New version of TimeBuzz released

watchOS & Apple Watch Apps

I just released a new version of TimeBuzz into the Appstore. This v1.1 will now by default immediately start buzzing the current time when it's launched via a complication on the watch face. This was one of the most requested features, also here on the AppleVis forum, so I just wanted to let you know about it. Updates are of course free if you already bought the app in the Appstore:

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Submitted by Greg Wocher on Saturday, January 16, 2016

The time buzzing on launch is not working for me. I went into the watch app on my phone and set it to always so that when I launch the app on the watch it will vuz the time. Even setting it that way the app will not buz out the time when I open it up on the watch.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by Dave Nason on Saturday, January 16, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

It wasn't working for me either, but I discovered it does work if you have Enable Buzz At Start Up option switched on.
However it doesn't seem to be buzzing the time in my selected format.
Either it's the wrong format, or it's cutting off some buzzes at the start. I use the basic pattern. For 6:57 for example, I got 3 buzzes, 5 buzzes, 7 buzzes. I've tried it numerous times and it's just not right when using this feature.

Submitted by TimeBuzz on Saturday, January 16, 2016

It's correct that you have to enable the option "Enable buzz at startup", otherwise the "Immediately buzz the time" will not work either. Unfortunately Apple's setting app does not allow me to hide this option when "Enable buzz at startup" has been disabled as this would make it more clear these settings are depending on each other.

The buzzes should be exactly the same as when you tap on the button manually. It's exactly the same code that runs. We have ran into similar issues during the development of the app though. It seems to be an issue with timing. The difficult part is that when the app asks the watch to do a buzz, the watch will almost instantly return from that call and perform the buzz in the background. Meanwhile the app can not ask the watch to perform another buzz as it will ignore his request. So the app will have to wait until the first buzz has been completed. There's no way of knowing when the buzz has been completed so much testing we came up with some pre-defined delay times for every type of buzz. To make this even more complicated, a buzz is longer and shorter when sound is either turned on or off (a factor which is undetectable by the app).

My guess is that Apple is performing some background tasks immediately after the app has been launched, most likely under the assumption that the user will not immediately interact with an app after launching. These background tasks might possibly delay the background tasks that perform the buzz, causing the app to start the next buzz too soon, hence missing a buzz.

I've personally not experienced this during testing of this specific feature. I did however had some instances where my watch also missed one or a few buzzes during normal buzzing so as part of this new version I also increased the wait time for a single buzz by 50 milliseconds as an extra precaution. Unfortunately it looks like the background tasks performed by Apple seems to cause an even bigger delay.

I will be investigating this some more. I wish Apple would give app developer more control over the taptic engine :-(.

Kind regards,


Submitted by Dave Nason on Saturday, January 16, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Ok makes sense. From what I can tell, it is cutting off exactly 3 buzzes from the hour part every time. Hopefully you'll be able to figure out a way around it.
Really good feature though .

Submitted by paras shah on Sunday, January 17, 2016

When I try to add the time buzz complication to watch, I do not see that complication on my watch. Also, I had the problem of time buzz having issue of not vibrating the time after launch. I deleted the app and re-install.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I have been doing some experimenting with the new feature this morning. What I found is that if I turn voiceover off the new feature works as expected. With voiceover off as soon as I tap on the complication I get the time buzzed correctly. Also with voiceover off when I go to raise my wrist, with time buz being open, it buzzes the correct time. It only seems to be with voiceover running things don't seem to work correctly.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by TimeBuzz on Sunday, February 7, 2016

I've just released TimeBuzz v1.1.1 to the Appstore. As Greg Wocher and several other uses have noticed, VoiceOver was causing the app to not buzz in certain situations. This bugfix version tries to work around that, at least a little bit. We are in contact with Apple about this issue so hopefully we can resolve this fully in a future release. This update solves the problem for I think 95%.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Monday, February 8, 2016

After getting the new release the button that says tap to buz time seems to not be labeled at all. I am using the latest version of watch OS. When I open up the app the button to tap to buz the time does not seem to be there yet if I tap on the center of the screen it buzzes the time as normal.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by TimeBuzz on Thursday, February 11, 2016

In reply to by Greg Wocher

In order to prevent VoiceOver from disabling the Taptic Engine we have to silence it by disabling some of the accessibility features at certain times and re-enabling them again when they are allowed again. We identified a case where this was not working correctly just after you changed to a different buzz pattern. This could cause VoiceOver to not have a label for the button but at the same time also disable the Taptic engine. This has been fixed in the upcoming v1.1.2 release which has just been submitted for review by Apple.