Turn Off Vibrate for Text Messages & iMessages on iPhone
Whether the iPhone is flipped into silent mode or not, an incoming text message or iMessage will vibrate. While that’s great for being notified of a new text, in some situations you’d rather have complete silence when texting, you know, when you’re passing time in a boring meeting, sitting a quiet classroom, or maybe you’re just next to someone who is a very light sleeper. In situations like these the best way to text completely discrete is to not only mute the iPhone, but to go a step further and disable the vibration alert as well.
We’re focusing on the iPhone because most people use them for texting, but of course all of this works for sending iMessages on the iPad and iPod touch as well.
Disable Vibrate for Text Messages when iPhone is Muted
Open “Settings” and tap on “Sounds”
Under the “Vibrate” header, flip “Vibrate on Silent” to OFF
Exit out of Settings as usual, and you’ll find you can now send text messages in complete silence, free of the alert sound and the vibration.
The method outlined above works to disable vibrate only when the phone is flipped to mute though, what if you want to have the vibration off all the time with messaging?
Turning Off Incoming Message Vibration Alerts Completely
Go back into “Settings” and to “Sounds”
Look under “Sounds and Vibration Patterns” and choose “Text-Tone”
Scroll to the very top of the Text Tone screen and tap “Vibration”
Now scroll to the very bottom of the Vibration settings and tap on “None”
This will turn off vibrations regardless of whether the iPhone is muted or not, but when the iPhone is not on silent mode it will still alert with the standard SMS/iMessage tri-tone sound. Flipping the iPhone onto Silent will then disable the text tone, and the alert vibrate will still be disabled.
Use “Do Not Disturb” to Temporarily Disable All Vibrations
Rather than digging around in different Settings screens, a quick temporary solution is to enable “Do Not Disturb” on a one-off basis. Just remember that if you set it up to exclude certain important contacts, those rules will still apply and those contacts will chime through. Here’s how to quickly enable it:
Open Settings to find “Do Not Disturb” and flip that to ON
You’ll know Do Not Disturb is active because there’s a little crescent moon icon in the title bar.
Turning Off Alerts for Specific Contacts
What if you only want to text a single person in total silence with no alert and no vibration? One solution would be to create a silent ringtone and then assign it to an individual contact so that their texts are hidden.
12-06-2012 12:32 PM
Find Out Who Called Your iPhone With This Quick Search Trick
We all have received phone calls from numbers we don’t recognize, and even when they show up on the iPhone caller ID and provide an area code or region they’re coming from that call can still be a mystery. Like many others, I’ve gotten in the habit of just ignoring phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize, letting Voice Mail sort out if the caller is actually something important or just a telemarketer. But what if they don’t leave a message?
Use this little trick to quickly find out who called you, or at least who the number belonged to:
After the call has been missed, open Phone and tap on “Recents”
Tap the phone number you missed to bring up more info on that call, then tap and hold on the phone number itself and select “Copy”
Hit the Home button and launch Safari (or your mobile browser of choice) and tap and hold in the search bar, selecting “Paste” to enter the number previously copied
Search as usual, 99% of the time the first few search results will be about the caller and identify them immediately
In the screenshot above you can see an example of how this works, with the second result revealing the caller to be Comcast. Yes, the search result has been swapped out with Comcast because the original caller probably wants some privacy, but you get the idea.
This obviously won’t work for calls that come through as “Blocked” due to the *67 prefix, and it obviously won’t work on “Unknown Number” calls either, but for anything else, it’s pretty handy.
You Can’t Block Calls on iPhone, So Creating a Blocked List is the Next Best Thing
The ability to block incoming calls on the iPhone is missing on the OS side, and though there were once rumors that a call block feature would arrive with newer versions of iOS, those rumors ended up being about the Do Not Disturb feature. Do Not Disturb is excellent, but it’s not really blocking unwanted calls, it just sets a time period where any calls won’t bother you.
So what can you do if you want to actually block a phone call on the iPhone? You have a few options. You can attempt to contact your cellular carrier and request a specific number be blocked, but not all carriers support that option and you’ll be spending plenty of time on hold and bouncing around tech support menus to even find out if it’s possible. That’s not really viable for evryone though, which leaves a few iOS features as the next best thing, allowing you to create your very own do-it-yourself “block” list of sorts that is centralized and configured to be easily ignorable and also easy to add to.
1: Create an “Ignore” Contact for Numbers & People to Block
Though it may seem completely counterintuitive to create a contact for the people or numbers you don’t want to accept calls from, it’s necessary if you want to ignore those numbers by way of software.
