Tip o' the Week: It's About Time!

Time.  There's never enough of it, we're always running out of it, we can't make more of it, and we spend loads of cash on devices to help us manage it.  How often do you use your iPhone to help you manage your time better?  Sure, there's a calendar.  But what about the Clock app?  How often do you use it to set alarms?  What about the stopwatch -- only good for timing your running or swimming laps?  

Speaking of time -- it's time for this week's Tip, so take a little of your time now and read on about using your iPhone Clock!

You see that little Clock icon on your iPhone every time you power it up.  If you are like me, you haven't used it much and rely more heavily on the time displayed when you turn on your iPhone, just before sliding to unlock.  Or, you simply take notice of the tiny time display along the top center edge of your iPhone screen.

If you are feeling adventurous, tap on your Clock icon now and take a gander at the four options you are presented with.  By default, the Clock app will open to whatever app you were using last.  So, if you had the Alarm tab open, then that's exactly where you will return the next time you open the Clock app.

Along the bottom, the options available are World Clock, Alarm, Stopwatch, and Timer.  In World Clock, you can add as many locations as you wish.  From Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates to Zurich, Switzerland, you can search for the city you desire and add it to your World Clock list.

As you can see on the right, the World Clock even works up in Canada (just a little tribute to my esteemed colleague, Rene Ritchie).  You get the benefit of both analog and digital.  Military, or 24-hour time, is also displayed if you make that selection in Settings.

If you watch closely, you can observe the red second hand ticking away when you open World Clock.










Now things start getting more fun.  There's nothing quite like the buzzzzzzz of the alarm clock in the morning, eh?  What about using the Alarm feature of your iPhone?  Then, at least you can awaken to the pleasant sound of "Marimba" or the "Bark" of a dog (oh, sorry, your neighbor already helps you with that one?).

Additional options within the Alarm app include Repeat (choose what days of the week the alarm will repeat), Snooze (On or Off), and even the label.  Rather than the plain 'ol generic "Alarm", you can get all fancy-pants and name it whatever you want.  For instance, "Stop Playing WoW and Join Real Life" might be the customization you are looking for.

The Alarm app will allow you to specify the time right down to the minute, so you can be as precise as you want to be.  Like different locations in World Clock, you can add as many Alarms as you wish.

Use Alarm to remind you of important appointments or tasks.  Set the Alarm to remind you to move clothes from the washer to dryer, finish up an appointment, or even drop more money in the parking meter.  Or, just use it to wake you up in the morning.


Moving on to Stopwatch, I'll show you how it just keeps getting better and better.  The Stopwatch keeps time to the tenths of a second (hundredths would have been nice, but how many of us are competitive downhill skiers?).  The Lap feature is nice as well to compare time differences between multiple laps (running, swimming, competitive power walking, etc.).  

Personally, my favorite feature about the Stopwatch is the amount of time and energy it saves me.  How does it save me time and energy, you may be asking?  It's simple.  If you have children that are still young enough to think that being timed for anything is like a game, then the Stopwatch app is invaluable.  "Let's see how fast you can go to the mailbox, get the mail, and bring it back to me!"  Genius.  My hat is off to Jobs-O and company for including Stopwatch.




Finally, last but not least, is the Timer app.  With all of these other options, you might think that all your timekeeping needs can be accomplished with the World Clock, Alarm, and Stopwatch.  This may be true, but the Timer provides a way to specify the number of hours and minutes, then perform a countdown resulting in your choice of sound when the countdown ends.

The number of uses for the Timer is as varied as your creativity.  The Timer is useful if you have a time-sensitive job, like attorney or therapist.  Use the Timer for cooking or as a reminder to feed the parking meter.  The Timer may come in handy if you are a member of the Bomb Squad or, once again, if you have kids that really dig the challenge of getting a glass of water for you before the alarm sounds (this used to work, but my kids are older and wiser now -- ahhh, those were the days).

Thanks again for stopping by for this week's Tip.  Come back next week.  Maybe now you'll think to set an Alarm to remind you to check out the Tip on TiPb.  If you have a tip of your own that you would like to share with the rest of us, please leave a Comment or you can email me at: brian.hart@phonedifferent.com.

Disclaimer:  Tip o' the Week makes no guarantee, express or implied, that any tip found herein will be new or particularly useful to the reader (but you can at least try the Stopwatch or Timer with your kids.  Yes, they may be twenty-five years old, but the eye-candy of the iPhone is hypnotic).

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


← Previously

iPhone 3G in Italy: Pre-Order Now, No Contract Needed!

Next up →

iPhone 3G in Canada: It's What They Don't Say That Might Kill It

Reader comments

Tip o' the Week: It's About Time!


It would have been nice if the timer could do days as well then we could set it for 29 days and watched the countdown to the new iPhone.

One of the best features that I use every day is the timer, and the option to "Sleep iPod" as the action when timer ends. It's a nice thing to fall asleep to music or audiobook and then have it auto sleep.

The alarm clock function on the iPhone rules. Despite the speaker not being loud enough for a phone ringer imho (I use my own MP3s), if I set the alarm sound to "electronic" it scares my pants off and wakes me up no problem. Or you can set it to marimba, and not wake up but have dreams of sunny warm places.

You've found a lot more use for it than I have, but I must say your use of the stopwatch is pretty creative

Why won't the alarm function allow you to select from an iTunes playlist? How about running a macro that would wake up the unit, select Pandora and start playing your favorite station? As is, the alarm function is practically worthless unless you like waking up to the sound of a beep.
Yes the clock is nice, and I've found the worldclock to be a really useful function, but I'd like Apple to take it a step further. Let me replace my old clock radio with an iHome Table Radio. All the brains are in my Touch, so it can provide the clock, iTunes and WiFi radio. Spare me having to purchase yet another overly expensive redundant device (table-top WiFi radio anyone?). Keep the Clock visible whenever docked so the audio unit doesn't need any kind of display at all.
Not only is this solution cheaper, but it saves resources. Isn't that a good thing?

Anybody got any idea why the iPhone resets itself back to January 1970 and 1200 am whenever one plays an audiobook?

Just thought everyone might want to know about this cool app since you were talking about timing your swim workouts. It's called SwimExpress and it records not only laps but every stroke as well. A must have for coaches or parents of swimmers. Available on the app store.

Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks