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iOS 4.2 features: Set individual text message tone

iOS 4.2 for iPhone seems poised to finally provide yet another hugely requested feature -- set individual text message tones.

Nice to see Apple knocking things off the nagging omissions list. Do I even have to ask if you're going to be using this?


Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • not to thrilled with this. i want the ability to make sms tones, not just assign them. idk y we aren't allowed to this considering we can make ringtones. lets face it, its been 4 years...the tri-tone...gettin really old
  • As much as I wish we had this eons ago, I would agree with Justin: I want to set my own tones, from what I want to hear, not just what is available for me to choose from!
    Kick Butt
  • lame
  • Do they have more text tones in 4.2?? I think everyone is more interested in that. Well, not only new ones, but the ability to make them, too.
  • agree with former statements. Apple really needs to allow more choices for tones. Almost everyone I work with has iPhone and when one of us gets a message or alert of any kind it's almost always Tri Tone. I miss this from BlackBerry which had tons of options.
  • We can only hope for the ability to add text tones as well. Love iRinger, but would love to have the option of creating alert tones. Are there new notification tones in 4.2?
  • Will they be fixing the sensor problem? I'm tired of hanging up on ppl w/ my face!
  • Great, now apple should focus little bit on some new features for the message app like a cancel button and a text later option too where you set a time to send a pre written text...
  • There is also a new logo for voice memos.
  • @Matt
    Would be nice if you could give a screen capture.
    I still can't understand why Apple won't allow us to use custom ringtones. I can barely put up with tri-tone and just hate the rest.
  • I have power rangers text tone... JAILBREAK FTW!
  • Text tones... Really?
    How about in-app texting? I couldn't give less of a damn about giving my contacts individual texting noises when I can just see who's texted me when I look at the phone. I'd much rather be able to respond to a text mid-video; or in the middle of using an app that still has no multitasking feature.
  • 9 years later. it's sad to say that i had this feature on my jailbroken 3GS until i got the 4. i miss it terribly. i'm really more curious if different tones will be available. wishful thinking i guess.
  • This could be cool. I have made suggestions to Apple with every phone, and I even emailed Steve, (no reply though). If they sold text tones, they could make millions, since 5 of the 6 suck completely..... Please let us know if there are new ones of an option to buy.
  • About time!!! I really hope this is a true new feature!
  • To be fair, the screenshot nor the article confirmed or denied the ability to have custom tones, only that we can now set text tones to specific people. So we might be able to use custom tones.
  • How many of you guys hate the sms notification pop up window?
  • @Tsb3 I'm not sure alot of people would hate it but their should be an option to turn it off.
  • NOPE!!! WON'T be using it UNLESS I can also add custom SMS tones.
    (there's only ONE SMS tone I can stand, as is)
    (p.s. Jailbreak FTW yeah I know; didn't wanna go there)
  • now we need more then 5 text tones and we need to be able to make our own! (without jailbreak)
  • Well it's about damn time.
  • Apple is giving us such minor improvements. Text tones? How about an improved messaging app like BiteSMS. Now that is a well made app. The makers of that app showed Apple how it's done. .....BOOM!
  • The words "too little too late" comes to mind. I just got a iPhone 4 and I am really suprised what was lacking in previous iPhones and what still is lacking. Seems like JB is the only way to go with a iPhone. And since you can now install it OVA and it's legal, why not give it a shot. Otherwise, the phone is kinda boring and lacking too many basic features. And for seemingly no good reason.
  • come on people, tones are small issues, i wont give up iphone just because of this, and go back to the laggy symbian and androids.
  • Hadn't realised there were so many 12 year olds with iPhones. Customs SMS tones, grow up!
    I for one think the ones are classic and understated and do the job perfectly. If theres one thing that gets my back up it's crap SMS tones that people feel the need to inflict on others...
  • It looks to me like you probably can use a custom tone for SMS alerts. Can TiPB get in touch with 9to5mac and confirm this? For many of this this is a potentially very important feature.
  • I don't care if I can set individual text tones unless I can create my own text tones. I would think you would have to be able to in order to set individual text tones because there aren't that many text tones in the first place
  • If this doesn't include custom SMS I won't be using it.
    @Mephisto I'm honestly surprised you find them understated, nothing is more classic and understated than the simple Sony Ericsson 'click' SMS tone. Largely, the Apple SMS tones are shrill, vulgar and grating.
    And besides, custom ringtones aren't just the realm of 12 year olds. Everywhere I go I hear the same iPhone SMS tone, usually either tri-tone or horn, and you see twelve people all reach for their pockets. Custom SMS tones prevent that. It's a no brainer, I'm surprised it hasn't been there from the start.
