Smartphones

AlarmDroid offers a lot of features for a free Android app

Brandy Courtade takes a look at some of the many features and options available with AlarmDroid, a free Android alarm clock app that goes beyond what you might expect.

Do you hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off in the morning? Do you have to scramble to get ready for work -- or worse, you're late more often than is excusable? I think a lot of people, myself included, could benefit from a more efficient or pleasant wake-up experience, which is why I'd like to talk about AlarmDroid, a free Android alarm clock app that goes beyond what you might expect. Before we get started, here's a quick run-down of the features:

Features

  • Customize ringer
    • Choose phone ringtone
    • Choose mp3 file from your music collection (on your phone)
    • Stream from a radio web site (such as Pandora)
    • Choose a playlist from your music collection
  • Customize snooze options
    • Set ringer duration
    • "Continue in snooze mode"
    • Enable or disable snoozing
    • Set maximum snooze count
    • Set snooze time
    • Set days of the week for each alarm
  • Customize repeating alarm for set days
  • Soft alarm (set the amount of time over which the alarm gets louder)
  • Speaking clock options
  • Arithmetic requirement

As you can see, this app has a lot of goodies. I'll walk you through how to take advantage of these features, but first, let's get it installed.

Installation

  1. Download AlarmDroid from Google Play
  2. Tap Accept & download
  3. Tap Open

You should now see a screen that says "No enabled alarm" in a gray bar at the top with a plus sign on the far right.

Setting a basic alarm

Let's set a basic alarm:

  1. Tap the plus sign at the main screen
  2. Click the checkbox to enable the alarm
  3. If desired, tap Title, type in an alarm title, and click Save
  4. Tap Select time to set the alarm hour, minutes, and AM/PM -- then tap Set
Now, at the main screen, you should see a summary of your alarm (Figure 1). Figure 1

More Time settings options

Now, let's explore AlarmDroid snooze options.

  1. Tap Select snooze time
  2. Set the amount of time between alarms, and then click Set

To have an alarm repeat, follow these steps

  1. Make sure Repeating alarm is selected (see Figure 2), and then tap Select days/weeks
  2. Tap on whichever days you would like to have the alarm go off (by default, all days are selected, so you will actually be disabling specific days)
  3. Alternatively, you can choose odd or even weeks
  4. Tap your back button to return
Figure 2

Miscellaneous

Advanced settings allows you to customize your snooze options, or if you want to get ambitious, you can disable snoozing all together by tapping the Allow snoozing checkbox (by default, it's enabled). Let's try out some other features.

Here's how to program the ringer duration:

  1. Tap Select ringer duration (snooze will start or ringer will stop after a given amount of time, depending on whether you have snooze enabled)
  2. Select the amount of time, and then tap Set

This is how to limit the numbers of times you can hit snooze:

  1. Click Maximum snooze count
  2. Set the amount of times, and then tap Set

These features are particularly handy to keep yourself from sleeping in too late. An even better feature for people who absentmindedly hit snooze is the Arithmetic parameter. All you have to do is tap the checkbox next to Arithmetic problem. You'll now be forced to solve a simple math problem before you can shut off the alarm. As you can imagine, this makes your brain wake up a little, so you're less likely to dismissively hit snooze. However, it's worth noting that there's a known bug with this feature: the first couple of times using it, the alarm does not shut off, even after you solve the problem (you have to re-enter the answer or manually close the app). This may not happen with your device, and you can test it before you actually need to use it. If this issue does occur, simply cycle through a couple of alarms and it should perform as expected from there.

Ringer settings

Next, let's try the soft alarm feature. This allows you to set a period of time over which the alarm will get louder.

  1. Tap Soft alarm
  2. Select the amount of time, and then tap Set

This is more of a pleasantry for those who don't respond well to being woken abruptly.

With AlarmDroid, you can also customize your ringer. Let's try that:

  1. Tap Ring tone
  2. To choose from your phone's ring tones, tap Select a ring tone -- click the one you want, and tap OK
  3. To choose from your phone's music library, tap Select music -- click the one you want, and tap OK
  4. To stream music from a radio web site, tap Internet Stream -- enter the URL of the stream (your Pandora station, for example), and tap Save

Waking up is an important part of the day, arguably the most important. If you don't wake up right, it could throw off your entire day, which quickly affects your work performance. Some of these features, such as restricting your snooze options or the arithmetic constraint, are necessary evils for those who struggle to get themselves up, while other features just make waking up more pleasant.

But what if you want an alarm for something other than waking up, like an upcoming meeting or a specific time you want to start on a project. If you want to use an alarm at work, there are unobtrusive options. You should always start by creating a new alarm. For example:

  1. Tap the plus sign at the alarm summary menu
  2. Select the Enable alarm checkbox
  3. Tap Select Time -- define the time as described earlier, and tap Set
  4. Select Repeating alarm, which will disable it, if it's a one-time use
  5. Tap Ring tone
  6. Tap Volume -- you can lower the volume percentage so it doesn't disrupt or annoy your coworkers, and then click Save
  7. Alternatively, you can enable Vibrate by tapping the checkbox instead of using a ringtone

Make sure that you create a new alarm for those occurrences so that you don't lose all your custom settings for your regular alarm.

What alarms apps have you used in the past? Which ones would you recommend? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Brandy Courtade has spent her whole life tinkering with whatever gadgets and technologies she can get her hands on. She contributes to the IT news analysis site Infoboom and is also a Gadgets Examiner for Examiner.com.

2 comments
HAL 9000
HAL 9000

After all it's primary design is to wake you up in the morning or whatever so it needs to know what Time Zone it's in. Of course the down side is when you are wake up in a bed not your own it will know and your spouse will be able to see who/where you have been sleeping. Let me guess this was written at the request of Divorce Lawyers and will come preloaded on every Droid from now on and be impossible to remove? Ain't Technology Wonderful. :D Col :^0

ewenb
ewenb

Great! Magic stuff, and it's free! But what permissions does it need and are they "intrusive"..? Harry

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