed, and been woken up rudely in the middle of the night. That’s not great.

Rather than assuming I don’t understand the difference between timers and alarms, it would clearly be better for Siri to ask a clarifying question.