Overview: AutoWake 1.0

AutoWake has hit the App Store. It's the first haptic smart alarm for Apple Watch. AutoWake is developed by David Walsh, a self-confessed Objective-C lover, and maker of other popular health and wellbeing apps for the Apple Watch; HeartWatch, and AutoSleep

The idea is simple. AutoWake is an alarm that wakes you in a lighter phase of sleep. The result? You feel less tired and groggy upon waking. Similar apps have existed for the iPhone for years. They require you to sleep with your phone on your bed, so they can detect motion as you sleep. AutoWake is the first to bring this to Apple Watch. I've been using it for a few months and have found it to work well.

You configure AutoWake by choosing the time you wish to wake up by in the watch app. The alarm will go off up to either 15 or 30 minutes before that time (it's up to you), depending on your phase of sleep. AutoWake doesn't need to be open on the watch to work. However, you must have the AutoWake complication active on the watch face of your choice. I find either the extra large or the modular face work well as they both offer large countdown timers. AutoWake communicates with its iPhone app to work out an appropriate time to wake you. This means AutoWake also has to be running in the background on your iPhone. You can't force-quit the app as it needs to be active. You'll need to keep an active connection between your phone and watch, so neither can be in aeroplane mode.

It wakes you up with a haptic alarm - like the alarm app built into watchOS, but with a more subtle and comfortable vibration. Should this fail, AutoWake will fall back and wake you up with audio from the iPhone app. AutoWake also triggers a heart rate reading in the seconds before it wakes you up, and shows it to you once you silence the alarm. Waking heart rate is a good indication of overall heart health, and AutoWake ties in with another of David's apps, AutoSleep, to make use of this data.

Unlike almost every other alarm app, AutoWake doesn't have a snooze function. There's no dozing off after dismissing the alarm. After giving it some thought, it makes sense. If AutoWake works correctly and wakes you up in a lighter phase of sleep, you should wake feeling less groggy and more likely to get up straight away.


There are a few apps that have had success due to the personality and character of the app. Carrot Weather is one that comes to mind. AutoWake also has subtle hints of personality which add to the overall experience. You can choose a name that AutoWake will refer to you as, and from there, its audio alerts will refer to you by your name. It's a small touch, but it makes a difference. I've got my name set to, "Egghead," and it never fails to amuse me when my phone says, "Sleep well, Egghead!" after setting the alarm.

AutoWake is an app I've wanted to exist for quite a while, and I'm delighted that the initial version works as well as it does. AutoWake is available for a small upfront cost on the App Store, and is worth every cent.