iOS 5 Tip: Custom Vibrations

October 8, 2011

IOS 5 is coming! iOS 5 is coming! And with it, a lot of people will have questions on how to enable this or that new feature.

[UPDATE: at this point, custom vibrations as set within each contact seems to only be for calls from that contact. Not for text messages or other notifications. This is very unfortunate …]

It may be confusing to turn on, create, and assign custom vibration patterns to different contacts. Here goes …

First, you need to turn the custom vibration patterns feature on. Go to Settings / General / Accessibility and scroll down to the Hearing portion. Flick on the option for “Custom Vibrations.”


Next, go to Settings / Sounds. Flick on both Vibrate options, then scroll to the bottom till you see “Vibration Patterns.” (NOTE: you won’t see this “Vibration Patterns” option if you haven’t turned on Custom Vibrations inside the Accessibility settings.)



Tap “Vibration Patterns” and you’ll then see a list of different vibration patterns. You can pick one of these or create your own.


What you select here will then become your default vibration pattern for the various alerts, unless you pick a different vibration pattern for a specific person.

Here, too, you can easily create your own patterns – i.e., three bursts of vibrations lasting 1/4 second each, or one long burst of vibrations lasting two seconds, or however you want it. Just tap on “Create New Vibration” and then you’ll see this screen with two greyed buttons, “Play” and “Stop.”


Press anywhere in the empty space where it says “Tap to create a vibration pattern” and you’ll feel vibrations lasting as long as you press down. Lift up, then press down and the vibrations will stop then resume. Then press “Stop,” and lo and behold, you’ve created your first custom vibration pattern! Press “Play” to play it back, “Record” to try again, “Save” to save this pattern (you’ll be asked to name this pattern), or “Cancel” to return to the previous screen.

You’re now ready to assign vibrations to specific persons! Here goes …

Head over to the Contacts app and tap the name of someone to which you’d like to award a custom vibration pattern. When viewing that person’s contacts details, tap “Edit” and scroll down to “Vibration.” (NOTE: your contact might not show this field unless you tap “Edit.”) Tap “Vibration” and then you can pick the vibration pattern you want to assign or even create a new pattern.


There you go! Have fun. Knock yourself out.


17 Responses to “iOS 5 Tip: Custom Vibrations”

  1. baconbuilt Says:

    Is it for Andriod? If yes, what apps?

    • proudgeek Says:

      This feature is only for iPhones, unfortunately (or fortunately, snicker). Aren’t there apps or tweaks for custom vibrations for Android? I admit I’m not as knowledgeable about Androids as I should be …

    • iOS is an operator system (it’s not application program or app) made by Apple that running ONLY for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The feature apply only to the system.

      Android is different gender of operator system, CANNOT running Apple’s hardware period.

      • proudgeek Says:

        Thanks, Sam!

      • ManePoster Says:

        Vibration settings are controlled by software, as for hardware, every phone since the nokia brick has a vibration module. Androids are able to set custom vibration setting data by downloading apps from Google Play, I currently use SMS popup, but searching “vibrate” on the google play store will give you dozens of options, many of them use specific interval arrangements, so you can customize your pattern to within millisecond precision.

  2. baconbuilt Says:

    As FYI, IPhone is android, too. I can see where you talk about. That feature include into that IPhone. I found other apps which can vibrate as long as I want. It will vibrate up to a min. Cool App.

    • proudgeek Says:

      In the past, if someone jailbroke the iPhone then there were tweaks for custom vibrations (like Vibrafications). I like how iOS 5 does this tho.

  3. […] are thou, keyboard shortcuts? Although not as hard to find as the custom vibrations feature, iOS 5′s Keyboard Shortcut feature can still be difficult to […]

  4. Brooke Says:

    I have a question.. i’ve done all the steps just like you’ve said but it doesn’t vibrate to what i have set it too. I want to set it to heartbeat but it still does the standard vibration. When i go in to select it my phone makes the vibration but when it comes down to getting a text message or any notification it still makes the standard vibration. I even tried power it off and on to see if that helps. I’m stuck on what to do now.

    • proudgeek Says:

      It turns out that, unfortunately, the custom vibrations are only for phone calls – not for texts from that contact. Really, really odd! Need to update this post to reflect this.

      • Brooke Says:

        Ohhhh mannnnnn! I prefer vibrate but when the standard vibrates it so noisy and I feel like that interrupts people more than just a standard alert or tone. I thought the heartbeat tone for all notifications would suite me just fine. Oh well. Fingers crossed for next update!

        Thank you for letting me know, it was driving me crazy that I couldn’t get it to work!!

  5. I’m like you, Brooke, I was looking to set my text notifications to Heartbeat as well for the same reason. The regular vibration notification is too loud and interrupts people. I hope they update this in the next update of the software so it will work with the text messages as well as the calls.

  6. Carly Says:

    This i really cool! But how do you enable this vibrating feauture on an ipod touch with ios 5?

  7. John Lee Says:

    Good post, I did a similar one at my site. My fiance made her own custom vibration, I still don’t know what im hearing lol

  8. inurse Says:

    would love to have a vibration custom for text

  9. bb Says:

    This is fixed in iOS 6, under settings – sounds – , you should now see at the top you can change the vibration patter for each.

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