Whether you're busy cooking or just want to limit the amount of time you spend on a certain task, timers come in handy for all sorts of things. And the quicker you can set a timer, the more time you'll have to tend to whatever it is you're doing.

timer set as alarm watch siri
The usual go-to for achieving this on Apple Watch is via Siri. Users can ask ‌‌Siri‌‌ to set a timer by holding the watch up to their mouth and making the request. Pressing and holding the Digital Crown will also invoke ‌‌Siri‌, and it should be as simple as saying "set a timer for X minutes."

We say should intentionally here, because based on several recent reports from users, ‌Siri‌ is sometimes interpreting the request to set a timer as a request to set an alarm, which is clearly not what users want.

What appears to be happening is that ‌Siri‌ is often failing to hear the full request for a timer. So instead of hearing "Set a timer for four minutes," ‌Siri‌ is only picking up "Set a timer for four." ‌Siri‌, it seems, is missing the last word.

As a result, the response ‌Siri‌ gives is something like "Timers can't be set for a time of day, so I set your alarm for 4 a.m." In other words, the assistant is creating an alarm instead of a timer and automatically turning it on.

A timer failing to go off can be a genuine problem. But for a user who does not notice ‌Siri‌'s error (especially if they aren't looking at their watch's screen), not only are they not getting the requested timer, they are also likely to be rudely woken in the middle of the night.

How to Avoid Unwanted Alarms

One way to prevent ‌Siri‌ from missing the word "minutes" in your command is to rephrase your request by moving it from the end of the phrase to the middle. So rather than say "Set a timer for four minutes," say "set a four-minute timer" instead. That way, it can't be missed.

It's also worth turning on ‌Siri‌'s spoken response, captions, and the transcription of your speech.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. In the My Watch screen, select Siri -> Siri Responses.
  3. Under "Spoken Responses," tap Always On.
  4. Toggle on the switch next to Always Show Siri Captions.
  5. Toggle on the switch next to Always Show Speech.


These options won't stop ‌Siri‌ from misinterpreting your timer requests as alarm commands. But they should help reduce the chance of you missing the assistant's mistakes until Apple can fix them in a future update.

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

All-New Apple CarPlay Launching Later This Year With These 5 New Features

Friday September 29, 2023 11:29 am PDT by
At WWDC 2022 last year, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple said the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience would be announced in late 2023, but it has still not shared any additional...
BMW Logo iPhone 15 Pro

Warning: BMW Wireless Charging May Break iPhone 15's Apple Pay Chip

Sunday October 1, 2023 6:14 am PDT by
If you have an iPhone 15 and drive a BMW, it might be best to avoid charging the device with the vehicle's wireless charging pad for now. Over the past week, some BMW owners have complained that their iPhone 15's NFC chip no longer works after charging the device with their vehicle's wireless charging pad, according to comments shared on the MacRumors Forums and X, formerly known as Twitter. ...
iPhone 15 Pro lineup

Apple to Address iPhone 15 Pro Overheating Issue With iOS 17 Update

Saturday September 30, 2023 9:28 am PDT by
Apple plans to release an iOS 17 update to address a bug that may contribute to the reported iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max overheating issue, according to a statement the company shared today with MacRumors and Forbes reporter David Phelan. Apple also says some recent updates to third-party apps have overloaded the system and contributed to the overheating issue. The report notes that...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 Details: Action Button, USB-C Port, Face ID, and More

Wednesday September 27, 2023 1:34 pm PDT by
Significant changes are expected to arrive with Apple's fourth-generation iPhone SE, in terms of both design and hardware, MacRumors has learned. The iPhone SE 4, known internally under the codename Ghost, is expected to receive a new design derived almost entirely from the base model iPhone 14. According to our sources, the iPhone SE 4 will use a modified version of the iPhone 14 chassis...
iPhone 16 Side Feature

iPhone 16 and 16 Pro: Preliminary Weights and Dimensions

Friday September 29, 2023 12:34 pm PDT by
MacRumors has obtained preliminary information on the weights and dimensions planned for the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max. The information corroborates previous reports suggesting that the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max will feature larger displays. iPhone 16 and 16 Plus Current information suggests that the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus will maintain the same...
CarPlay SharePlay

CarPlay Not Working for Some iPhone 15 Users, Possibly Because of USB-C Cables

Friday September 29, 2023 2:27 pm PDT by
CarPlay is not working as expected for some iPhone 15 users, an issue that is likely linked to the transition to USB-C. There are multiple complaints from MacRumors readers and Reddit users who are unable to get CarPlay to work with their new devices. Cable type and available port options are a common theme in the CarPlay reports, with many of the functionality problems linked to USB-A to...
iOS 17

Everything New in iOS 17.1 Beta 1

Wednesday September 27, 2023 1:57 pm PDT by
Just a week after releasing iOS 17, Apple has seeded the first beta of iOS 17.1 to developers. iOS 17.1 adds some features that Apple promised were coming to iOS 17 in the future, plus it refines and improves some existing features. This guide covers everything new in the first iOS 17.1 beta. Apple Music Favorites You can favorite songs, albums, playlists, and artists in the iOS 17.1...