Awaken: Wake Up to Your Music

Alarm clocks are great and all, but if you find yourself becoming immune to the repetitive noise they make or hitting ‘Sleep’ far too often, it might be time to look elsewhere to get you out of bed in the morning.

Awaken from Embraceware Software is a marvellous alarm clock app that lets you wake up to your choice of music or sound in a great interface, even if the application isn’t open and your computer is asleep. This review will look into what else this app can do.

Adding an Alarm

Upon opening Awaken, you are presented with a window displaying the current time and all of your alarms. Awaken lets you add alarms which play iTunes content, a built in sound, or trigger a task to run.

Setting up Alarms

Setting up Alarms

Pressing the plus sign in the bottom left adds a new alarm. In the window that slides out, you can give your alarm a title, and decide whether you’d like it to play iTunes content, a sound, or run a task.

If you choose iTunes as I have below, you are then free to pick what you want to be played when the alarm goes off. This can be anything from a playlist or podcast, to movies and audiobooks. You can set this to shuffle, which is a very useful feature.

Setting up when you want the alarm to go off is very easy, and be done as either a weekly occurrence or a one off event. Ticking ‘Full Screen’ presents you with a full screen of the alarm, time, and song with all the impact and clarity you need on your computer while lying in your bed.

Finally, a clever feature is the ability to launch an item with the alarm. This may be that you want Mail to launch when you get out of bed, or it may be a script or other file. It can be more or less anything, but the problem is that you can only add one item per alarm, which seems like a bit of a drawback.

Adding an Alarm

Adding an Alarm

The Alarm in Action

Something that I love about Awaken is that once you’ve set your alarm to go, it allows you to quit the application and even sleep your computer without worrying. When the time nears, Awaken will somehow wake up the computer and prepare itself. Then at the exact time of your alarm it will fire into action.

When your alarm launches, the screen will fade to a very clear display showing you the current time in a lovely big font that can easily be viewed when lying in bed across the room.

It also contains nice large cover art and information on what is playing, along with Snooze, Stop, and Next and Previous Track buttons.

Fullscreen View

Fullscreen View

Other Features

Awaken also includes some other nice features to go alongside the normal alarm. One of which is an Egg Timer which is great for setting up quick and instant alarms. This works simply by setting a countdown, and what to play when the time is up.

Another even cooler feature is that of the Sleep Timer. This allows you have iTunes play for a specified period of time before gradually decreasing both the volume and screen brightness. Once the timer runs out, it can even put the Mac to sleep. This is perfect for lying in bed, listening to music as you drift off to sleep, with full confidence that the computer will go to sleep itself shortly.

Alternatively, you can just set the computer to go to sleep after a set time without the music.

One last feature worth mentioning is that, since you probably don’t have the Mac right next to you when you sleep, Awaken supports use of the Apple Remote for controlling your alarm from bed.

Remote Control

Remote Control


Awaken packs a great bunch of settings to play with in the preferences. These range from interface appearance tweaks to adding your own custom audio files to play.

Some features worth noting are the ability to set an iTunes and system volume for the alarms so that you aren’t caught out when the computer has been on mute. You can also ask it to gradually increase or decrease volume and screen brightness, and choose a backup alarm – just in case something goes wrong with iTunes.

Digging Into the Preferences

Digging Into the Preferences

Other Options

There exists a number of other applications out there which all serve a similar purpose but vary widely in their execution. Some offer many more features, others simplicity, and some are even free.

Have a look at this great roundup for a good comparison; 6 Alarm Clock Apps for OS X.


I have been very pleased with Awaken’s performance as an alarm to wake up to, as well as a tool for falling asleep. I can certainly see this great little app taking precedence over my bulky clock radio.

Awaken is available for a very fair $10 CAD (around $9.50 US) and can be downloaded for free as a 14 day trial. Please do let us know your thoughts on this app, or if you prefer something else!


Awaken is a marvellous alarm clock app with a huge range of features. If you're hoping to use your computer as a wake-up call, look no further. It can even help you fall asleep!



Add Yours
  • I’ve been using this for about 1,5 years now, and I love it – couldn’t live without it. I do wish there was a way to disable the optical drive sound in older MBPs, but then again, that’s a feature of the computer, not Awaken. It’s just that I usually wake to the computer turning on, rather than the alarm triggering.

    Version 5 is said to be coming out soon and it looks great!

    • So you’re saying that Awaken even works when your MBP is turned off?! If that is the case, I may have to look more into this. I assumed it had to be on/in sleep mode for it to work, and as I don’t like leaving my MBP in sleep at nighttime I didn’t even consider this. Let me know please!

      • I think Tuomas means is that the sound of the optical drive which spins CDs is quite loud which can be a pain, which still occurs when waking from sleep.

        To answer your question though Stefanos, I don’t believe Awaken works if your machine is shut down. If you own a laptop, you would need to put it to sleep, and then just leave the lid almost shut (as Apple does not allow it to be woken while closed I believe).

  • I use Aurora at the moment, which does pretty much everything I need. Not having a remote on either of my Macs, the new features of Awaken don’t compel me to buy it, but Aurora has become more and more buggy as my systems age and iTunes/Mac OSX advance. So maybe it’s worth the $10. (Aurora is currently priced at €15.)

  • I’ve been using Alarm Clock 2 from Robbie Hanson. Has many of the features and it’s free.

    • That’s what I use too, it’s great!


    • I use it too. It does what it needs to and I wake up to it everyday. It is free too, but I still chose to donate.

  • Great. We will look into this. Thanks!

  • Been using this since version 3 and the constant development and improvement so far has been great. I also have the iPhone version and loving it. Hope it could run in background though but not the devs fault since Apple doesn’t allow it. ever since it was released in the app store I’m using the mobile version more.

  • I like Awaken. Nice, polished look of this application attracts me very much. The constant development helps to improve my favourite app. I’m looking forward to version 5. But there’s a bug (I think) – when Awaken is not open, just sitting in menu bar, my eMac wakes up but I cannot hear any sound of alarm.

  • Loving the look and the simplicity, only one crucial thing coming in the version 5 that I still need is to choose custom output audio device,to switch between internal speakers and speakers connected to my firewire audio card
    But I saw a screenshot of it on their flickr group so hope it comes as soon as possible

  • I’ve also been using this app for quite some time now.
    I got a random playlist set up with some good music to wake up to, and i like the way it slowly builds up the volume.
    It completely replaced my alarm clock, and it’s extra effective because i’ve actually have to get up out of bed to turn it off (Cause i leave my remote on my mac)

  • Does anyone else have app launching problems about 10 seconds BEFORE the alarm.
    I switched to aurora because it got annoying that 10 seconds before the alarm would go off, it would launch and force focus on it until the alarm goes off. So then I had to wait for it and then click on the stop alarm.

    Just wondering if its fixed or if its just me.

  • Be careful, when using it the first times. For safetyl, set up an alertnative alarm!