Setting iPhone Ringtones For Individual Contacts

You can set default ringtones and text tones on your iPhone. But you can also set each contact to use a specific ringtone or text tone so that you can identify the caller or message sender without looking at your phone.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Setting iPhone Ringtones For Individual Contacts.

Hi, this is Gary with On this episode let me show you how to set ringtones on your iPhone on a per contact basis.

The normal way that you would set a ringtone or text tone on your iPhone is to go into the Settings app and under Settings go down to Sounds. This is using iOS 9. Under Sounds here is where you can set the ringtone and text tone. You can see them here just a little bit down on the screen.

You've got Ringtone, Text Tone, and tones that you can use for other things like New Voicemail, New Mail, or when a mail is sent. Things like that. So you've got lots of different things that you can set. Let's focus on Ringtones and Text Tones.

If I were to tap on Ringtone we get a list of ringtones. The standard list of ringtones that come with your iPhone. Also alert tones. I can choose either one. If I had purchased any custom tones or used iTunes to load any custom ringtones on here I would see them listed here as well. I could also set the Vibration pattern there.

Now if I go to Text Tone I see the same thing except it is going to show Alert Tones first and it's also going to give me the option of having None there at the top of the alert tones. Then I get Ringtones second. So it's kind of giving you priority on those two but you can choose from any one of those.

Now those are actually the default ringtones. So that's going to be used for all your contacts whether they either call you or message you. But you can set a custom one per contact.

So let's go into the Contacts app. Here I've already gone into a fake person here that I've created for this demo but, of course, you would see a list of all your contacts and you would select one to go into them. Now here we've got John Smith and there's a home phone number and an iPhone number too. The home phone number is, of course, voice only and the iPhone number is voice and messaging.

Now you don't see anything here for setting custom ringtones. In order to see that you need to tap the Edit button at the upper right. When you do that you could of course add phones, add emails and those emails can include Apple ID emails that would then be used for iMessages. So you can message somebody through a phone number or through an email address.

Then you see Ringtone and Vibration and Text Tone and Vibration. So say if I wanted to set a custom ringtone right now it is set to Default which means it's going to follow the settings under Sounds that we just looked at. But if I tap there I can actually choose a custom ringtone for that person. I'll then hear that ringtone rather than the default one.

So the key thing is like say you want to have your significant other have another ringtone you can set it here and just don't use that ringtone for anybody else. Likewise, hit cancel, and we can go to Text Tone and we can set a custom text tone. So if we wanted to set something custom there and we'd hear it played as a sample and then hit Done. We can set now that it is set there as a custom Text Tone.

Likewise you can do the same thing with Vibrations. You can use the standard different vibrations or you can setup custom ones. Set that instead of the default for that person. So you'll get a different ringtone or different vibration for both depending upon how you have things setup for that person.

This can be very useful so you know who is calling you without even taking your iPhone out of your pocket or bag.

Now I actually rarely use ringtones. I keep my phone on silent. I'd rather have vibrations tell me when somebody is calling or when I get a text message. It's easy, under Vibration, to select one of these different vibration patterns or add your own. You can see I have a bunch of custom ones I've added there.

You can easily create your own by hitting Create New Vibration and then you tap to create a vibration pattern. So it can be anything. You can just create a different vibration pattern for just about every contact you've got and grow to know them so that you can tell who's calling you or who just texted you. It's very useful especially if you don't want to be pulling out your phone every time you get a text message but you do want to pay attention when a certain person does text you.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Setting iPhone Ringtones For Individual Contacts”

    Bill Braun
    3 years ago

    Will the custom taps under vibration get transferred to the Apple Watch so you will feel those special taps there as well when some one calls or texts?

    3 years ago

    Bill: Not sure. Give it a try and report back what you find.

    Piet van 't Zelfde
    3 years ago

    Thanks Gary, you made me a lot wiser… changed some of my contact’s ringtones.

    3 years ago

    Is it possible to get a music ringtone from a song that I have already purchased from iTunes?

    3 years ago

    Mary: Yes. It involves creating right+clicking on the song and choosing “show in finder.” Then make a copy of that file and put it somewhere. Open it in QuickTime Player and use the Trim function to make it less than 30 seconds. Then change the file name to .m4r instead of .m4a. Then import that into iTunes under “Tones.” Then sync that tone to your iPhone. Lots of steps. Perhaps I’ll do an updated video on the process soon.

    3 years ago

    A video would be appreciated, thank you.

Comments Closed.