Wake Alarm review: Slap around -- and flip off -- your iPhone for a better night's sleep

Wake Alarm is a gorgeous new alarm clock for iPhone that features a beautiful, gesture-filled interface and three different alarm styles: Slap & Flip, Shake, and Swipe. That's right, you must physically slap, flip, or shake your iPhone in order to turn off the alarm or trigger snooze.

With the Slap & Flip mode, you simply slap your iPhone (at the front-facing camera) for snooze, or flip it over to turn off. If you're a heavy sleeper who needs something more, the Shake mode requires you to physically shake your iPhone until the Shake Bar is filled up. And if you prefer something more basic, with Swipe mode, you just swipe up to turn off and swipe down to snooze.

The main screen for Wake alarm is simply a big circle with the time in the center. To set an alarm, you spin the circle. It will automatically cycle through minutes, but tapping the hour in the time will switch to changing the hour. As you move your finger along the circle, the time associated with that location on a clock will be selected. Tapping am/pm will alternate between the two options.

The arrow at the bottom of the alarm creation screen will give access to 12 built-in alarm sounds and the ability to save as a recurring alarm by tapping on the days of the week. Unfortunately, Wake Alarm does not support custom alarm sounds from your music library.

Although it's not the fault of Wake Alarm but of the limitation of iOS SDK, it's important to note that in order for Wake Alarm to work properly, you must leave it running onscreen and charging overnight. Otherwise, you will only receive a notification when your alarm goes off and the built-in gesture-based features to turn off or snooze the alarm will not work.

The good

  • Beautiful design
  • Simple gesture-based UI for setting and interacting with alarms
  • Spin the dial to easily set alarms
  • Create up to 8 repeatable alarms
  • Swipe down to view alarms and pull down to switch them on/off
  • Personalize with 12 exclusive built-in alarm sounds ranging from nice and calm to simply outrageous
  • SLAP & FLIP mode transforms your iPhone into an old-school alarm clock using a virtual Snooze Button; Slap to Snooze or Flip your iPhone to turn off the alarm
  • SHAKE mode forces you to physically shake your phone until the Shake Bar is filled up
  • Choose from 3 difficulty settings in Shake mode
  • Set recurring alarms for any day of the week
  • Progressive alarm sounds that get louder gradually

The bad

  • No custom alarm sounds -- can't use music library

The bottom line

If you're in the market for a new alarm clock and love gesture-based apps, definitely take a look at Wake Alarm. It's beautiful.

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

  • Can't use music library so that's a deal breaker.
  • "in order for Wake Alarm to work properly, you must leave it running onscreen and charging overnight." Say what?!
  • It's an alarm clock. Apple doesn't allow an app to launch itself. And, well, you want it charging so it doesn't die and therefore not wake you up.
  • Hmm, so will this work with Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock? Sleep Cycle will run in the background, but if this app runs in the background I would leave it there as it would be my backup alarm if I fall asleep again after using Sleep Cycle. I don't much care for the stock Apple alarm clock.
  • If it cannot access the music library then it shouldn't be priced more than $1.
  • I've been trying it and it's useless for me. One thing to note is that when you leave it running on screen and turn the Do not disturb feature overnight, it will not work, and you will receive every single push notification with sounds. Sent an email to developer and the only workaround is to open the app, and lock the screen, which is a bummer since when the alarm sounds, you will have to unlock your phone and then slap into it to snooze.
  • Worst thing about ios imo is that alarms dont function properly. I used to use shake n wake but the newest update removed multiple alarms, and also removed the ability to run in the background. Now its like this app where it has to be on screen to function. It cannot be my second alarm, and must be my first alarm as it seems only the default ios alarm can be my second alarm that functions properly. Jailbreak for math alarm! only alarm clock Ive found which allows multiple alarms (default ios alarm app) and still add difficulty to turning off alarm (also removed snooze option).
  • I suspect I would launch it across the room!
  • From these comments, I'll just stick with Sleep Cycle. It also needs to stay open all night, you flip your phone over and it turns the screen dark but it's still on.
  • Thanks for the great review Leanna! @ups925 - You're right! There's a few restrictions that 3rd party alarm clock apps have to work around with iOS. Hopefully things will ease up a beat with iOS 7. Generally alarm apps like Wake can run in the background but you have to make sure that you don't mute or put your phone on do not disturb if you want to run in it in the background. If you like to mute or put your phone on DND overnight then you have to make sure that you leave Wake in the foreground (i.e. make sure it's the last app you use).