Sweet, sweet sleep. There’s nothing better. Stretching out after a long, luscious lie-in is one of life’s greatest and rarest pleasures (seriously, to all the students out there, enjoy that while you can.) Of course, in our modern, busy, daily life we can’t afford the luxury of waking up naturally. Pah! We’ve got a commute to […]

Sweet, sweet sleep. There’s nothing better. Stretching out after a long, luscious lie-in is one of life’s greatest and rarest pleasures (seriously, to all the students out there, enjoy that while you can.) Of course, in our modern, busy, daily life we can’t afford the luxury of waking up naturally. Pah! We’ve got a commute to endure, or cereal to eat. We’re always obsessing over when we wake up, but how many of us are considering how we wake up?

In a recent survey, we asked iPhone users whether they tracked their sleep. The majority of snooze-analysts, were, interestingly, aged 18-24. In fact, we discovered that young people are pretty obsessed with tracking their life full stop – whether that’s finances, fitness or even food.

Sleep is a really fascinating one, though. Free iPhone apps like Sleep Cycle measure the quality of your sleep using extremely sensitive sound sensors, and can even feed back insights about what could be affecting your sleep. It can also act as an alarm, chiming gently at the point when you’re closest to wakefulness.

With iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X , iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iOS 10, you can also get a similar Bedtime feature, found as a new tab in the Clock app. Set reminders for your bedtime, keep track of how many hours you’re getting and adjust the volume of your alarm separately to the rest of your phone (finally!)

Speaking of alarms – they’re important too. Naturally, you want them to do the job of pulling you out of your slumbersome state, but if they make you feel panicked or stressed you’re not getting your day off to the best start. All that sleep analysis was for nothing!

iOS 10 has a bangin’ new feature which allows you to use any song from your iTunes as an alarm, but if you’re a purist, we’ve done you a solid and reviewed every single one of the new new iPhone ringtones and alarms based on comfort (will they make you wake up with a smile) and ‘wakeability’ (will they get you out of bed in less than 8 minutes).

We strongly suggest you make this a multimedia experience and play along as you go.





The default alarm for iPhone 6 and beyond. It feels like it should be a reassuring submarine noise but, in fact, it sounds like tiny beeping bullets reverberating in your brain. In a familiar kind of way. If that’s possible.

Comfort: For familiarity 6/10

Wakeability: 6/10





Imagine a synth bouncing off mirrors indefinitely. Enough to propel you into an existential crisis, but you’ll definitely wake up.

Comfort: 4/10

Wakeability: 7/10




The word ‘beacon’ connotes lighthouses, safety, leadership. This, however, does not sound like a lighthouse, it sounds like a robot trying to blow a raspberry. Which is actually pretty cute, but not strong enough to contend with what’s going on in our dreams.

Comfort: 6/10

Wakeability: 3/10





Like multiple phones going off at once, this has a useful mild panic about it, while also managing to be quite understated and respectful. Good if you’re a light sleeper.

Comfort: 7/10

Wakeability: 4/10


By The Seaside



If Southend was a ringtone, this would be it. Imagine an old man eating candy floss next to a deck chair, watching a Punch and Judy show, covered in fish and chips. Hilarious to wake up to. One of the best.

Comfort: 9/10 – loses a point for being a bit sinister

Wakeability: 7/10





Here’s a scenario that fits this alarm: It’s 3pm and you stretch out from a long nap. You’re in Morocco and a yellowish light streams in through a gap in the heavy curtains. It’s hot, the street noise fills your consciousness, as does the gentle sound of chimes. Not one for urgently getting to your 9am meeting early. Great as a nap interrupter.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability:  2





It really does go round and round in circles, this one. It’s a bit relentless, and very fast. Might whoosh you into action though, if you’ve got a need for speed.

Comfort: 2

Wakeability: 7





This feels very much like the beginning to an Ellie Goulding song, or a bit like the music in Stranger Things when something whimsical and magical is happening. Not sure it would wake anyone up though, it’s far too dreamy.

Comfort: 9

Wakeability: 2





Like tiny cute space bugs popping. 99% sure this was designed as a notification noise.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability: 0





Against the odds, this one works quite well. It’s like audio lace but is interesting and structureless enough to cut through the fog of sleep. A solid option if you want to be avant garde with your alarm choices.

