Your Android phone or iPhone probably doubles as your alarm clock, but it can do so much more than buzz you in the morning. Read on for eight ways to enhance your smartphone’s alarms, from putting them on a schedule to picking the perfect song to wake up to.
1. Set an alarm with your voice
Tapping and swiping your way to your clock app and then dialing up a wake-up time is, by far, the least efficient way to set an alarm on your iOS or Android device.
Instead, give your fingertips a break and just tell your phone when you want to wake up.
For Android phones, tap the microphone in the Google search bar, then say (for example), “Set an alarm for 8 a.m. please.” (You don’t really need to say “please,” but it’s a nice touch.)
For iOS, press and hold the Home key to launch Siri, then say “Set an alarm” and pick a time. Done!
Bonus tip: You can also ask your Android phone or iOS device to turn an existing alarm on or off.
2. Set an alarm from Google desktop search (Android only)
You don’t need to dig up your Android phone to set an alarm. Open your browser, head for Google, then type something like:
Set an alarm for 11am
Google will ask you to confirm the time of your alarm. Once confirmed, just click the link to set the alarm on your Android phone or another of your connected Android devices.
3. Label your alarms
Now that you’ve created a bevy of alarms on your phone, it’s time to get them organized.
On an Android phone, open the Clock app. Make sure the Alarm tab is active, tap the downward arrow just beneath one of your alarms, tap Label, then type any label text you wish.
For iOS, open the Clock app (remember, you can do so using the flick-up Control Center window at the bottom of the screen), tap the Alarm tab, tap Edit, pick an alarm, then tap Label to create a custom label.
4. Put your alarms on a schedule
My phone alarm wakes me up (or tries to, anyway) at 6:30 a.m every weekday–and each and every weeknight, I’ve opened my clock app to set my morning alarm.
But here’s the thing, as I belatedly discovered: There’s actually no need to make sure your daily, weekday or weekend alarms are set before you hit the hay. All you need to do is put them on a schedule.
For Android, tap the downward arrow below any of your alarms, check the Repeat setting, then tap the days of the week you’d like that particular alarm to go off.
For iOS devices, tap the Alarm tab in your Clock app, tap the Edit button, pick an alarm, tap Repeat, then choose the days you want to alarm to buzz.
Bonus tip: Again, don’t be afraid to use voice commands to put your alarms on a schedule. For example, you could tell Google to “wake me up at 8 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.”
5. Turn off the snooze (iOS only)
Here’s an easy way to avoid abusing the snooze button: Just edit an alarm in the iOS Clock app. Open the app, tap the Alarm tab, tap the Edit button, then pick an alarm. Finally, switch off the Snooze setting.
Now the next time your iPhone alarm goes off, you’ll have to put a little more energy into silencing the beeps.
6. Change the length of your snooze (Android only)
The stock Android Clock app doesn’t have an option for disabling the snooze button, but you can do the next-best thing: shorten the length of your snooze to just a minute.
Launch the Clock app, tap the Alarm tab, tap the three-dot menu button in the corner of the screen and tap Settings. Under the Alarms section, tap Snooze length, then flick the wheel to one minute.
Feeling lazy? Then go ahead and set snooze to be as long as 30 minutes.
7. Snooze your alarm with the volume buttons
For those of us still relying on the snooze button, there’s nothing more aggravating than tapping Snooze on the screen of a buzzing handset, only for the alarm to keep buzzing and buzzing. That’s just wrong.
Here’s an easy solution: Use one of the volume buttons to snooze your alarm.
On an Android phone, tap the three-dot Menu button, then tap Settings. Under the Alarm section, tap the Volume buttons setting, then tap Snooze. (You could also set the volume button to dismiss an alarm altogether, but that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?)
On iPhone, too, you can also click a volume button (or the sleep/wake button, for that matter) to snooze an alarm, although there’s no setting for it.
8. Use a song as your alarm (iOS only)
Need something a little more soothing than the nerve-jangling “Alarm” ringtone wake you up in the morning? I don’t blame you.
Of course, you can always just pick another ringtone by tapping the Edit button when viewing your alarms. Pick an alarm, tap Sound, then choose a new ringtone.
Before you do that, though, try this: On the Sound screen, scroll up rather than down. Doing so reveals the Songs section. Tap Pick a song to choose any track in your iTunes music library.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.