iOS 5 finally gets custom notification tones

iPhone users will finally get to create their own custom notification tones

Apple this morning unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5, particularly focussing on an overhauled notifications system, an 'iMessage' service, wireless syncing, a 'Newsstand' app, and Twitter integration. However, one of the 200 new iOS 5 features overlooked by many media outlets is custom notification tones for SMS, e-mail and voicemail sounds. Hurrah!

How to create custom notifications in iOS 5

Long suffering iPhone users will finally get to create their own custom notification tones, in a similar manner to creating custom ring tones. In addition to SMS, e-mail and voicemail sounds, custom tones can also be created and assigned to calendar alerts.

Apple will also introduce custom vibration patterns in iOS 5. Though we are yet to see this in action, we presume you should be able to set different vibration patterns for different notifications. Currently, iPhone users can only select a default Apple tone and vibration alert for these notifications.

Among the other 200 new features in iOS 5 you will find a split keyboard for the iPad (allowing users to type with two hands), the use of multitouch gestures to flick between running applications, hourly weather forecasts, typing shortcuts, and personal dictionary support.

Curiously, the iPad application on the iPhone is now split into two apps — music and video, so the iPad app is no longer used.

Are you happy with the upgrades in iOS 5? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags smsApplemobile phonesiphone 4iPhonesmartphonesiOS 5

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World




I've been waiting for this since Day 1! :D

About Time


I have been googling non-stop. thank you so, so much for covering this. I care about this so much more than all of the other features.



Is this custom user-made, user-supplied messagetones, or custom tones from a list of default choices?

Ross Catanzariti



Hi Jengajam,

My understanding is that you can make custom notification tones just as you can make custom ring tones currently.



Sounds interesting. That's the current dealbreaker for me, plus bad jailbreak experience. Fingers crossed.

I hope end-users still have the right to make their own tones with applications like GarageBand. iTunes sold 99c ringtones, didn't they. What a "success" that was.



why is there always a hitch with the iphone. all i want is to take my own wav file and make it my SMS sound. why must they give with one hand and take with the other. so now they are giving us finally "custom" sms tones (which i could do with my first dumb nokia back in 1999 12 years ago) but now we cant use OUR OWN SOUNDS it must be from a list that is decreed from Apple? honestly its like they are being purposely stubborn on this single feature for some stupid reason...just give us the feature so the rest of the world does not need to jailbreak our phones to do it already...

Ross Catanzariti


Hi Dan,

Thanks for the link, that is Interesting. Though you are supposed to buy regular ringtones from the iTunes store too, but you can still create custom tones. Hopefully the notification tones work the same way.



One of the reason I dump my iphone 4 and went back to Blackberry because I couldn't assign special alert for email. I do production support so I'd like to get alert of potential issue for all servers and I was able to do that with BB, not iphone (unless I buy an app, but I tested that app and it was crappy).

Hopefull this IOS 5 will win me back and thanks for the post.



I've played with this and so far you can't assign specific alerts for contacts when it comes to emails, only SMS. I agree, it sucks.



Like iOS 5 but during migration to MobileMe and iCloud my contacts aren't "talking" with the messaging app, so every text I get just shows the phone number. I've tried just about every scenario and have finally come to the conclusion that there is an invisible concact group that can only be accessed by creating a new contact from the texting app and then searching it in iPhone search.



What a hoax. How simple is it to allow this to happen? I don't want 11ty more pure crap iphone tones that I can assign to a contact, I want to use my OWN tone. Seriously, is it that hard? I can take credit card payments on my phone but I can't create a custom sms alert? Hahaha ya gotta laugh.




I'm in the same boat. I do prod support and the only things stopping our enterprise from going to iOS is the lack custom alerts. This seems like a such a no-brainer to me but until this happens, I have to carry around the bb and the iphone. Lame.



@ birdman
@ blackout
i so agree! seems like all the other phones even very very old ones have this option but not the iphone. its the only reason i still think if i should get it or not.



ALL CUSTOM RINGTONES can be made with ( APPS -and search RINGTONE MAKER )its FREE

make sure you click on #Help* once you have saved the custom file ( it has a great easy video of saving it to you phone correctly ,,,,,,enjoy



You can use created ringtones now to be as a text tone....i just did it myself with the new software for works great. This is the ONLY thing I didnt like about the iPhone. But now that this works, i am so happy. Maybe flash video will follow soon.



How Stacy? My created ringtones only show up in ringtones not in text tones



it seems that you can create your own ringtones but for some reason some of my created ringtones dont show up on the phone even though it is loaded-- a couple of the ones i created do show *shrug*



Just use it downloads the tones right to your itunes.



Very disappointed in iTunes. I lost my ringtones on my iPhone, but they are still in my library. They won't sync to my phone. I paid money for them. Not happy.



