One feature that our smartphones excel at is keeping time. They come preloaded with various timekeeping tools including a digital stopwatch, egg timer, and even an alarm clock. It doesn’t matter whether you’re partial to iPhones, Android or another device entirely. Pretty much all smartphones offer these features baked into the OS.
However, the default alarm clock and timekeeping tools are minimal at best. There are dozens — nay hundreds — of third party applications available that offer more advanced and convenient timekeeping features.
1. Puzzle Alarm Clock
Puzzle Alarm Clock — available for Android devices — is a unique alarm app that makes you solve a puzzle to deactivate the morning alarm. Why, you ask? It’s for heavy sleepers that would otherwise doze through a loud alarm, or just hit the snooze button while half awake. By forcing you to focus and solve a puzzle, the app is inherently making you wake up and start your day.
This is just one example of how third party apps enhance the standard alarm clock and timekeeping experience. Here are 6 other alarm clock apps that do the same.
2. Timely Alarm Clock for Android
For starters, Timely Alarm Clock is absolutely stunning. It’s extremely customizable and you can change the color and style of the interface at any time. Not to mention, there are multiple tools packed into this one app. It includes an alarm clock, timer, and a stopwatch.
In addition, you can put the application into a demo-like mode where it displays an attractive analog clock. While in clock mode, you can configure it so the screen stays on and dimmed just enough to show the time.
The best part is that it’s completely free to download and install — and there are no microtransactions and in-app purchases to ruin the experience.
3. Wake Alarm Clock for iPhone (No longer available)
If you like to keep things simple, Wake Alarm Clock is the app for you. It doesn’t boast a whole ton of features, but that’s okay: the allure is in the minimal functionality and style of the app.
Once active, the app sets up a customizable alarm that remains on the screen until it is disabled. You can choose three different ways to turn off the alarm in the morning. You can either shake your phone to turn off the alarm, slap the display to snooze it, or flip the iPhone face down to disable it completely.
If you’re afraid you can activate the disable mode too easily while you’re half asleep, you can crank up the difficulty. In other words, you can make absolutely sure that you wake up in the morning and don’t ignore your alarm.
The app is normally $3.99, but right now it’s free to download and install.
4. Alarmy for Android and iPhone
Alarmy is another great app for heavy sleepers that want to make sure they’re up and moving in the morning. When you set an alarm, you have to designate the location of a particular area of your house or apartment. In the morning, when the alarm goes off, you then need to snap a photo of that location to turn it off.
One example the creators of the app have given is to set your bathroom sink as a location. That way, in the morning you have to get up and go to your bathroom to snap the photo.
A unique feature of Alarmy is that you can use custom music as your alarm tone. Yes, that means if you want to wake up to “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred you can certainly do that.
Alarmy is either free or $1.99 depending on which version you choose.
5. Sleep as Android
Sleep as Android is more than just an alarm clock application. It also tracks your sleeping patterns during the night. It also monitors your sleep levels and wakes you up “gently [at the] optimal moment for pleasant mornings.”
Once you set the alarm, you simply place your phone on your mattress next to you. By using your device’s accelerometer, it will keep track of your sleep habits and movements, converting all the data collected into a neat trace graph.
Supposedly, the app can also detect when you’re snoring or talking in your sleep and will record the latter and stop the former with a unique “anti-snoring signal.”
There are also other features, like a multi-challenge mode to make sure you’re awake before disabling the alarm, Philips HUE smart-bulb connectivity, Pebble and Android Wear support and much more.
Sleep as Android is available for free.
6. CARROT Alarm for iPhone
If you’re not creeped out by voice assistant apps like Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft’s Cortana, then CARROT Alarm is right up your alley. Instead of an annoying tone or blaring music to wake you up, you’ll be greeted by a “hilariously twisted AI construct who wants nothing more than for you to get out of bed every morning.”
According to the developers, the AI will “bribe you with ice cream for breakfast or threaten to kill a kitten if you hit the snooze button again.” Just what we all need to make sure we get our butts out of bed in the morning, right?
Of course, the idea behind the CARROT AI is not to scare you or creep you out, it’s to make waking up “fun.”
CARROT Alarm is only $2.99.
BONUS TIP: Sleep Cycle for iPhone
Android owners have Sleep as Android to track their sleeping patterns, so naturally it makes sense to talk about a similar app for iPhone users. Queue the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app, which promises to “wake you up in your lightest sleep phase.”
After setting your alarm, simply place your iPhone on your mattress next to you. Throughout the night, it will analyze your sleep and then wake you up at the specified time, except it will do so at the most opportune moment — when you’re in a light sleeping cycle.
In the morning, you can look back at the data collected while you slept to find out what was going on. If you’re having trouble sleeping or find yourself tired in the morning, you can now get a better understanding of why your sleeping habits suffer.
Sleep Cycle is only $0.99, so there’s no reason not to give it a try.
What sleep app is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.