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If you’re a stranger to Awaken, let me tell you what it does. Basically, Awaken is a simple application which sets alarms to either pause or play your iTunes. It’s extremely useful if you’d like to wake up to some funky songs in the morning; or to go bed with soothing music in the background, knowing that your Mac will turn itself off when the time is right. Sounds like a great application, doesn’t it? The only problem is: it costs $12.95. I’m not a cheap person but I’m still not willing pay $13 just to have some music played to me in the morning or before I go to bed.

So I’ve found 3 little gems which does around the same thing. They might not be as fully-loaded as Awaken, but they still do the job and they are free!

1. iTunes Alarm

iTunes Alarm is one of the most recommended applications for those who can’t afford Awaken. The concept is the same. If you want to play some music before you go off to bed, click on “Sleep” and it will ask for the amount of time before it puts your Mac into sleep mode. That’s the quick method. If you’d rather just pause iTunes, a new ‘Stop’ alarm has to be created.

iTunes Alarm

You may create an unlimited number of alarms, of which they may be set to repeat on any day of the week. With each alarm that starts to play iTunes, you can set a ‘Snooze’ period of your liking, the volume level that the music plays at; and the playlist from which to play the music (or you may set it to play songs at random).

iTunes Alarm has to be open in order to be able to play/pause your music. So if you accidentally quit the application, you might miss your alarm (and be late for work – yikes!). Plus if you set your Mac to sleep after the timer has run out, iTunes Alarm has the ability to wake it to play your next alarm. Pretty cool stuff.


2. iTaf

Another alternative is iTaf. The application is only slightly different from iTunes Alarm. Every alarm event which you create starts playing from iTunes and can be set to stop playing after a certain period of time. So, instead of hitting the ‘Snooze’ or ‘Stop’ button to turn your music off, you can enjoy it while getting dressed in the morning and leave for work without bothering about it. iTaf will then automatically pause iTunes and sleep itself (or shut down) after the time frame has elapsed.

iTaf Alarm

One thing that puts iTaf above iTunes Alarm is the ability to shut down your Mac. It also has more superior scheduling options like setting a single day off from a weekly alarm (comes in handy when it’s your birthday and you don’t want to be woken up!)


3. iTunesTimer Widget

Lastly, iTunesTimer is a bare-bone, simple Dashboard widget which can only start playing your iTunes, pause it or sleep your Mac. It is a one off timer which doesn’t have any scheduling function and it doesn’t repeat or snooze. You control how long you want to play your music with the slider, which is not very accurate (I couldn’t get the timer to set at 10 minutes) but I guess that’s not very important. The catch with this little gem is its simplicity.

iTunes Timer Widget

I also wrote about Snooze Dashboard Widgets You Can't Live Without [Mac Only] Dashboard Widgets You Can't Live Without [Mac Only] Read More in my article “Dashboard Widgets You Can’t Live Without Dashboard Widgets You Can't Live Without [Mac Only] Dashboard Widgets You Can't Live Without [Mac Only] Read More “. All it does is basically sleeps my Mac when the time is up. Actually, it’s got no music function, but I just wanted to add it in as an option.

If you’re a Windows user, Aibek wrote an article about addons for your iTunes 13 Addons iTunes Users should Know About 13 Addons iTunes Users should Know About Read More , although sadly, alarms are not one of them. If you’re looking for an alternative to iTunes, here’s Mark’s article about Songbird Move Over iTunes - Mozilla's Songbird is Here Move Over iTunes - Mozilla's Songbird is Here Read More .

(By) Jackson Chung is a full-time medical student attempting to perform a juggling act with relationship, studies and his future.

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  1. derek
    December 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    i, personally, use Alarm Clock 2... incredibly simple program that runs from the menu bar... free, compact, easy to use...

  2. tHeSoul
    August 5, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Are there similar programs for windows vista?
    And what about alarms that don't need itunes specifically?

    • Jackson
      August 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm

      Well, I'm the Mac correspondent so I hardly get exposed to Windows applications. iTunes comes standard on any Mac so getting alarms to run on it is much simpler compared to a 3rd party music program. So, no. I have yet to run into anything which doesn't use iTunes as the default player.

  3. Benny
    August 4, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Thanks, I was looking for a free alternative for some time now.

    • Jackson
      August 4, 2008 at 6:55 pm

      No worries. Enjoy your morning alarms :)

  4. Baker
    August 3, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I have been using aurora for a couple of months and love it. The newest release does cost money, but they have link to the older versions and those are free. I have used other alarms but none as customizable as auroa.

    • Jackson
      August 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm

      Yeah Aurora is pretty good but expensive. Thanks for the tip about the older versions!

  5. Dermah
    August 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I got Awaken for cheap in the MacHeist bundle and there is a nice update on the way so I'm very happy with it :D

    • Jackson
      August 3, 2008 at 9:58 pm

      Lucky you!