How-To Geek

Three Alternatives to Apple’s Flaky iOS Alarm Clock


If two iPhone alarm failures in less than three months (the Daylight Savings bug and the New Year’s bug) isn’t motivation to grab a 3rd party alarm app, we don’t know what is. Check out these feature-packed replacements for dependable time keeping.

Apple’s had some real trouble with the default iOS alarm clock over the last quarter. In November a bug with DST caused a significant number of alarm clocks to go off an hour late and then an equally significant number of alarm clocks failed to go off in the New Year. Although the alarm clock app was supposed to resume normal functioning by January 3rd it has failed to do so for many people. In light of all that, it’s pretty obvious you can’t trust your iPhone’s alarm clock application. We’ve rounded up some feature-packed alternatives to help you hit the ground running (and on time).

Alarm Clock + (Free)


Alarm Clock + sports a high visibility display coupled with weather updates. Behind the scenes you can adjust the brightness, set your alarm to a music playlist, adjust the alarm volume, and customize your schedule with multiple alarms (one set for the weekdays and one for the weekends, for example). Alarm Clock + also has a handy flashlight function. Pull your device off the dock and give it a shake to turn on the flashlight—perfect for late night trips to the kitchen or bathroom. [View Alarm Clock + in the App Store]

Alarm Clock Pro ($0.99)


If you’re longing for a traditional digital display with some bells and whistles under the hood, Alarm Clock Pro is a perfect match. When your phone is in landscape mode it looks just like an old-school alarm clock but sports lots of extra useful information like the current weather and day of the week. It comes with 11 built in alarm sounds or you can use a custom playlist. As of iOS 4 the alarm works even if you forget to turn the app on and like previously mentioned Alarm Clock + it has a shake-for-flashlight mode. [View Alarm Clock Pro in the App Store]

Sleep Cycle (Free)


If Alarm Clock Pro sticks to the traditional alarm clock format then Sleep Cycle deviates wildly. Instead of blaring out a traditional alarm at the exact moment you’ve set it for (say, 6:30 AM) Sleep Cycle uses the sensors in the iPhone to monitor your sleep patterns and wake you up when you’ll feel most refreshed. For example, if you set the alarm for 7:00AM but your movement indicates that waking you up gently at 6:40 would be best then Sleep Cycle will do so. Sleep Cycle rouses you when you’re in a lighter sleep state, a much gentler way to ease yourself out of bed. [View Sleep Cycle in the App Store]

Have an alarm clock app, free or otherwise, that you swear by? Throw a link to it in the comments and tell us why it’s best alarm clock app around.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/4/11

Comments (8)

  1. SuAlfons

    While Sleep Cycle’s approach is absolutely stunning, I would not place my electronics in the bed. No, not for the radiation….bed site dust is about the smallest you can have in a household. It will likely creep into your phone and maybe even behind the glass of the screen (?!)

  2. blackmacmac

    Thanks, I start to use the free alarm clock

  3. Nathan

    Ive been using Sleep Cycle for a short while now, as long as I get my 8 hours, it does gently wake me up, anything before that and it it forced to wake me up at the maximum time.

    I find the graphs great that analyse your sleep pattern through the night, (excellent sleep walking tracker) ;).


  4. gyffes

    Note: sleep cycle’s not so useful if you have a tempurpedic bed (or anything else that similarly dampens movement).

  5. AnonymousMe

    What ever happended to a good ol REAL alarm clock?

  6. YatriTrivedi

    I hadn’t realized that Sleep Cycle finally updated! Great app, works well for a heavy sleeper like me. :-)

  7. Doug

    I used to live by Sleep Cycle, but unfortunately now I have an annoying bug in my iPhone that causes various apps to crash randomly, including Sleep Cycle during the early hours…not helpful :(

  8. Matthew Guay

    Alarm Clock (the free version of Alarm Clock Pro above) works great on iPad, too. Why in the world they left out several standard apps in iPad iOS, I’ll never know.

    For myself, though, I still use an ancient alarm clock that jars me out of sleep with an annoying electronic beep. Gets the job done, and still works when I knock it off my dresser, so hey! I use alarm apps more during the day to remind me to, say, check a boiling pot in 5min.

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