How to Assign a Text Tone to a Contact on iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Assigning a text tone to a contact on your iPhone is a straightforward process. First, open the Contacts app and select the contact you wish to assign a tone to. Next, tap “Edit” in the top right corner, then scroll down to “Text Tone.” Here, you can select from a variety of tones or even purchase new ones from the Tone Store. Once you’ve made your selection, tap “Done” to save your changes.

After completing this action, you’ll hear the chosen text tone whenever the contact sends you a message. This can help you identify who’s messaging you without even looking at your phone.


Ever been in a situation where you’re waiting for an important text, and every buzz or ding from your iPhone has you scrambling to check if it’s the one? Or maybe you want to know when your best friend texts you without having to sift through a barrage of notifications. Whatever the reason, customizing text tones for specific contacts can be a game-changer for managing your digital communication.

Assigning a unique text tone to a contact on your iPhone isn’t just a way to personalize your experience; it’s also practical. It allows you to prioritize your attention and respond accordingly, especially when you can’t look at your screen. This feature is not only relevant for personal use but also for professionals who may need to distinguish between work-related and personal messages quickly.

As an authority on iPhone customization, I can tell you that setting up text tones is an underused feature that can improve your day-to-day mobile interactions. Let’s dive into how to add a bit of flair and functionality to your iPhone messaging.

The Step by Step Tutorial on How to Assign a Text Tone to a Contact on iPhone

Before we begin, ensure that your iPhone’s iOS is updated to the latest version to avoid any compatibility issues. Now, let’s get to the steps.

Step 1: Open the Contacts app

Open the Contacts app on your iPhone.

The Contacts app is where all the magic happens. It’s your address book and the gateway to customize how you interact with each contact. Make sure you have the contact saved; if not, add a new contact before proceeding.

Step 2: Select the Contact

Select the contact you wish to assign a text tone to.

Once you’re in the Contacts app, scroll or search for the contact you want to customize. This is the person who will have their very own text tone on your iPhone.

Step 3: Tap “Edit”

Tap “Edit” in the top right corner of the contact’s information page.

Tapping “Edit” will allow you to modify the contact’s information and settings, including their text tone. This is where you start personalizing your communication.

Step 4: Scroll down to “Text Tone”

Scroll down and tap on “Text Tone.”

As you scroll down, you’ll find the “Text Tone” option nestled among the other settings. This is where you can choose from a list of available tones.

Step 5: Select a Tone

Select your desired text tone from the list or buy a new one from the Tone Store.

Here’s where you can get creative. You can choose a tone that reminds you of the person or one that stands out so you’ll know it’s them texting. If you don’t like the default options, the Tone Store has a plethora of choices.

Step 6: Tap “Done”

Once you have selected a text tone, tap “Done” to save the changes.

After selecting the tone, don’t forget to tap “Done.” Otherwise, your settings won’t be saved, and you’ll have to do it all over again.


PersonalizationAssigning text tones adds a personal touch to your interactions. It’s like assigning a ringtone, but for text messages.
PrioritizationWith custom text tones, you can prioritize messages by ear. You’ll know if it’s an urgent text from a family member or a casual message from a friend.
ConvenienceIt’s convenient to know who’s texting without looking at your phone, especially in situations where you can’t be on your phone, like meetings or dinners.


Limited OptionsThe default text tones on iPhone may not appeal to everyone, and purchasing new ones can add up.
Over-customizationAssigning a text tone to too many contacts can become confusing, defeating the purpose of the feature.
Notification OverloadIf you receive a high volume of texts, custom text tones can become overwhelming and possibly annoying.

Additional Information

While assigning text tones to contacts is a neat feature, there are a few more things to consider. First, keep in mind that custom text tones will only play when your iPhone is not in silent mode. So, if you rely on this feature to identify important messages, make sure your phone’s sound is on.

Secondly, consider the tone’s length and volume. You might want a longer, more noticeable tone for essential contacts and a shorter, subtler one for others. Also, remember that if you set a loud text tone, it could be disruptive in quiet settings, so choose wisely.

Lastly, don’t forget to back up your iPhone regularly. If you switch to a new phone or need to restore your current one, you’ll want to ensure that all your custom settings, including text tones, are saved. Using iCloud or iTunes for backup will save you the hassle of reassigning those tones later.


  1. Open the Contacts app.
  2. Select the contact.
  3. Tap “Edit.”
  4. Scroll down to “Text Tone.”
  5. Select a tone.
  6. Tap “Done.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use custom music as a text tone?

Yes, you can use custom music as a text tone. You’ll need to create a short clip of the song and save it as a tone using iTunes or GarageBand.

Will the custom text tone play when my iPhone is on vibrate?

No, custom text tones will only play when your iPhone’s sound is not muted.

Can I assign different text tones for the same contact?

No, you can only assign one text tone per contact. However, you can assign different ringtones for calls and text tones.

What happens if I delete a contact with a custom text tone?

If you delete a contact, the custom text tone will also be removed and will default back to your standard text tone.

Can I set text tones for group messages?

No, you cannot set custom text tones for group messages. The tone will be the default one you’ve set for messages.


Customizing text tones for individual contacts is a simple yet effective way to streamline your communication on your iPhone. Whether it’s for practical reasons or just for fun, it’s a feature that can make your life a little easier and more enjoyable.

Remember, it’s not just about the tones themselves, but about using them to enhance your connection with people. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how assigning a text tone to a contact can change your messaging game.

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