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6 gotta-know sound settings for Android and iOS

Ben Patterson | July 20, 2015
There's a lot more to the sounds on your Android phone or iPhone than the volume rocker on the side of your handset.

Keep the volume keys from changing your ringer/alert volume

Ever sleep through a too-quiet iPhone alarm? Here's a setting that might help.

Luckily, there's an iOS setting that will keep your iPhone or iPad volume buttons from changing the volume of your ringer or alerts. Yes, that means you'll have to dig into your settings to tone down the shrill whine of your iOS alarm clock, but that might be preferable to snoozing the morning away.

Tap Settings > Sounds, then flip off the Change with Buttons switch under the Ringer and Alerts heading.

Note: Unfortunately, there's no similar "Change with Buttons" setting for Android users, but you can still check and change your Android volume levels for alarms, ringers, and media by tapping Settings, Sound & Notification, and then adjusting the trio of volume sliders.

4. Set custom ringtones for specific contacts [Android & iOS]

You probably don't need to be told that you can pick different ringtones for the main Android and iOS ringers, or that you can, say, change the sound of a sent iOS Mail message from a "whoosh" to a "ping!"

Set custom tones for calls from specific contacts

You can assign different ringtones to specific contacts in your Android or iOS address book--one for your boss, another for Mom, and so on.

What may not be quite so obvious, though, is that you can assign different ringtones to specific contacts in your Android or iOS address book. In other words, you can set your handset so you hear one ringtone when your boss calls, and another when it's Mom.

For Android:

Open the Contacts app (or the People app, if your handset is still running on Android KitKat), then tap on a contact card.

Tap the Edit button (the one that looks like a little pencil), tap the three-dot menu button in the top corner of the screen, then tap the Set ringtone option.

Pick a new ringtone, and you're all set.

For iOS:

Open the Contacts app, tap on a contact, tap the Edit button, then scroll down to the Ringtone field.

Tap the current ringtone (probably set to Default) and pick a new one.

While you're at it, look just below to find the Text Tone setting; rinse and repeat to set a custom ringtone for incoming texts from the contact.

5. Make your phone vibrate (or not) when it rings or when you tap [Android & iOS]

So, does vibration count as a sound? It might (literally) feel that way when your phone is vibrating at the same time it's ringing, or if it gives off a little "buzz" along with your tap tones.


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