The iTunes Store has almost as many alarm clocks as it does to-do apps, so it's difficult to choose the right one. In our tests, we found Wake Alarm Clock to be the best thanks to a good set of features and solid reliability.
Platform: iPhone Price: $3.79 Download Page
- Three alarm styles: slap and flip, shake, and swipe
- Simple interface for setting alarms quickly
- iTunes support for waking up to music
- 12 built-in alarm sounds with additional sounds available via in-app purchase
- Recurring alarms
- Progressive alarms that get louder gradually
- Siri support to set the alarm by voice
- Free, ad-supported version if you don't want to pay
Where It Excels
Wake Alarm Clock manages to capture a lot of the key features from alarm clock apps and roll them into one. The three separate alarm styles and wide variety of alert sounds mean it should work as an alarm for just about everyone. Likewise, the integration with your iTunes library means you can pick songs to wake up to if alert tones and bird chirps aren't your thing. The interface takes some getting used to, but once you do, setting alarms is quick. Most importantly though, Wake Alarm Clock works every time, which is really the only thing you can ask from an alarm clock.
Where It Falls Short
iPhone alarm clocks apps used to suffer from the fact you had to keep them open and running to work, but thankfully, recent versions of iOS have fixed this problem. However, some features, like the "slap and flip" alarm still require that you leave Wake Alarm Clock open and running all night. Thankfully, that alarm style is totally optional, and if you use one of the other two alarms you don't need to worry about it.
Wake Alarm Clock uses a lot of gestures and the interface is pretty minimal. This is great once you get used to it, but it does take a little bit of effort to figure out how to do everything. Once you do, it's quicker to set an alarm with Wake Alarm Clock than most other alarms, but the barrier of entry is still worth noting.
Clock, the built-in app provided by Apple is clearly the biggest competition for Wake Alarm Clock. It doesn't do much more than wake you up, but it's good for people looking for a no-frills alarm.
CARROT Alarm ($3.79) is probably the goofiest alarm clock in the App Store, but it has a robust feature set. Like the other CARROT branded apps, CARROT Alarm adds a little snark into the mundane. It will wake you up just fine, but it will also berate you, make fun of you, and shame you for hitting snooze. There's a game built into it too, so the more often you wake up on time, the better rewards you get. If you really hate waking up in the morning and are looking for a way to make the experience a little more enjoyable, CARROT Alarm is for you.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock ($2.49) and Sleepbot (Free) both use your sleep and motion activity to wake you up in the morning. Instead of placing your phone at your bedside, you put your phone on your bed and the apps monitor your sleep behaviour to wake you up at the optimal time. They also track your sleep behaviours and feature a variety of sounds to wake up to. The downfall of both of these apps is the fact they don't work particularly well if you share the bed with someone or if you don't like having your phone in bed with you.
Rise ($2.49) is similar to Wake Alarm Clock, but with a few less features. The interface is incredibly easy to use so setting alarms is simple, and it also gradually wakes you up to different tones. If Wake Alarm Clock is too feature-rich for you, Rise is worth a look -- but it's only a dollar less.
Wake N Shake Alarm Clock ($1.29) is the perfect alarm clock for people who just can't seem to get out of bed. The premise is simple: to turn the alarm off, you have to shake your phone vigorously. Wake Alarm Clock has an option for this as well, but Wake N Shake has a variety of shake settings that make it so you really have to toss the thing around when needed.