iOS 4.2: Assigning SMS Text Tones

Apple’s just released iOS 4.2.1 update added high visibility features like AirPrint and AirPlay support to the iPhone, but it also added some easily overlooked features like Text Tones. Text Tones is a feature that let’s iPhone 4 users assign custom SMS alert tones to individual contacts in their Address Book, and it’s easy to set up.

Start by editing a contact

To add a Text Tone to a contact, do this:

  • Select a contact in the iPhone’s Address Book.
  • Tap Edit.
  • Select text tone.
  • Choose an alert tone from Text Tone list.
  • Tap Safe, then tap Done.

Select text tone to add a custom SMS alert

Text Tones makes it easy to know when specific people send you SMS messages without looking at your iPhone, which can make it easier to know when a message needs immediate attention and when it’s OK to leave a message waiting.

Text Tone alerts appear in the New list

The down side to the new feature is that you’re limited to the Text Tone alert sounds that Apple provides, and most of those sound, well, less than stellar. Some of the tones are also fairly long which only helps to add to their overtly annoying nature.

Had Apple included the standard SMS alert tones in Text Tones users would’ve had a much nicer selection of sounds to choose from. That said, Text Tones adds a feature many iPhone users have been hoping for, and maybe we’ll get better alert tones with a future update.