The iPhone Bedtime App: A Little "Shamey" or the Best Feature Ever?

Go to sleep. Or don't, it's up to you.

It’s been a little over a month since Apple released iOS 10 to the public. That’s enough time for people to explore many of the operating system’s new features, and one is designated as a consistent favorite: Bedtime, a digital alarm clock that does so much more than just make noise at a designated time.

Bedtime uses custom sounds that gently fade in to gradually awaken you. This already puts it ahead of normal alarms, which can startle you right out of bed, but the feature takes it a step further by reminding you when it’s time to go to sleep. (Hence the name.) It also calculates how much time you’ll sleep each night, keeps track of when you finally heed its bedtime or wake-up calls, and collects all of this information into a clean interface that lets you know how you’re sleeping.

I’ve been using iOS 10 since it was made available as a public beta in July — something I think you absolutely should not do yourself — and Bedtime is still my favorite feature, even after the novelty wore off.


Now that people have been able to spend some time with the feature themselves, they too are starting to appreciate Bedtime. They’ve also found some bugs like one that occurs when you set a normal alarm for the same time as Bedtime’s wake-up call. The result: Infinite snoozing instead of double the alarms. A fringe case, sure, but one that’s worth keeping in mind.

“Literally the bedtime alarm is by far the best on IOS 10,” one user tweeted. “[I] wake up with such a zen like state of mind.” Others have said that the feature makes their day and that “so far the only thing [they] like about the new iOS is the bedtime feature.” No faint praise!

But there are some concerns about Bedtime. The feature is said to be proof that Silicon Valley is filled with manchildren, to be a little “shamey” for some users’ tastes, and to be more evidence that Apple wants to micromanage its users’ lives.

If that’s true, Bedtime is the world’s most favorite nanny since Mary Poppins. Sure, the feature’s name doesn’t do it many favors — it’s descriptive but also evocative of nights spent wanting to stay up for five more minutes when your parents told you to go to sleep — but its principles are sound. People need to sleep. Devices like the iPhone often keep them awake. Why not use that same device to try to address the problem by telling people to sleep and gently waking them up?

Hell, maybe Bedtime could even learn to do some actual nannying:

Related Tags