New Sound Settings on the iPhone

The iPhone’s sound settings have gone through a complex evolution as both the iOS updates and the design changes have made the interaction between software and hardware unique year by year.  With the iOS 6 the iPhone’s sound settings need a more in depth look to get a sense of how to work with them as they are integrated in the growing list of mobile features.  Here is a look at how to use the new sound settings on the iPhone.

To start, go into Settings and head down to Sounds, which is directly under General.  Once you get in here you will see that it is broken down to a few basic sections.  The very top of which is actually for when and how you want it to vibrate.  There are On / Off switches for whether it should vibrate on a ring or if it should vibrate when it is on silent mode.

These settings are, of course, keeping in mind the manual hardware setting for sound that is on the side of the iPhone.  On the left hand side you will find a switch that will turn the ringer On or Off, with its alternate being vibration.  If the small switch is moved toward the screen then it will allow for the ringtone or sounds in general, and if it is moved away then it will turn this off.  Directly below that switch is the volume buttons for the ringer, which you can turn up or down.  This means that you can, conceivably, have the ringer on yet down so low that you could not hear it.


The next setting below the Vibration section is actually directly about the Ringer and Alerts, and there is a secondary area where you can set the volume.  This time it is along a bar where you can specify more directly exactly what volume you want.  Below that is the Change with Buttons switch, which is what allows for the side volume buttons to even work.  If it is switched to Off then you will only be able to change the volume in the Sound section of the settings.


Below that is going to be the largest section, called Sounds and Vibration Patterns.  Here you will set your Ringtone, Text Tone, New Voicemail, New Mail, Sent Mail, Tweet, Facebook Post, Calendar Alerts, and Reminder Alerts.  Ringtone ends up being somewhat different in terms of options, but for the rest there is a common list of possible alert sounds that you can choose from.

The best option here is to actually differentiate these with different sounds so that you can begin to tell them apart when they happen.  This will allow you to differentiate Facebook Posts from iMessages without even looking at your iPhone.  These options are not, however, as useful when you have turned off sound and are operating primarily with vibration.


At the very button there will be On / Off switches for Lock Sounds and Keyboard Clicks.  These are relatively benign settings, but you may want to turn off Keyboard Clicks if you intend on texting or emailing in quiet locations such as a classroom or boardroom.


Sounds is often where you can do much of the customizing with the iPhone since it will be set to your own pattern of use.  You can, for example, set each of the possible alerts so that they have no alert type whatsoever.  This could mean that you simply want to wait to look at your phone to see if you have any texts or Tweets.  You could, on the other hand, set vibration for some and sound for others.  This really depends on where you want to use your iPhone, but for most settings it looks like vibration or silence is the only thing that will be acceptable.

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