New to the iPhone and curious how to change your text message (SMS) tone? Apple is not overly generous when it comes to customizing alert tones on your iPhone. Ring tones are completely customizable but email tones can't be changed from the default unless you jailbreak. Text messages are somewhere in the middle -- you can personalize them but not customize them (yet). Read on after the break to find out how!.

Changing the default SMS/Text tone

To change the tone you hear for all incoming texts:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Sounds
  3. Tap Text Tone
  4. Choose new tone (A preview of the tone will play when tapped)

That’s all there is to it. All new text messages will trigger the new tone when they arrive.

Changing an individual contact's SMS/Text tone

To set a personalized SMS/Text tone for an individual contact:

  1. Launch the Contacts app (or Phone app and choose the Contacts tab)
  2. Scroll to the contact you want to personalize
  3. Tap on their name to bring up their contact page
  4. Tap edit
  5. Tap on Text Tone
  6. Choose a new toneios_42_iphone_text_tone

Now, when that specific contact texts you, you'll get their specific tone. It's a great way to differentiate family from friends, for example.

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