  • Wow really gay tonefx all the way!!!
  • Whiney babies!
  • Wow ! What a news !
    Today is 1998 isn't it ?
  • Surely we'll be able to select from our installed custom tones
  • I'm not too thrilled with this at all. I want to be able to change the ringtone for sms text msgs period not assign a specific one to each person. Too time consuming if you ask me. But whatever I guess.
  • Hmm, ok I have 70+ contacts that I text regularly. Dividing that by the 6 lame SMS tones that we are stuck with = 11.6 of my friends will each get the same tone! How awesome! Wake up Apple.
  • Agree with what others have said--how about custom SMS tones? I just seems Apple is trying to tease customers with small features. This is really sad. Then they wonder why people jailbreak their phones. Someone should come out with a statistic that shows the percentage of people with (and which phones) are jail broken more often. It would be no surprise that Apple probably tops that list.
  • So wait this does include just changing the default one right? I not so much want to set individual ones, I just want to be able to change the one for everyone!
  • It's a start, maybe we'll get custom sms tones in 5.0
  • im with david , they must be opening this up to custom tones as well. It really doesn't make sense to make the change and not do something useful with it
  • Great... now I have to listen to no-talent, illiterate, hip-hopping retÁrd thugs when people receive texts, too. :roll:
  • @Mephisto You really feel that way? I'm surprised.
    I'm with @Maniacfive. It's not that I truly WANT to customize my SMS tones but when a bunch of friend of mine go for wings/beer once a week it's usually 9 of us. 8 of us have iPhones... 8 of us use Tri-Tone for our SMS notification. It's a bit rediculous when one of us gets a text and 8 people get their phones out. It's more annoying than anything.
    Though, you're right. I gaurantee in 5 years from now I'm going to be putting Miramba (SP?) and Tri-Tone on my phone then to have that great nostalgic feeling. Haha!
  • LOL and agreed @fastlane
  • Is this tone feature available for 3G?
  • And Watch, last minute, this TOO will be cut for the iphone 3g.
  • I want CONTACT PICS in the texting app, when you're texting people. There are so many text apps that do that, and have backgrounds AND let you choose ringtones for individuals. Apple really needs to get their texting app in gear or allow us to set another app as the default one for texting!! :(
  • Also, when is this coming out?
  • Needs
    Ability to add in your own SMS tones (even if it's through the AppStore..hello ca-ching!!!)
    Ability to change SMS bubbles an wallpapers!!!!!!!!!! It would seem almost all the other messaging apps have this feature now except apples native SMS app. Maybe no one there's texts to care about the little things.
    Does anyone know where we can go to post suggestions to apple?
  • Hey, what about changing the email sound!! I would love to use Iphone as a workphone, but I can't because I need to wake up when I got mail. I'm working in a IT department and sometimes I'm on call. Now I have to change phone that week every month. Grow up Apple and give us som basic phone features. My Nokia from -97 is more capable than "the most sofisticated phone in the world"
  • Could it be then new AppleTV remote? If the new apple tv is going to run apps it's going to need an iPad/iPod like remote with screen. They aren't going to add a mouse to iOS.
  • I just have to check out the possibility to have individual tones for sms.. Im a volunteer firefighter and our alarms come by sms. Its very important to be able to know fast which sms is an alarm and which isnt. Ive been waiting such a phone for many years !
    Ability for customized tones would probably make me buy the phone immediatey
  • Easy to make your own text tones. Just create, convert, and ssh over an existing text-tone. C'mon "Horn" sucks, you won't miss it.
  • This is brilliant news as just like vff Finland I have some texts that I need to open straight away and others that can wait if I am in the middle of something. So for me, being able to assign individual tones to contacts is a massive step forward. As for those who just want to set their own text tones, a quick google will bring up hundreds of replies telling you how to replace the default ones with your own. I have used my own for the last 2 years and no my phone is not jailbreaked.
  • Gracias por los comentarios. Me encanta tu sitio, sigue así!
  • Doesn't farking work with 3GS does you muthar farking cork soakers at Apple. Eat a shyt and die you karnts.
  • Rik, I've looked and looked and looked and can't find out how to get my own custom text tones without jailbreaking. Can you point me in the right direction?
  • Does work with the 3gs just click on edit first
  • I just updated my 3GS and I can assign different tones but I thought it was suppose to update and give me 15 new ones.....
  • I have the 3gs and can't find the new text tones? Wheres the new 17 new tones?
  • u have to go to a contact, click edit that contact and right under where u assign a ringtone it has where u assign a text tone. its only assigned from the 5 or 6 they have you still cant make your own
  • My SMS tone won't work on ios 5 can any help me thanks