Open Contacts and tap the [+] button to add a new contact
Name it “Ignore” or something similar, and tap on the number field, add every phone number you wish to ignore to this newly created contact
2: Turn Off Alerts, Vibrates, & Use Silent Ringtones for the Call List
Now that you have the “Ignore” contact created, we’ll disable every alert sound, tone, and vibration for the contact, causing each number within that list to fall silent.
From the newly crafted “Ignore” contact, navigate down to the ringtone section, tap on it, and choose a silent ringtone. If you don’t have a silent ringtone handy, creating one takes just a moment or two with QuickTime Player
Next, tap on “Vibration” under Ringtone and choose “Nothing”
Now move on to text tones, and as the alert tone choose “None”
Finally, go to “Vibration” under Text Tone and choose “Nothing”
3: Adding New Numbers to the Blocked List
Got a phone call from a new number you want to “block” and not be notified of again? No problem
Send the caller to voicemail with a double-tap of the power button, let it ring out on mute, or answer it
When the call is no longer active or ringing, tap the blue (>) arrow button next to the number in the Recents list
Scroll down and choose “Add to Existing Contact”, locate the “Ignore” contact and add the number to that list, causing all texts, calls, and alerts to be nonexistent for the caller
Having a centralized “block” contact like this is also far more preferable to creating a bunch of different contacts for all numbers you want to ignore, because it will keep your address book clean and you only have to adjust the alert settings once. Keep in mind that inbound calls and texts from these numbers are still going to come through to the phone, they just won’t alert you or bother you in any way, making them easy to ignore.
This is very much a workaround obviously, but until a true block feature is either implemented at the iOS level or universally allowed from cell providers, it’s really the only choice we have.
Improve Find My iPhone By Locking Down Location Services
Find My iPhone and Find My iPad are security features that make it simple to locate lost iOS devices by tracking them on maps through GPS. A potential problem is that after a device has been lost, or perhaps more accurately, after a device has been stolen, GPS or Find My iPhone can be turned off which thereby disables the Find My iPhone service’s ability to track the missing device. A great fix for that is to use iOS Restrictions to prevent Location Services from being turned off at all, which basically forces GPS and Find My iPhone to stay on all the time. This means that as long as the device is turned on, GPS will be on, making it trackable the entire time.
Be sure you have gone through the process to set up Find My iPhone first, then proceed with the instructions below to lock down Location Services.
Open Settings and tap on “General”
Find “Restrictions” and tap on it, entering the password if it’s already enabled. If Restrictions it not yet enabled, at the next screen tap on “Enable Restrictions” and enter a password to access the feature
Now scroll down to “Privacy” and tap on “Location Services”
Make sure Location Services are turned ON, then scroll to the very bottom to verify that Find My iPhone is also turned ON
Now go back to the very top (tap the titlebar to jump there), and choose “Don’t Allow Changes”
Exit out of Settings
With this configured, there is now an additional layer of protection for the device with GPS and Find My iPhone forcibly left on. And yes, this works the same on an iPad or iPod touch too, though the accuracy of the Find My service is not going to be as reliable on a wi-fi only device, and thus we’re focusing on the iPhone here.
It’s a good idea to use a different password for accessing Restrictions than you do for your lock screen password, and if you’re traveling, prone to losing devices, or in a high risk theft area, consider placing a lock screen message on the device with your ownership information on it, which makes it particularly easy to return should a nice person get ahold of the phone.
How to create a ringtone on your iPhone with GarageBand
Apple recently released GarageBand 1.3 for iOS. Among its new features are the ability to import songs from your Music library and—on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and models newer than those two—to play or record with GarageBand while using other apps. But one of those new feature definitely requires iOS 6: the ability to create and save custom ringtones for your iPhone or iPad on those devices. Here’s how it works.
First, create your jingle in GarageBand. You’ll want your tune to be no longer than 30 seconds; otherwise, GarageBand will automatically truncate your tune at the 30-second mark anyway. If your song is shorter, your ringtone will play it as a loop.
Once you’re happy with your new song, tap to go back into your My Songs list of recordings. (On the iPhone, tap the disclosure triangle at the upper left to find My Songs; on the iPad, just tap the My Songs button.) From the My Songs list, tap and hold on your recording, or tap the Edit button at the upper right; your songs will start jiggling like homescreen icons you’re rearranging. Tap to select your song if necessary, and then tap the Share icon at the upper left.
Scroll down in the subsequent screen and choose Ringtone (the only option under Share Song As). On the Export Ringtone screen, provide a name for your jingle.
When you continue, GarageBand should tell you that the ringtone was successfully exported and also that a backup of your song will be available via iTunes File Sharing. If you tap OK, you can find the ringtone in your iOS device’s sound settings, but GarageBand offers up a shortcut: the Use Sounds As button.