Comfort: 6

Wakeability: 7





Imagine an ant drilling the foundations for a microscopic house. Probably another notification sound.

Comfort: 2

Wakeability: 2





As the name suggests, if a torch could have a noise, it would be this. Not sure it has enough personality to warrant any feeling, sadly. Best kept as a text tone, or maybe the sound you make as you send an email instead of that whooshing noise.

Comfort: 1

Wakeability: 1


Night Owl


A tooting, hooting night owl singing along to some kind of techno. Think: nocturnal animal meets Four Tet in East London. Use if you want to feel pumped, or if you’re planning to wake up from a nap at 4am.

Comfort: 5

Wakeability: 7





This is the ringtone song. If you have this as an alarm, you’re a psychopath / the only thing that could rouse you from your sleep is the thought that someone is actually calling you. Actually, that’s pretty clever.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability: 10





We’re not entirely sure why the aptly-named Playtime ringtone would be used as an alarm. It quite genuinely sounds like filler music between CBBC programs, but for that reason, is strangely comforting.

Comfort: 7

Wakeability: 4





If old-school traditional alarm clocks that actually ring and vibrate off the table are your thing, this is the one for you.

Comfort: 4

Wakeability: 9





More dreamy space noises, this time sounding a bit like an 80s synth solo. Yes, it’s a little bit amazing, and a total curve ball. We’d hazard a guess that most people don’t know about this one.

Comfort: 9

Wakeability: 9





Imagine sitting in a tranquil garden in Kyoto, watching the cherry blossoms fall into a lake. It’s so nice, but, is it going to make you go “I should probably wake up and face the reality of my life.” No it’s not.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability: 0





For some reason, this sounds a bit like old school Playstation games – Crash Bandicoot era. It makes us think of scoring points and beating personal bests. But in a tropical festival kind of way. Pretty rousing. Strong contender.

Comfort: 8

Wakeability: 8





Never have we heard a noise less suited to being an alarm. Like an electronic whisper or a tiny mewing sound from a newborn cat. Assign it to text, or forget it.

Comfort: 0

Wakeability: 0





Does anyone else think this sounds like an amazing intro to a new Drake song? This one is legitimately catchy, but will the novelty wear off over time? Possibly. Maybe use it as a special iPhone alarm.

Comfort: 6

Wakeability: 5


Slow Rise



This little ditty feels instantly familiar – is this a remake of an old iPhone ringtone? Who knows. It’s gentle, respectful, resistant. For the person who wants a non-invasive alarm, This could be the one.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability: 5





This one is so short that the repetitiveness of the bleeping arpeggio would get you out of bed due to pure anger.

Comfort: 0

Wakeability: 9



(Play video from 5:14 to listen)

The generic electro 90s refrain here has a genuinely hilarious unique twist, melodic birds. There’s something so weirdly charming and deeply funny about hearing birds sing along to a ringtone that the bizarreness makes it a winner.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability: 7



Is…this Mariah Carey? Is…it Christmas? Maybe not, but every day will have a festive feeling. We have a feeling this is a bit of a marmite choice.

Comfort: 1 or 10, depending on your personality

Wakeability: 5



The name here suggests that you’re meant to feel cheerful when you hear this song. We kinda get it, actually, it’s got a kind of ‘everything is going to be ok, even though you forgot to send that powerpoint to your boss’ vibe. Win.

Comfort: 10

Wakeability: 7



Thing about waves is that they’re kinda relentless. They just keep going. That’s what you need in an alarm – a refusal to give up. Like a good friend that you’re angry with for doing the right thing.

Comfort: 5

Wakeability: 9


Honorary mentions from the ‘Classic’ collection:


Alarm: Oh, that honking fog horn. There’s nothing quite like this as your emergency 8.55am GET UP NOW OR GET FIRED alarm.

Bark: The alarm choice of people who can literally only get into a wakeful state from genuine fear of being attacked by a beast. An iPhone classic.

Bell Tower: Does it make anyone else feel like they’re getting married that day? That’s a good reason to jump out of bed, surely. Disappointing when you realise it’s not true, though.

Robot: Is the guy saying something? It sounds like “Wama-wameter WAHH start the truck” but that makes no sense. Answers on a postcard please.

Main image credit: Via Pexels