Custom Vibrations in iOS

(It’s been a while. So shoot me.)

One of the new features of iOS 5 is the ability to set not only custom ringtones for specific contacts, but also custom vibrations. This is a boon for those of us who tend not to notice the default “buzz, buzz, buzz”, and has the added benefit of really shocking your officemates when it rattles the table during a meeting.

To enable custom vibrations:

  1. Open your iPhone and tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap General > Accessibility, and in the Hearing section, enable Custom Vibrations.
To set a custom vibration for a contact:
  1. Open the Contacts app (or access Contacts from the Phone app).
  2. Open the desired contact, and tap Edit at the top right.
  3. In the same grouping with Ringtone, tap Vibration.
  4. Note the default is Alert. You can also choose from a selection of preconfigured “Standard” vibes: Alert, Heartbeat, Rapid, S.O.S. or Symphony. (Don’t know about you, but I’m finding “Heartbeat” a tad on the creepy side.)
  5. To set a custom vibe, slide down to Custom and tap Create New Vibration.
  6. In the New Vibration windows (Collective Soul should sue for royalties), tap the vibration pattern you want. Note that you can hold a tap down to sustain the vibration. Your custom vibe can be up to 10 seconds long. Tap Stop when you’re done.
  7. Not sure how it went? Tap Play to run your new vibe back. Tap Record to rerecord the vibe, or Save to keep it.
  8. Give your new vibe a name, tap Save again, and you’re done.

Your new vibe pattern will appear in the list of custom vibes, and can be added to any contact. To remove a custom vibration, open the Vibration assignment window, tap Edit, and delete the ones you no longer want.

You may also notice that you can specifically assign a vibration type of “None” to any contact. Handy, I suppose, for those people you really want to ignore.
There’s another handy tool in back in the Accessibility sheet. Immediately beneath the Custom Vibrations slider, not the LED Flash for Alerts setting. This blinks the LED camera flash when an alert arrives. Helpful if, like me, you’re prone to miss it when your iPhone vibrates.