The portability and convenience of smartphones means that you always have an alarm clock with you, even if you are somewhere without a traditional bedside version, such as when staying in a (cheap) hotel or camping or sleeping on the couch.  Now, you no longer need to call the front desk to ask for a wake-up call, nor do you need to purchase a dedicated clock for your bedroom.  The clock app on your iPhone or iPad or Android is all that you need to wake up on time.

When the alarm goes off at the selected time, you can tap on the Snooze button if you enabled it in the settings screen.  Otherwise, to silence the alarm, you slide the icon that appears.  This will set the alarm to off, and you will have to reenable it the next time you want to set it.  Speaking specifically about Apple iOS devices, it is incredibly easy to set your alarm, or even multiples ones.  On your iPhone, if you tap the clock app, you are presented with four different tabs along the bottom of the screen: World Clock, Alarm, Stopwatch, and Timer.

iPhone alarm screeniPhone alarm settings

Obviously, you tap the Alarm button to access its settings. To add an alarm for a specific time, simply tap the + icon in the top right of the screen, where you are taken to the “Add Alarm” screen.  Here, you set the dial to the time that you want, being sure to select AM or PM as appropriate!  You can also select the alarm sound, which can be any of the default included ringtones, purchased ringtones, or any or your songs on your iPhone.  You can give the alarm a label, such as “Wake up!!!!”, and also set whether it’s a one time thing or you’d like for it to repeat on a given day.  Finally, if you turn Snooze on, this allows you to snooze the alarm when it goes off.  If it’s turned off, when the alarm is cancelled, you’d better be getting out of bed!  When you have all the settings as you want them, tap the blue Save button in the top right corner to return to the previous screen.  Here, you will see the list of all alarms (on or off), and you can click the + button again to add additional alarms as you wish.  On this list, you also can see the labels that you assign to the various times, so if you have a 7:00 AM alarm labeled as “Wake up!!!!”, that is the label that will appear on this screen.

For owners of newer iPhones, specifically the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, you have access to Siri to help you perform several tasks.  One of the things that Siri can do is set an alarm for you.  Using natural language, all you need to do is hold the home button until the Siri interface pops up and chimes at you, and then you simply say something like “set an alarm for 7:30 tomorrow morning” and everything will be taken care of automatically, without you having to go into the clock app at all to play with the settings.  When Siri processes your request, she will tell you what she understood and also give you a visual notification of the time that has been set, and an alarm slider to confirm that it is turned on, while also giving you the opportunity to second guess yourself and turn it off for now.

The iPad also has been recently updated to include it’s own clock app.  It has the same functions as its iPhone counterpart, though the layout is more appropriate for the iPad’s larger screen.  If you follow the instructions above for the iPhone clock app, you shouldn’t have a problem navigating the iPad clock app as well to set an alarm for yourself.

If you want something a little more than the included free clock apps, there are many options available to you in the Apple App Store as well.  Some are free, and some are there to be purchased.  One app that I really like is called Sleep Timer, which I will write more about in a future post.  Basically, it tracks your body movements and attempts to wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep stage.

Android phones and tablets also have a selection of clock apps and alarm functions that you can use, in much the same way that the iOS apps work.

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