Tap that, and you can select whether to use your freshly-recorded song as a Standard Ringtone, Standard Text Tone (for SMS and iMessage notifications, new email alerts, or anything else that can sound a system notification of some sort), or choose to Assign it to a specific contact. (If you go that last route, you still get to select whether to use the song as a ring- or text tone after choosing which contact to assign it to.)
Making ringtones from songs you own
Apple sells ringtones from popular music in the iTunes Store. Of course, with GarageBand’s new feature set, you can make your own ringtone from a song you own, right on your iOS device, without paying Apple anything extra.
If you use iTunes Match, you’ll need to first make sure that the song is downloaded to your iOS device, which is a bit trickier in iOS 6; you’ll need to download the album or a playlist that contains it.
Make sure you set the recording window to Automatic, to ensure that the song you import doesn’t get cut off at the default eight bars. Then tap on the Loops browser, tap on the Music tab, find the song you’re after, and then tap and hold on it to add it to your GarageBand project.
Trim the piece of the song you’d like to use as a ringtone, export it following the steps outlined above, and you’ll be good to go—and $1.29 richer, to boot.
Turn Off Repeating Text Message Alerts on iPhone
The default iOS setting for iPhones is for message alerts to chime with the text tone twice, in a two minute interval. While the repeat text message alert sounds, notifications, and vibrations on the iPhone can be helpful for some people, those of us who are basically glued to our phones tend to experience quite the opposite and end up finding the repetitive alerts a nuisance, since it can seem like you’re being inundated with texts when you’re not. We’ll cover how to turn that off so that the alert never repeats at all, meaning if you get one text message, you will only get one alert sound and one notification for it.
How to Disable Repeat Message Alerts
This setting will apply to all incoming text messages (SMS) and iMessages:
Open Settings and go to “Notifications”
Choose “Messages” and scroll down to find and select “Repeat Alert”
Select “Never” from this list and close out of Settings for changes to take effect
The next time you receive an SMS or message, you’ll only hear about the chime once and feel the vibration once. This can represent a huge relief and it also removes the false-positives that occur as a side effect of the double notification. Just about every iPhone owner has experienced this before, where one text or iMessage has been received yet because of the repetitive alert sounds and vibration, you think you’re getting barraged with even more text messages than you really are. This instills a sense of urgency and questions like “is this an emergency?” swirl through your mind, particularly when you can’t take the time to check the iPhone for whatever reason because you’re in a meeting, classroom, or the phone is in another room, and those repetitive alerts suddenly make you overly aware of the need to check the device. This creates a mental distraction, and for the aforementioned reasons anyone who basically always has their iPhone with them should take the time to disable the repeat alert sounds and notifications, so you can get some peace of mind and actually know if you’re getting sent multiple text messages or if it’s just the same one chiming repetitively in your pocket.
Of course there are other people who like the double-alert because it makes it easy to remember to respond to inbound messages, and makes it harder to forget that they received a text in the first place. For those users, I would still recommend turning off the repeat alerts and instead focus on using unique text tones to identify message senders by sound, because in a fairly short amount of time you will begin to associate a sound with a person and that makes it easier to remember since the once-generic text sound is now specific to contacts. There are exceptions though, and the especially forgetful or hard of hearing may find the opposite advice to be true, where even more repetitive alerts end up as good thing. As usual, choose settings that are right for your use case.
Also, an unrelated side effect can be a slightly increased battery life for the iPhone because the device isn’t using it’s screen to light up on the second alert, and the vibration engine only gets activated once.
Assign Unique Ringtones to Contacts on iPhone to Know Who’s Calling
You can make your iPhone life a lot easier by assigning custom ringtones to contacts. This makes it easy to determine who’s calling before you even see the caller ID, letting you either rush to answer the phone or continue snoozing and ignore the call. With how easy it is to make ringtones for the iPhone, it also provides a great way to differentiate inbound calls from the common ringtones you hear elsewhere too.
Here’s how to assign a custom ringtone to contacts:
Open Contacts on the iPhone and tap the person you want to set the custom ringtone for
Tap “Edit” in the corner, then scroll down to “ringtone” and tap it
Select from the list of bundled ringtones, or one you made yourself then tap “Save”
Repeat for other contacts as desired
Assigning a completely unique tone to each contact is generally too time consuming, but a happy medium is setting unique tones to people on your favorites lists.
Now anytime you get an incoming phone call from the users with custom ringtones set, you’ll know by the sound alone. It’s also a great strategy to field incoming calls from people you don’t want to hear from, and it works for everyone so long as they are not blocking their caller ID.
From the same Contacts editing field you can also set a custom text tone for each contact, and you can even make your own versions of those too.
