iOS: If you listen to podcasts in the morning, maybe you should jump right into one from the moment you wake up. Next Up synchs with Apple’s Podcasts app to turn your favourite podcast into your alarm clock.
I’m against using your favourite music as an alarm, because you’ll associate the song with stress. But unlike music, you usually listen to a podcast just once. And as your chosen show gets your attention, you can move past “ugh what is consciousness” mode and start absorbing information (if Comedy Bang! Bang! counts as “information”).
Next Up is slick and well-executed. It has several options for finessing your alarm, repeating it on certain days, tying the alarm volume to your phone volume, and choosing your play order.
If your podcast doesn’t load, or doesn’t have a new episode, the app has backup sounds, sorted by calm vs. abrasive vs. “eclectic.” The app also includes a simple white noise player and a selection of recommended wake-up podcasts.
There’s one big limitation: The app doesn’t integrate with third-party podcast apps, or let you directly subscribe to podcasts. It only uses podcasts that you’ve subscribed to in the Apple Podcasts app.
If you usually get your podcasts through a different app, the setup will feel a little awkward. It works best if you stick to a couple of specific podcasts to always be your morning alarm, rather than jumping between many shows.
You’ll need to change one weird setting as soon as you start using the app. Under the Settings tab, tap Alarm Activation at the top, and switch from Default to Always Activated. (In default mode, you have to tap your alarm the night before to activate it. That’s a bad default behaviour for an alarm.)
Other than that, this is everything I’d want to see from a podcast alarm clock. But I’m sure you creative wakers will think of a feature worth adding.