How can I change the SMS alert tones on my iPhone?
May 6, 2010 11:12 AM   Subscribe

How can I change the SMS alert tones on my iPhone?

Is there a way to easily change the text alert tones available through the iphone's default sms/messages app? I live in the Bay Area and it's so saturated with iphones that I hear the same sms alert tone that I have programmed for my phone on half a dozen others' phones every time I ride the train. I'm also just sick of the same tones over and over again.

Any advice? I've heard you can do things like this by jailbreaking the iphone, but I'd like to avoid that. I've searched the app store for relevant apps with no success. I did see one tutorial video that used ssh to manipulate iphone files, but I haven't tried that yet--thought I'd ask you guys first. Thanks!
posted by prior to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's in Settings / Sounds / New Text Message.

You get a whopping seven choices. Go nuts!
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2010 mean besides those. Never mind.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:19 AM on May 6, 2010

Settings > Sounds > New Text Message/Ringtone

There are only 6 available sounds for texts, but I've never heard any of them used but the default, so that may help.

The other default sounds for ringtones are pretty much downright unbearable. You may have better luck just purchasing one you like from iTunes.
posted by clearly at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry, I wasn't clear. I mean besides the built-in six or seven text tone options.
posted by prior at 11:22 AM on May 6, 2010

Snarky answer: This is what you get for owning an iPhone.

Non-snarky answer: Fairly certain you're going to have to either 1) Jailbreak the iPhone, or 2) Wait until Mr. Jobs decides to grace the masses with new sounds.
posted by InsanePenguin at 11:27 AM on May 6, 2010

You can add your own ringtones without jailbreaking. As for text message tones, the only way is via jailbreaking... and even then you can only replace the original six if my understanding is correct.

I've never messed around with jailbreaking. The lack of custom SMS tones is really the only reason I would, but the promise of having to re-break every time they update the OS irks me enough to have avoided it since I got my iPhone.
posted by Gainesvillain at 11:30 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah jailbreaking is the only way right now.

On the plus side though, the latest released version of the OS (3.1.3) is *increadibly* easy to jail break right now (literally download this program, connect your iPhone to your computer, run the program, done) [link] - so maybe give that a try and see if it works for you well enough. If not, you can always restore the original stuff and go back to your 6 choices.
posted by ish__ at 11:48 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's possible that the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 release (probably next month, publicly) will allow custom text message tones. I wouldn't guarantee it, but Apple has been loosening their death-grip on a number of other highly frustrating restrictions, so it's not out of the question.

So you could either wait a month to see if the new firmware allows it, or just jailbreak now. As was mentioned, you can always go back to stock Apple firmware after jailbreaking [properly].
posted by sprocket87 at 1:20 PM on May 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all your comments. I've jailbroken my phone using Spirit, and am now in the exciting process of decorating my iphone. Cydia sure does crash a lot, though, huh?
posted by prior at 10:29 PM on May 6, 2010

Best/only way I've got cydia not to crash regularly (but it'll still crash) is to be ridiculously patient and slow with it. If there is any chance its doing anything in the background, wait until it finishes, and then wait another 10 seconds. Don't scroll through the package listings too fast. Don't even bother with the queueing install/remove stuff, just install packages one at a time. But yeah, it crashes a lot :(
posted by ish__ at 6:04 AM on May 7, 2010

You could try Rock, an alternative jailbreak-app insataller which many find to be more stable than Cydia.
posted by sprocket87 at 9:12 AM on May 14, 2010

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