How to Give Your iPhone Contacts Special Ringtones and Vibration Alerts

If you want to know who’s calling without looking at your phone, you can customize your contacts with special ringtones and vibration alerts. Then it doesn’t matter if it is across the room or in your pocket, you’ll know who is phoning you.

As is the case with most things iPhone-related, customizing your contacts is a snap. That said, you will have to make changes to each contact you want to affect, but even if you have dozens or hundreds of contacts, chances are only a few of them actually call you regularly.

To begin, you want to first open a contact you intend to customize.

Next, tap the “Edit” button in the upper-right corner, and then scroll down to where it says Ringtone and Text Tone.

It should say “Default”. This default tone is the one that is applied system-wide, so whatever you use for the rest of your contacts. Note, the default tones and vibrations can be changed in the Settings -> Sounds under “Sounds and Vibration Patterns”.

When we customize a contact with special tones and vibration patterns, it means that that contact will ignore the system-wide defaults. Go ahead and tap on “Ringtone” first and choose a different one to use.

Next, tap open “Vibration” and pick a new vibration alert to accompany your ringtone. There are eight pre-defined vibrations plus the option all the way at the bottom to choose None, if you don’t want the phone to vibrate at all.

Additionally, you can create custom vibration patterns, so if you want the phone to vibrate Shave and a Haircut, or Mary Had a Little Lamb, you can tap that out especially for a specific contact.

Once you’ve finished selecting a new ringtone and vibration, you can do the same to text alerts as well. Text tones are different from ringtones, though you can still apply ringtones to texts if you wish.

When you’r finished, tap the “Done” button in the upper-right corner and you’ll be taken back to the contact’s info screen where you can see your changes.

From now on, whenever that person tries to contact you, you will hear or feel your custom changes. Just make sure that you give each contact you want to customize its own special tone and vibration pattern so you are able to differentiate between them.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.