You’d think something as easy as recurring reminders or alarms would be a built-in smartphone feature. And although you can easily set up your device to ring at the same time every day, you still can’t have it vibrate, say, every two hours without creating 12 different alarms. That is, unless you have a third-party app.
Whether you need to take medication three times a day or just want to make sure you have a sip of water every 60 minutes, these apps for Android and iOS will help you reach your goals.
Chances are the shortest interval you can set between alarms on your device’s built-in clock, calendar, or reminder app is 24 hours. But there are some haphazard workarounds.
On Android, you can tweak your phone’s snooze duration to have an alarm sound as often as every 30 minutes. To do this, go to the Clock app and set up a regular alarm by tapping the big plus button at the bottom and adding your desired parameters. When you’re done, tap the three dots at the top right corner of your screen and go to Settings. Scroll down, find Alarms, and tap Snooze length. There, choose the last option, 30 minutes, which is the longest time you can snooze an alarm for. Keep in mind that Android’s features differ greatly depending on your device’s manufacturer, so don’t be surprised if this option doesn’t exist or if you can actually set up recurrent alarms (lucky you).
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If you do have to use this strategy, hit snooze every time the alarm goes off and you’ll technically get alerts every half an hour. Other than the fact that this is a limited trick, the biggest downside is that because the snooze becomes the actual alarm, you’ll have to do the task right then and there, or risk forgetting about it until the alarm goes off again.
Apple doesn’t let iOS users change its default 9-minute snooze duration, so you can’t use this trick if you have an iPhone. What you can do is set a timer in the Clock app and hit Repeat from your phone’s lock screen every time it goes off. But this only works if your phone is locked when the alert hits. If it’s not, your best bet is to open the Clock app and simply set a new timer. This, of course, is barely automated and less than ideal.
But there are third-party apps up for the task.
Hourly Chime may be one of the simplest recurrent alarm apps available. All it does is offer alarms that’ll go off every hour, on the hour. But you can choose which alerts sound on which days and add notes to each one so you know what you have to do every time. What you can’t do is edit the times. Hourly Chime hasn’t been updated in five years, but considering how basic it is, this should not be a problem.
If you want more settings and options, Repeat Timer is a more complete alternative. Reminders can go off as frequently as every second (why would you do that?!) or as far apart as an entire day. A basic account will get you only five repeats for a single timer, but you can set a new timer to repeat five more times when that runs out. For $5 you can get 99 repeats per timer, plus 35 more sounds and the ability to have up to 10 timers running simultaneously.
Finally, there’s Alarmed, which may be the most feature-rich app on this list. You can set up alerts by using preset times or adding the exact moment you want it to go off. You can also name your reminders, add notes, color-code them, and put them in a particular category. Alarmed is also the only app on this list that has a nagging function, which can relentlessly remind you of what you need to do until you actually do it and dismiss the alert. The platform also has one of the biggest sound libraries on this list, so if you want to be able to recognize each reminder just by listening to it, you’ll find dozens of options including simple chimes, “frog symphony,” and growling zombies. Just like Hourly Chime, Alarmed has not been updated in a while (six years), so its looks and functions may not be optimized for newer iPhone models.
If you ever thought your alarm should have a social aspect to it, Galarm is for you. This free app lets you share alerts with your friends and family, so you and your siblings will never forget your parents’ anniversary ever again. Galarm also lets you set a reminder for someone else, and notifies you when it goes off, so you can check in to see if the other person did what they were supposed to. Other than that, this app lets you create recurring reminders that go off as often as one hour, and premium users ($0.99 a month or $6.99 a year) can shorten that to 45-minute intervals. You can also add a note to your alarm, determine the sound it’ll make, and even the amount of times you’re allowed to snooze it.
An equally capable app is To Do Reminder. It’s definitely not as social as Galarm, but this platform lets you schedule alarms to go off as often as every minute. You can even set up a notification to remind you the alarm is imminent. To Do Reminder is flexible and can be helpful whether your goal is to give your dog their medication as indicated by the vet, or leave your desk for a minute every hour.
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You can also try Repeat Alarm. Its name isn’t fancy, and neither is its interface, but it does exactly what it promises to do. This tool can go off as often as every five minutes, but unlike the other apps on this list, Repeat Alarm lets you set a time range to make sure that your “Drink water!” reminder doesn’t wake you up at 4 a.m. The app also lets you choose between three different snooze lengths (one, five, and 10 minutes) every time it goes off. And when you dismiss the alert, it asks you if you actually did what you needed to do. You can also select sounds for each alarm, and even though a $3.49 premium account will give you extra settings, the basic features should be more than enough to satisfy your needs.