Hmmm, I just figured out that my iPhone 4 has the issue (described at 21) but my 3GS works fine...



I got my ringtones copied to my iPhone, the iPhone plays them without a problem, I can select them as my standard ringtone, no problem there... But the phone refuses to use that ringtone. It picks the first standard ringtone that came with the iOS... :-(



i downloaded 5.0 and my custom ringtones, which worked fine in previous ios will not copy to my iphone but are listed in itunes...what gives and does anyone have a fix to get them on my iphone?



hi i have a question does anyone out there knows how to mute the spelling correction with the ios5?



Rubbish! Android had this feature straight out of the box.



I'm having the same issues as Nicole. All my purchased ringtones were transferred to my Itunes library, but they won't sync back to my Iphone, so half of my ringtones are missing on my phone now, though they are still in my Itunes. Also, I purchased one of the new alert tones in Itunes for my text messages, but it's not working. However, all of the other ringtones I still have and the factory set alert tones work when I receive text messages. Not cool. Not cool at all.



Can you customize what you see on notification bar? I currently just see weather, calendar & stock news.



I'd like to find a way to make the Facebook notification sound different than the text sound.



Like a few others above, some of my PAID FOR ringtones are in my iTunes library, but are unable to sync to my iPhone. Very frustrating. Anyone with a fix?




After some further review with the ringtones, I was able to find a forum that said to remove ALL ringtones via sync and then to reinstall "sync ringtones" and apply. This fixed my ringtone problem.



Its great except that i cant delete contacts or assign individual ringtones to contacts.



Mark is spot on. I unchecked my custom ring tones, synced the phone. Checked the ringtones and then pressed sync and hey presto there they appear!



any suggestions on how to fix contacts? I am unable to edit, add, or delete any contacts!



U can make ur own sounds from phonezoo or wutever then just drag it to itunes and sync it to itunes.



Yes u can change wut appears in the notification bar.... Just go to settings..... Then notifications. Then it says "in notification center" and u can change whats in it.



For those who don't see their paid ringtones, just uncheck sync ringtones... sync iphone... check sync again on all ringtones.... sync phone again and all of mine come back. Hope this helps.



I had the same problem that my ringtones would not appear in my phone. I stopped the ringtone sync to remove them from my phone and then synced the ringtones again and they appeared in my phone. I hope this is the only problem with the new operating system...



Thanks for the info. I had the same ringtone problems as N & J. Your solution just worked for me. Thanks! I was beginning to get very annoyed, haha...



@Stephanie - THANKS for the tip!



Why i unable to make custom ringtone for my iphone 4 iOS 5



I am absolutely LOVING the new update!!! It is awesome!! The only thing that bums me out is that I cannot seem to get 2 ringtones I had previously purchased onto my phone. They both show up in my iTunes library, but they are nowhere to be found on my phone. Anyone else have this problem???



I have done the steps ie uncheck Sync ringtone, sync, check all the ringtones and apply. The ringtones were still not copied to my ipone as the message appear "the files were not found". Anyone know how to fix it ?



I upgraded and lost all my ringtones , can't sync them off the computer , have to pay again, then as I was excited about the custom SMS alerts , I paid for one and now it is in my purchases but I can't use it as a text tone WTF ? Does anyone know what the go is ?



I was happy with custom tones, now this morning I get a email and i heard the default tone. I checked the sound settings and there are no custom sounds nor can you select them any more. The only option is to buy tones and it does not work. I have not done a sync in over a week so this update had to happen over wifi, I also do not use the cloud, so someone forced the update and I am angry. this makes me want to jail break my phone I have had this same email alert for 12 years on various accounts, this forced update makes me very angry. Has any one else had this happen? 12/10/11



I am having same problem is Ali I purchased a text tone and it shows up in purchased but not in my tones in itunesso it won't sync to my phone any suggestions!!



i have some problem with my iphone4 updated ios5, i cant install lockdown pro and ringtone maker by my iphone ...
hope:) ull help me know soon thx



I've heard a lot of discussions about these new anti-online-piracy organizations as ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA. I'm just wondering, why does everyone think its so bad? I mean; its just to prevent people from doing something illegal and from being thieves. I also see a lot of exaggeration when it comes to the punishment. Rumors, saying that you can get 50 years of prison for sharing files, that is not true! Also, as far a i know, its only the person sharing the files who will get punished, not the streamer/downloader, even though that's illegal too and you could get punished for that as well.
Why does everyone think that its OK to steal on the internet, when they would never even think about stealing from a store? In theory is the same action being done.

Do you think its OK to steal from the internet?
Dont you feel sorry for the people who are loosing a lot of money from your stealing? (No, not just a little bit, A LOT!)



How do I get the iPhone to ring and vibrate for e-mails from my work account in box but remain silent for e-mails from my personal e-mail inbox?



i wish we can lock our message individually

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?