How to personalize your iPhone contacts

Apple, iOS, iPhone, smartphone

Who uses public phones these days? But those red boxes are iconic.

Credit: Rick Harris/Flickr

There are ways to give them that personal touch

You can make things personal with custom ringtones and rhythm patterns for different contacts on your iPhone. Here's how.

Create ringtones

Perhaps you want to create your own custom ringtones for each member of your family? You can turn any song in your iTunes collection into a ringtone.

On your Mac or PC, select your chosen track. You need to identify a section of the song (up to a maximum 30-seconds) to use as the tone. Once you’ve figured that out, open the Get Info window for the track and set the start and stop point of the track to the specific section of the song you wish to use.

Once you have this selection set, you should return to the main iTunes window with the song selected and select Create New Version>Create AAC version. iTunes will create a new version of the track which starts and end at the points you set. (You should now unset these points in the original track). Highlight the truncated copy track and select Show In Finder, in this view click on the track name and change the file type to .m4r (it will be .m4a originally). Delete the short copy track in iTunes, return to it in Finder, click play and it will be filed as a ringtone in the media library.

Now you should Sync your iPhone with iTunes (making sure Sync Tones is enabled) and the ringtone will be made available.

... or you can save yourself some complexity and use an app to do the job.

Assign ringtones

You can give different contacts different ringtones. I tend to use this to give family one ringtone, friends another and try to assign a priority tone to people I’m working on projects with, but you may come up with a different system. To assign a tone to a contact, open their card in Contacts and select Edit. Now when you scroll down you’ll see a section marked Ringtone. Tap this and you’ll be able to select your choice of tone for the contact. iOS will play the tone so you know you chose the right one. Press the Save button and in future, when that contact calls you, you’ll hear that ringtone.

Assign vibrations

You can also set custom vibration patterns to contacts. Select a contact in Contacts and choose ‘Edit’ (as above). Scroll down the list and you’ll see a vibration field. Select this and you will see a series of built-in vibration alerts you can use and (further down) a tool that lets you Create New Vibration. Select this and tap out a rhythm on your iPhone. Press play to see if this works and hit Save when you’re done. In the future,  you’ll experience your chosen vibration alert each time the assigned contact gets in touch. You can even assign a vibration alert for text messages from that person.

Allow

You can already use Do Not Disturb to prevent people calling you at specific times. If you switch Repeated Calls to On, people calling you a second time within three minutes will be allowed through. You can also allow calls from Favorites or from members of specific groups, (Friends and family, for example).

Remind

Tap Remind on the display when a call comes in and your caller will automatically be switched to answer machine and you’ll be reminded when to call them back.

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