A common feature you’ll find on televisions, all sleep timers are pretty much the same. Start playing some media, set a timer and watch or listen until you doze off. After the specified time has elapsed, playback will end and, in some cases, the device will power off.
If you like to play music or white noise with your phone while you fall asleep, you’ve likely become acquainted with a sleep timer app (or three) on your iOS device. However, iOS has actually had a sleep timer built in since iOS 7, but it’s not easy to find if you don’t know where to look.
Here’s how to use it.
How to use the sleep timer in iOS
The reason so many people overlook the native sleep timer is because it’s sort of tucked away with next to no mention anywhere. And, technically, it’s not called a sleep timer. It’s buried in the Clock app under — you guessed it — Timer.
It makes perfect sense to put it there. After all, it’s just a timer. But rather than playing a sound after the timer has finished, it stops anything that’s playing.
So why use this over one of the many third-party apps? Not only will it allow you to delete an unneeded app from your phone, it also, unlike third-party sleep timers, doesn’t require the Clock app to be left open with the screen on for the sleep timer to actually do its job.
To set a sleep timer in iOS:
- Open the Clock app. (You can quickly launch Clock from anywhere by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and tapping on the clock icon.)
- Tap on Timer in the bottom right corner to switch to the correct tab.
- Set the timer length that you want in hours and minutes.
- Tap When Timer Ends.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom and select Stop Playing.
- Tap Set in the upper right corner.
- Click Start to start the timer.
Whether you’re watching a movie, YouTube videos, streaming music in Spotify or listening to a podcast, the Stop Playing function of the timer will stop any media that’s currently playing. It will also lock your device so your screen won’t stay on if you’ve been watching a video.
Your preference to stop playing media when the timer finishes will be remembered, so if you want to quickly set a sleep timer in the future, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, force touch on the clock icon and select one of the preset times. This also means that you’ll need to go back into the Clock app and select a ringtone if you ever want an audible timer in the future.