Change Screen Brightness & Stop the Display Auto-Adjusting on iPhone
The iPhone and iPod touch displays have precise brightness controls, and thanks to a light sensor, they’re smart enough to automatically adjust brightness depending on environmental lighting conditions. But it’s not always perfect especially if you use it at night, and if you’re in frequently changing lighting conditions that behavior can reduce battery life. To put an end to those auto-adjustments and to change the brightness level yourself, you can head to the iOS Settings app:
Open Settings and tap on “Brightness & Wallpaper”
Adjust the brightness slider for immediate response
Flip “Auto-Brightness” to OFF to have the screen stop automatically adjusting brightness
Combining the adjustment with Auto-Brightness OFF means the screen will stay at the exact level that has been set by the slider, it won’t change depending on exterior lighting conditions. Similarly, setting the brightness level with the slider and keeping auto enabled makes it function as an upper limit, whereas the screen will not go brighter than what is indicated.
The screen can be extremely bright which makes it possible to easily read in direct sunlight, but for most uses and for a longer battery life you’ll find a setting as low as 1/3 or 1/4 is more than adequate for indoor and outdoor situations.,
This is actually a fairly decent way to keep battery life consistent, since maintaining a tolerably lower brightness level can have a significant impact on battery life of the iphone and just about all other mobile devices, and preventing the really bright upward swings will draw less power. You may want to adjust the auto-locking feature as well, which can also dim the screen and turn it off after a specified period of time of inactivity.
iPad and iPhone owners know that adjusting the screen brightness is not a universal process across iOS devices, and on iPad the brightness level is always accessible in the task bar. Why that feature isn’t the same on an iPhone or iPod touch as well is a bit of a mystery, but future versions of iOS may correct that.
Listen to Music While on Phone Calls to Get Through Boring Hold Times
Being put on hold is never fun, and for some particularly busy companies that hold time can easily end up being 30-45 minutes of waiting and twiddling your thumbs to talk to whatever representative awaits you on the other end. If you’re lucky, they’ll put on some lame hold music or have some repetitive “we’ll be right with you” line that comes up every few minutes (or unlucky, depending on the tunes) to sort of help pass the time. A better way to pass the time of being put on hold awaits you on the iPhone, and to get through long waits or some incredibly boring phone conversation, you can play your own music or podcast instead, that way you’ll at least be listening to something you chose.
Playing music or any other audio while on a phone call is easy:
While on an active phone call, tap the Home button to get to the home screen
Open the Music app, find any song or podcast, and press play
Return to the phone call screen by tapping the green titlebar
Music (or any audio) plays immediately, but instead of outputting through the external speakers, it will be played through the ear speaker. This prevents the music from being piped through to the other end of the phone, and that means the other end will never know you’re jamming to Milli Vanilli to make it through their tortuously boring phone calls and wait times.
You can also play streaming music services like Pandora or Last.fm while on a call, but your iPhone will either need to be connected to a wi-fi network or with a service provider that allows simultaneous data and voice transmission, like AT&T.
If you want to try this out yourself, call a random 800 number that you’re all but guaranteed to never speak to a human for, like any standard overpriced US internet service provider with bad service. Have fun!
Dial International Phone Numbers from iPhone the Easy Way Using the +Plus Prefix
Dialing international phone numbers can be done by prefixing a phone number with the current countries exit code (011 for USA), the country code of the number you are calling, and then the phone number you are dialing. This ends up being a fairly long string of numbers that is infinitely confusing to those who don’t dial foreign numbers often, like 011 86 10 XXXX 5555. Another much simpler approach is to use the plus + prefix and the country code, skipping the exit code completely and leading to a shorter number and less dialing frustration.
There’s not much to this, it’s really just a matter of accessing the + key which is hidden by default on the iPhone’s number pad:
Press and hold 0 for a second or two until a the + plus sign appears to replace the 0
Enter the international phone number and call as usual
Much easier, right?
Taking the earlier example, drop the 011 and instead use: +86 10 XXXX 5555. That is usually how you’ll find international numbers written anyway, so it makes a lot more sense to use the plus sign than fiddling around with the unnecessary country codes which seem to trip people up frequently. If you intend to save an international number to your iPhone Contacts list, prefix it with a + and you’ll be able to dial it as any other number – and here’s the best part, it works even if you change the SIM card while you are traveling abroad.
Unless you have a generous international plan through your cellular provider, you probably won’t want to aimlessly test this one since you could wind up with a hefty long distance bill.
Heads up to MacWorld for the + dialing tip, they point out some US carriers won’t even accept the 011 exit codes with numbers which basically forces the usage of the plus number prefix anyway.