Barclays Premier League leaders came in the closing stages of the half when Wayne Rooney, who dropped into midfield, steered a tame shot well off target.
Sir Alex Ferguson's frustration on the touchline was evident and, no doubt, he will have had plenty to say to his troops inside the dressing room. Tom Cleverley replaced Ashley Young but there was still no real urgency in the visitors' play and Wigan continued to look the likelier scorers.
So it was no surprise when, after Jones furiously contested the award of a corner, the set-piece was worked too comfortably between Maloney and Jean Beausejour, with the ex-Celtic man skipping past Rooney and firing an unstoppable curler wide of De Gea.
Although Rooney shot over the bar from long range, there was no major response to the setback. The manager took action by introducing Danny Welbeck and then Nani, but it was at the expense of strikers Javier Hernandez and Rooney, and Ali Al-Habsi remained a bystander.
There was a real let-off for the hosts when Jones' driven centre was clearly handled by Figueroa but the protests were waved away and the defender was in the right place at the right time to clear soon afterwards when Giggs' cross evaded Welbeck in the middle. Caldwell tugged at Welbeck's shirt in the box but escaped the attention of referee Dowd as United grew ever more desperate for a break.
Nani's ambitious volley flew over with 10 minutes remaining but, with Jones struggling to shake off a knock, it needed a De Gea save to keep out Moses after he tricked his way past Rio Ferdinand. Moses passed up another opportunity to clinch the points from a Mohamed Diame pass as Sir Alex's side held on.