Whenever my family gets together, there is an orchestra of alert sounds and buzzing that has everyone peering down at their iPhones. I suppose this happens to many iPhone owners, either at family functions, busy households or in office settings. The curse of using such a popular smartphone. You could do something crazy like get a Samsung Galaxy S whatever, but that would present its own set of challenges. The workaround here is to personalize your iPhone, so that notification alerts are specific to you. Here’s how to change alert sounds, create custom vibration patterns and more in iOS on your iPhone.

Change alert sounds iPhone

Enabling Sound Alerts On iPhone

We’ve previously covered the different types of handling alert and banner notifications for both stock and third party applications. In addition to visual alerts, you can also setup sounds for alerts for all of your applications.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Notification Center
  2. Scroll to Include and select an app
  3. Depending upon the app, which I’ll cover in the next section, you’ll have a choice to either toggle sound to ‘on’ or select an alert tone.

Enable alert sounds iOS

Change Alert Sounds On iOS

If you’ve followed the above tutorial, you successfully enabled sounds for your alerts. Congrats! With such a vast number of alerts, wouldn’t it be great to change the alert sounds for different apps. Here’s where things get a little tricky. iOS will let you change alert sounds, but only for some stock apps. As I noted above, the option to change an alert changes depending upon the app you choose. If you have a long list of apps, you might be left wondering which apps let you make this change. While it might change in iOS 8, you can only change the alert sounds for Calendar and Reminder apps. This can be done one two ways. We covered on method above and here’s the other option.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Sounds
  2. Select either ‘Calendar Alerts‘ or ‘Reminder Alerts
  3. Choose from any of the available Tones or Ringtones. You can select a Tone to playback a preview.

Choose alert sound

While we are on the topic of alert sounds, you should note that iOS also has an option to change the vibration alert. Just above Alert Sounds are your Vibration settings. Tap to choose from seven preset vibration alerts, many of which will differ in the intensity.

Customize Vibration Alerts in iOS

If the vibration alerts offered by Apple in iOS 7 are not sufficient, you can create your very own customized vibration alert.

  1. Navigate to Sounds > Calendar or Reminder Alerts
  2. Tap on Vibration
  3. Scroll down and select ‘Custom
  4. Using your finger, top to create a custom vibration pattern. The more tapping and/or holding, will result in what should result in greater vibration intensity of your alert.
  5. Press Play to replay your custom vibration.
  6. Happy with your creation? Press ‘Save‘.

Create custom vibration alerts iOS


Whether you work in a busy office or you’re a couple wondering whose iPhone alerts are going off, having similar alert sounds can cause everyone in the room to jump up. Is that my phone? When you are customizing your alerts, Apple’s iOS 7 lets you change alert sounds for Calendar or Reminders. You can go one step further and create a customized vibration pattern, specific to your iPhone.