How To Wake Up In Style with Aurora

Alarm clock apps are a difficult topic, as some people are averse to paying for an app that does something that their cellphones and clocks do. While I don’t quite use alarm apps on an everyday basis, I do find them attractive and convenient because they put in your hands a bunch of settings and options that regular alarm clocks don’t have.

Also, they have access to your complete music library, so you can wake up every day to your latest album or playlist. Today we are presenting an alarm clock app that goes along with your Mac perfectly, as it is very pretty, and remarkably simple to use. It’s called Aurora.

Getting Started

To be honest, I never even knew there was a market for alarm clock apps on the Mac until I did a roundup on them, where Aurora fared pretty well. It stood up as one of the priciest options, yet the one that felt the most “Mac native” and surely the prettiest and easiest to use.

It has also come down on price since then, so now is the time to give it a try if you haven’t. Aurora is now on the Mac App Store at an introductory price of $9.99.

Proper Use

Advice

Advice

The first time you run Aurora you’ll get some advice on how to use it. This includes a few pointers:

  1. You shouldn’t close the lid when you have an alarm active. Aurora wakes your Mac up to run the alarms, and some Macs won’t wake up if the lid is closed, so if you want to be on time for work, leave your lid open.
  2. If you use external speakers, make sure they are turned on. It’s pretty obvious that if the speakers are off, the alarms won’t make a sound.
  3. Leave the power cord plugged in. Just like with the lid, some Macs won’t wake up if the power cord isn’t plugged in or if the battery is low.
  4. Use Auto-login. If you choose to turn off your computer instead of just putting it to sleep, then make sure Auto-login is active so that Aurora can run the alarms properly instead of getting stuck in the “Choose a User” screen.

Follow these steps correctly, and you’ll always be woken up in time, and in style…

Setting Up an Alarm

Setup

Setup

Aurora is probably the most customizable and easy-to-setup alarm clock you’ve ever used. When you add a new alarm, you have the option to make it recurrent and choose the days where it should repeat.

You can also make it wake your computer, choose the volume and fade-in, the music that you want it to wake you up to, the duration of the alarm, and a few other options that you probably don’t need. Aurora can use the music from your iTunes library, and you can set it up to use playlists or just to shuffle through your library. You can have different options for as many alarms as you’d like.

You can even set it up to play your podcasts when you wake up, great for a lazy weekend morning in bed. Give one of these awesome podcasts a try to get your Saturday geek on!

When An Alarm Goes Off

Alarm

Alarm

As I mentioned, your lid needs to be open in order for Aurora to work properly. I couldn’t get it to work when my lid was closed, but it worked flawlessly when I had it open.

One thing I hate about my current alarm clock is that it doesn’t fade-in, it just starts playing music at the loudest volume possible. This is pretty annoying, and usually scares me instead of waking me up! That’s why Aurora has a fade-in option. It can actually slowly start playing music, which is very pleasant.

When an alarm goes off, Aurora will wake your Mac up and it will start playing whatever you told it to play. It will show you the information and the artwork of whatever is playing and you’ll have a few buttons there to skip the song, stop the alarm, or snooze it.

The snooze time is a setting that is pretty well hidden under the preferences, and it can not be applied to each different alarm. You’ll need to specifiy one snooze setting across the board.

The snooze button works just like you would expect it to, it wil pause your alarm for a specified amount of time. Once you are ready to go, you can just stop the alarm with the “Stop” button!

Falling Asleep

Sleep

Sleep

Aurora also has a “Sleep” Function. It can make your Mac go to sleep after a certain action is done. For example, you can set it up to go to sleep after a number of songs have played, or after a DVD or video is done playing (or you could just tell it to go to sleep after a certain time).

Here, the options that you have are fade-out, reducing the brightness of the display, and turning the computer off or logging out after the action is completed, instead of just going to sleep.

I guess this is useful if you like to play music from your computer before you go to sleep. I can’t really see much of a use for the DVD and video functions for myself, but maybe some people could take advantage of them.

Conclusion

Aurora is a very useful app, and I’m sure it will fit all of your needs. But are you willing to pay for it? There are, of course, plenty of free options available on the market that – while not as pretty or feature-packed – can do the job of waking you up!

I’m sure you won’t regret paying $9.99 for this app, as I’m certain it will fill every need you have for it. But let us know what you think! Is this too pricey for an alarm app? Do you still use alarm clocks? What is your favorite alarm app?


Summary

Aurora is a beautiful and simple alarm clock app that can wake you up with ease. Perhaps its best feature is that it can wake your Mac up if it is asleep.

9
  • Tomo

    One word: Awaken. In my experience, a waaay better app for the job. A lot more functions and better UI.

  • Aslan

    well, awaken is nice, but cannot work correctly when itunes isnt launching in the background. in that case you’ll get a (very) ugly alarm tone instead..

  • Pelle Kristiansson

    Yes, Awaken is nice, but as previously noted, it does run iTunes instead of just relying on a built in media player (like Aurora has). In my case, i don’t use iTunes, and i don’t want it started every time an alarm has to go off. Also, it seems the Awaken dev has forgotten the application, since it has a few bugs that haven’t been addressed in quite a while now. But as far as the whole package goes, Awaken probably has the better UI and features.

    One problem i have with aurora is that when the list of alarms if focused (Alarms tab), so that one may navigate the list with up/down arrows, there’s no way of activating alarms using space (the equivalent of clicking a check box with a mouse). I often prefer doing stuff with the keyboard than with a mouse/trackpad :)

    Overall i think aurora is an excellent application. I depend on it.

  • http://www.iynque.com iynque

    I bought Aurora, but the alarms only worked intermittently. I switched to Awaken and in 6 months it hasn’t failed a single time.

  • Luis Maria

    I have this app and its great, i depend on it! Never crash, great features, great us of itunes and even work when my mac is shot down. Simple Rocks!

  • http://audiojungle.net/user/tomh Tom Howe

    Alarm Clock 2 is free and does the job well –

    http://www.robbiehanson.com/alarmclock/

  • http://modernisten.co.vu/ Robin Lundgren

    Awaken is a slow bugger when as far as the GUI goes, reaaaally crap.

    ^ Alarm Clock 2 – The best :) Just sits there on your menubar like a good hen.

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