iOS: Understanding sounds, ringtones, and alerts

You can set your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to play sounds for alerts such as incoming messages, new emails, calls, and reminders. You can also set alerts for appointments, sending an email, pressing keys, and locking the device.

To change sound settings: Go to Settings > Sounds. Available options include:

  • Adjusting the device's ringer and alert volume.
  • Preventing the side buttons from changing the ringer volume.
  • Setting the ringtone. To set a ringtone for a specific person, go to their card in Contacts.
  • Setting alert tones and other tones.
  • Turning keyboard clicks on and off, as well as turning on and off the sound for when the device locks.

iPhone vibration

You can set whether your iPhone vibrates when you get a call or when you turn on silent mode, and set vibration patterns. Go to Settings > Sounds and choose an item from the Sounds and Vibration Patterns list. Tap Vibration to select a pattern.

To create a custom vibration pattern

  1. Tap Settings > Sounds and select an alert type in the Sounds and Vibrations list.
  2. Tap Vibration > Create New Vibration.
  3. Create a vibration pattern by touching and tapping the screen.

Set your device to silent mode

  • iPhone: Toggle the Ring/Silent switch on the side of the device.
  • iPad: Press and hold the bottom end of the Volume button.
    To mute only notifications, alerts, and sound effects, slide the Side Switch down.
  • iPod touch: Press and hold the bottom end of the Volume button.


  • iPhone's Ring/Silent switch and iPad's Side Switch do not mute audio playback, such as from music, podcasts, videos, and games.
  • You can also use the Do Not Disturb setting to silence calls, alerts, and notifications.
  • Clock alarms still sound the alert through the built-in speaker when your device is in silent mode.
Last Modified: Aug 12, 2013
  • Last Modified: Aug 12, 2013
  • Article: HT5800
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