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Have you ever wished there was a way to know who was sending you a text or giving you a phone call when your iPhone is on silent mode, resting in your pocket or purse? You hear the buzz, but by default you’ll have no way to differentiate that from anyone else. It turns out there is a way to determine who is calling while the iPhone is on silent, and that’s achieved by creating and setting custom vibration alerts for contacts in a similar way as you can set unique ringtones or text tones for contacts.

Set a Custom Vibration Alert for Individual Contacts

Set a unique vibration for a user

  • Open Contacts or the Phone app, and select a contact you wish to create a custom vibration alert for
  • Tap “Edit” then locate the same section where you select unique ringtones and text tones, but tap “Vibration” instead
  • Scroll through and choose a pre-selected vibrating sequence and choose one

Custom vibrations list on iPhone

Once a vibration is selected, you’ll ‘feel’ a preview of it and it’ll be set as the default. If you wish, go back and set another custom vibration for both the ringtone and text tone. It can be helpful to choose custom vibrations that feel similar, maybe one longer than the other, for the same contact.

Creating Your Own Unique Alert Vibrations

Another option is to create completely unique vibrations, this makes it

Create a new custom vibration alert

  • Back at the Contacts > Edit > Vibration screen, go to the very bottom under “Custom” and choose “Create New Vibration”
  • Tap “Record” then tap on the screen in a pattern, each tap corresponds to a brief vibration, tapping and holding causes a longer vibration
  • Tap “Stop” then “Play” to see how it feels
  • When satisfied, choose “Save” and name the custom vibration

Create and save a custom vibration alert for contacts

Creating your own vibrations is kind of fun, the screen turns into an interactive vibrating pool of sorts complete with ripples, demonstrating how long each vibration lasts.

Just as before, saving and setting a custom vibration will be automatically set as the new default for that contact.

Repeat the process for other contacts, setting unique vibrations for each user. Technically you can create a new vibration alert for every individual in a contacts list, but it’s really best used in moderation for a few important people or numbers that you want to have a unique alert for.