Mornings can be a battle between your need-to-do stuff today and wanting to sleep for an extra four hours. And sometimes, your regular alarm clock just isn’t enough to get you up, so it’s great that the App Store has some great alarm clock apps that go a bit further when it comes to waking you.
Update, 3/16/22: Verified links and content up to date.
While alarm apps are pretty simple, there’s still plenty to look at when it comes to picking the best one for you.
- Multiple Alarms: This is a basic one that every alarm app should include. Being able to set alarms at once for different times, on different days, is a basic yet useful feature. All the apps here support multiple alarms, and using an app without this isn’t going to get you far.
- Snoozing: This is another simple feature that most, if not all, alarm clocks will have; however, there’s is more to a snooze mode than just a simple toggle. Deeper options like a snooze limit that, once reached, will disable the use of snooze, adjustable snooze intervals, and even a delayed snooze mode that waits until after you’ve disabled the alarm to ensure you’re actually up. All of these things can make sure the snooze mode works towards actually getting you out of bed.
- Sound Options: You might grow to dislike any sound you use for your alarm, so you should have more control over what that sound can be. While Apple provides a selection of preinstalled alarm tones on your phone, an app including its own alarm tones—whether they’re obnoxious or calming—is a great option to have. Being able to adjust how loud those tones are and whether or not the alarm uses vibrations is also useful. Some apps even allow you to use your own music and sound effects if you already have something in mind.
- Wakeup Challenges: Sometimes, you need an extra kick in the morning to actually get out of bed, and that’s where wakeup challenges can be useful. Any apps that include such a feature essentially require you to complete various tasks before the alarm can be disabled. To complete a task, you might need to do something like take a picture, solve a math problem, shake your phone, or get up and walk a certain number of steps. If you’re a deep sleeper and have trouble staying awake even after the alarm goes off, these can help get you up and moving.
- Pricing: Few apps are completely free, so expect to pay something for most of the apps on this list. While they’re all free to download, getting rid of ads or unlocking premium features might require an upgrade purchase. We’ll detail how much each app’s optional purchases cost and what they do, and if anything is subscription-based we’ll make special note of that as well.
When it comes to features, Alarmy covers all the bases. Sure, you can set standard alarms, adjust the snooze periods, and access a large library of alarm sounds (including some extra loud ones), but what really makes Alarmy so useful are the “Missions” you can set alongside the alarm. These require you to perform certain tasks before the alarm turns off, ensuring you’re actually awake and not going to plop down on the pillow again. Plus, there are plenty of styles to choose from, like taking a picture, scanning a QR code, memory challenges, and solving math problems.
A few of the premium features also help out with this, but you’ll need to pay for Alarmy Premium which costs $4.99 a month (you can also use the app for free, but it will have ads). This service comes with “Wake-up Checks,” which is a more advanced snooze that pings you multiple times to make sure you’re still awake, and even more Missions (like the “Steps” mission that requires you to walk a certain number of steps).
But whether you’re using the Premium or standard version, Alarmy comes with a robust tool kit that’s sure to get the deepest sleepers out of bed on time.
If you don’t need anything fancy in the morning, Alarm Clock for Me offers a simple design with enough practical features to be worth downloading. You can add notes and the weather to the alarm screen each morning, wake up to music or the standard alarm tones, and add tasks to the alarm such as math problems. The efficient design ties this all together wonderfully and the app is completely free to use, so there’s no reason not to try this one out.
If you really struggle with sleeping through your alarm, Loud Alarm Clock aims to jolt you out of bed no matter what. With a variety of irritating, volume-boosted noises from standard alarm tones to more annoying alarms like nails on a chalkboard, this app should have at least one noise that gets you up. And if you’re concerned about somehow getting used to whichever noise you choose, you can always set it to randomize the noise it uses each morning. Heavy sleepers can also set a limit of how many snoozes can be used (up to 10), or opt to disable snoozing outright for those wanting to be strict.
If you want to get rid of ads or wake up to your own music, then all you need to do is purchase the “Super Sleeper” package in the App Store. This will unlock the Premium version for $3.99.
Sleep Cycle takes things a step further than the standard alarm clock app. This app tracks your sleep just as well as it snaps you out of it; it notes how long you slept, how well you slept, and even how often you snore. You can then access all of this data on the app and see how your sleeping habits progress over time. To track this information, you’ll need to place your phone on your nightstand or another nearby surface; if you want more accurate results, however, you can opt to wear an Apple Watch while you sleep as well.
The actual alarm clock makes use of this information as well. You can set a range of up to 90 minutes (this feature is only in the Premium version) for the alarm to wake you, and the app will detect when you’re not in deep sleep to actually trigger the alarm. And because you’ll be in a light sleep when the alarm is triggered, you can use one of the app’s pleasant alarm melodies instead of a harsh, standard alarm tone.
You can download Sleep Cycle for free, but you’ll be missing out on worldwide data comparisons, wake-up ranges, snore tracking, heart rate monitoring, and other features only found in the Premium version. Premium starts at $29.99 per year, and if you’re serious about sleep tracking, it’s certainly worth it for the extra features and data.
Sometimes the best option is the one you already have, and there’s no denying Apple’s Bedtime app is excellent. It performs sleep tracking either through your phone or Apple Watch, and you can view how long and well you slept in the Bedtime app. Bedtime wants to make sure you’re sleeping as well as possible, so it helps you set a bedtime and wake-up time that best fits your schedule and body. If you want some simple sleep tracking for no added charge, Bedtime really is the best option.
Bedtime can use either your phone or Apple Watch when it comes to monitoring your sleep. The Apple Watch does provide more accurate results, but if that’s not an option just make sure your phone is on a flat surface near your bed (like a nightstand). And the best part is that Bedtime is already installed on your phone right now, so go use it.
Spin Alarm Clock offers a unique way to get you out of bed in the morning. Rather than solving math problems or walking around, it requires you to spin in place to disable the alarm. You can disable the snooze button so you only have one option to shut up your device—even if it makes you a little dizzy. It’s a unique if simple concept, but one that’s certainly worth trying out if nothing else is working for you. And the app covers the alarm clock basics well with a solid selection of options for the alarm (like adding the weather and notes to the alarm screen) and an uncomplicated design.
The app is free to download, but if you want to get rid of the ads and use your own music as the alarms, then you’ll need to purchase the $3.99 premium version from the in-app store.
AlarmMon is different from the other apps here; while the standard alarm has features like snoozing, choosing from a variety of tones, and adding memos to alarms are all here, AlarmMon goes a bit further in the presentation department. Every aspect of the app has fun and cartoony animations accompanying it, from setting up an alarm to disabling one. When you first open the app, you’ll get to choose which one of the various characters the app will be themed around. Every character has a different game attached to them (which can range from brief rhythm games to math problems), which is what you’ll be playing every morning to disable the alarm—so choose wisely.
It’s a fun alternative to a standard alarm clock app, even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There is a free version of the app, but getting rid of ads costs $0.99 every 30 days or $8.99 a year. There are also some additional characters you can purchase from the in-app store.