How to make phone calls ring loudly, even on silent mode (on iPhone)
October 20, 2020 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I like to keep my phone mostly on vibrate/silent, BUT I need to get a loud notification for phone calls. I keep missing important phone calls if I don't carry my phone with me around the house literally everywhere (which I would strongly prefer to not do). If it's in the next room, I need some kind of audio notification.

Currently I put it on normal ring mode, then manually disable the chimes in each app for SMS/Messenger/etc. But this still leaves other apps, like Camera, where I can't turn off the awful shutter sound. (Apparently if you turn on Live Photos, the shutter sound goes away, but I don't want to default to Live Photos either.)

Do I need a standalone pager? Can I copy this functionality with another iPhone, even if it doesn't have a SIM card in it? Is there some Accessibility setting buried in menus that will allow loud ringtones despite vibrate/silent mode?

iPhone SE (2nd gen) running iOS 13.5.1.
posted by danceswithlight to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sideways solution: get yourself an Apple Watch or other smartwatch that pairs with the phone (e.g. Fitbit). Your phone can be on silent but your watch will still vibrate (and display the caller) when you get a call.
posted by yawper at 10:54 AM on October 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, and the phone calls are usually from organizations that show up as "Unknown" or "No Caller ID" so I can't just allow some select phone numbers to bypass the silent switch (though that is a useful feature for known contacts).
posted by danceswithlight at 10:59 AM on October 20, 2020

Can you put it on something that makes noise when the phone vibrates? I am picturing a metal box with screws or something in it that has a cover and you put your phone on top of it.
posted by soelo at 12:45 PM on October 20, 2020

Does this help?
posted by ersatzkat at 1:18 PM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have a $40 fitness band that vibrates when my phone rings. I have it specifically *because* it vibrates when my phone rings. (I'm not sure there is discernible fitness for it to measure this far into 2020, anyway.) It is otherwise unexciting, but it's also not $iMoney.

If you're an iPerson then you can make phone calls also ring on your iPad - which need not be on silent.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 2:47 PM on October 20, 2020

Response by poster: Do Not Disturb + allow calls from everyone = exactly what I've been looking for!

Thanks, ersatzkat :)
posted by danceswithlight at 2:49 PM on October 20, 2020

Response by poster: On further experimentation, the Do Not Disturb option still requires me to have the ringer on, which means I still have the dreaded camera shutter sound. Back to the drawing board.
posted by danceswithlight at 2:55 PM on October 20, 2020

Does your iPhone have a switch on the side to enable silent mode? That also mutes the camera shutter sound.
posted by conrad53 at 4:02 PM on October 20, 2020

Response by poster: If I flip the side switch to silent mode, I don't get an audible ring for incoming phone calls. Maybe you're saying that I could flip the switch every time I want to take a photo, but then I'd also have to remember to flip it back every time, which sounds improbable.
posted by danceswithlight at 4:19 PM on October 20, 2020

I have been wanting this forever. Emergency alerts are also muted by the switch, which seems crazy to me. One time I woke up and my phone had silently informed me about a nuclear "event" at a nearby power station during the night. It was retracted soon after as a mistake, but still... I should be able to hear those!
posted by Ryon at 4:51 PM on October 20, 2020

Try this:

- Mute switch set to "not muted".
- Volume down to 0. This stops the camera shutter sound.
- Under Settings > Sounds > Ringer and Alerts, set "Change with Buttons" to OFF. This means the phone call ring volume won't be affected by that 0-volume you just set.
- Now you can go down the list of different alerts (text tone, new voicemail, new mail etc.) and set them all to "None", and turn off Keyboard Clicks and Lock Sound.

On my iPhone (original SE, current version of iOS), as best I can tell, this configuration means the only thing still making a sound is an incoming call.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:33 AM on November 10, 2020

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