How To Create Contact-Specific Vibrations And Enable LED Notifications In iOS 5

iOS 5's snazzy new notification center offers a great way to keep tabs on your phone's various beeps and buzzes, but iOS 5 also packs a couple of interesting under-the-hood notification features you may not have known about: custom vibration notifications and LED alerts.

Wired's Gadget Lab runs through a handful of "hidden" features that didn't make the marquee during Apple's iOS 5 launch, like its awesome new text expansion feature, system-wide word definitions (highlight a word and tap Define), private browsing in Safari (buried inconveniently in Settings > Safari > Private Browsing), app-by-app usage reports (Settings > General > Usage), and so on. If you'd like to customise your notifications a touch more, then you might want to take a look at the custom vibration and LED flash options.

Create Contact-Specific Custom Vibrations

If your phone spends most of the day in your pocket, on vibrate, contact-specific vibration patterns allow you to identify who's calling without taking the phone out of your pocket.

To create and enable a contact-specific vibration, just fire up your Phone app, select a contact, tap Edit > vibration > Create New Vibration. Tap out your custom cadence (I started with the always-original "Shave and a haircut"), then tap Stop when you're done. You can test your rhythm by replaying the pattern, then save and name it. Piece of cake.

If you feel like you've created a vibratory masterpiece, you can set it as your phone's default vibration in Settings > Sounds > Vibration. (Note that you can also record new patterns here as well.)

Android users: Check out previously mentioned WhoIsIt for a handy companion app for creating contact-specific custom notifications.

Enable LED Notifications

A lot of phones allow you to flash an LED for a more visual alert. To enable LED notifications in iOS 5, you've got to dig down into the Accessibility menu in Settings > General > Accessibility, then enable LED Flash for Alerts. There's a pretty big catch to this one, though: It only works when your phone is in silent mode (that is, vibration turned off in Settings > Sounds and the vibrate/silence hardware switch toggled on.

You should also keep in mind that it's not a persistent flash; as far as I can tell, it emanates one showy series of flashes and then goes away.

iOS 5: Exploring 7 Hidden New Features [Wired]


    You need to turn on custom vibrations in the accessibility menu to create custom patterns.

    Thanks John. I had just spent 20 minutes trying to find th. vibration menu in contacts.

    Thanks John. I had just spent 20 minutes trying to find th. vibration menu in contacts.

    My friends discovered this feature when my phone rang on the table...they really like the LED alert, we then had a 30 min discussion about why it was in the Accessibility section :D

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