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Summary:

Custom ringtones are great for knowing who’s calling, but those of us whose phones are on vibrate get left out of that party. One of the less advertised features of iOS 5 is the ability to to assign custom vibration patterns to individual callers. Here’s how.

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Custom ringtones are great for knowing who is calling, but those of us who leave our phones on vibrate get left out of that party. One of the less advertised features of iOS 5 is the ability to assign custom vibration patterns to individual callers.

To enable this feature, open the Settings App and select “General” and then scroll down to “Accessibility.” Scroll down a bit in the Accessibility settings and turn on “Custom Vibrations.”

This enables the feature, but to actually use it you not need to open the Contacts app to customize the vibrations for each contact for whom you wish to use a custom vibration.

Select a contact, and then tap “Edit” on the upper right corner of the screen. You’ll notice that there is a new “Vibration” setting for your contact. You’ll see several built-in variations, but the ability to create your own pattern right on the phone (Morse code, anyone?) is the ultimate in customization. You can also turn off vibrations entirely for specific contacts if you wish (great for people you want to avoid).

After setting a vibration, tap “Done” once to exit the vibration settings and a second time to save the updated contact.

Congratulations, you now will be able to tell by the pattern in your pocket who is calling you, even when the phone’s audio ringer is off. Amaze your friends with your new ability to see who is calling without looking or listening to your phone.

  1. Here’s a tip: The iPhone does not provide a vibrate-before-sound option for ringtones. Blackberry phones could be set to vibrate first, then ring. This was handy on default, because in meetings, restaurants, etc., the phone would vibrate first giving the owner time to pick it up and either silence the call, or whatever.

    I made my own iPhone ringtones with 6 seconds of silence at the beginning. That way, the iPhone starts vibrating, but the ring has no tone. Any audio editor like Goldwave, Audacity, or Macsome can do this.

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