How to Change the Text Message and Other Notification Sounds on Your iPhone

One of the worst things about modern smartphones being dominated by Apple and Samsung is that almost everyone’s phone sounds the same. Any time I’m out in public and I hear Apple’s default text tone I instantly reach for my pocket. If you’re in a similar situation, here’s how to change the tone so you aren’t quite as confused.

While you can’t change the notification sounds of most third-party apps on iOS, you can change a lot of the default system sounds, such as the noise your iPhone makes when it rings, you get a new text message, voicemail, or email, you get a calendar event or reminder alert, or you send an email or file through AirDrop.

Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics on an iPhone 7 or later. It’s Settings > Sounds on any device older than a 6S.

Select the sound you want to change. I’m going with Text Tone for this example.

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iOS comes with lots of alert tones built in, and you can also add your own custom ones. Tap on any tone to select it and hear how it sounds. I like Synth, so I’m going to use it.

Repeat the process for any of the other default sounds you want to change. Now whenever you hear one of the default “dings” in public, you can safely ignore it.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.