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iPhone tip: Use a Silent Ringtone to Screen Calls in Your Sleep

Have you ever wished your iPhone would ring only when certain people call? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download the “Silence” ringtone here: silence.m4r
  2. Copy this file into the Ringtones section of your iTunes. (Click to enlarge.)

  3. Sync your iPhone with iTunes to load the ringtone.
  4. On your iPhone, change your ringtone to “Silence” (under Settings -> Sounds -> Ringtone). You’ll no longer hear your phone calls.

  5. For each person whose calls you still want to hear, change his or her Custom Ringtone to something audible: Click the name in your contact list, choose Ringtone, then choose something besides Default

    3_iphone_important_caller 4_iphone_audible_ringtone

Now you can screen calls in your sleep. Because Sunday afternoons are for napping.

329 replies on “iPhone tip: Use a Silent Ringtone to Screen Calls in Your Sleep”

Oh my god thank you! No more late night drunken calls from my ex. Goodbye verbal abuse, hello silence!
I downloaded the ringtone and it is in my ringtone folder in itunes. When I sync my iphone, it does not copy over. How can I get it onto my iphone?
I’m having the same issue. I don’t have a custom ring tone folder either. I have bought 2 ring tones & they show up fine, just not this one. Is it silent & invisible???
THANK YOU for this tip. As a small business owner I am barraged by sales calls even though I’m on the do not call list. Many of them are repeat calls from the same numbers. Now I save them as a “spam” contact and assign your silent ring tone to them and no more annoying ringing at all hours of the day and night.
Check your preferences. Under the “General” tab, you can select/deselect what types of media to show.
good tip. Now its 2/2013, and still iphone doesn’t have any call bloacker. I now simply add the number to my ‘Blocked’ contact. This contact has no vibration, no text alerts, no mail alerts and your Silent ring tone. good tip.many thanks!
Thank you! I do use the DND settings when I really need the phone to be quiet, but I really miss being able to assign a “don’t you even think of ringing” tone for those pesky unwanted (telemarketer, SPAM, drunk dialer, etc) phone calls that haven’t gotten the hint that their calls are unwelcome (yes, I do report them to the “Do Not Call List”, but I still want the ability to screen the calls until they actually stop).
Trish –
Here’s how to reset your Do Not Disturb times:
Go to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. It’s pretty self-explanatory from there.
How about turning on the Do Not Disturb option in Settings at night and I think that the lights will not go on your screen.
Good as far as it goes, but…
Is there any way to keep the phone from ‘waking up’ at all? The light when it picks up a call is enough to rouse me, even with no noise.
Use the Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6, schedule it for the times that you sleep, and the phone will not wake up at all. You can also pick and choose specific people who you would allow the phone to ring from.
Apparently this does not work for MSG from AT&T, as they woke me this morning bypassing the do not disturb feature.
Thanks heaps ! … have one very persistant annoyance I have done the above for … perish the thought but I am looking forward to her next call : )
Old news to many of you, I’m sure, but iOS 6 has the “Do Not Disturb” feature that lets you set up a time no alerts come through, but lets you assign contacts you want to hear from 24/7, or if someone calls twice within 3 minutes, the second call rings through. Finally addressed that issue.
Do Not Disturb is a welcome feature, but unfortunately it still doesn’t silence individual calls (for example, there’s a number I always let go to voicemail, but I do want to get other incoming calls). This silent ringtone is exactly what’s needed, and I’m amazed that Apple didn’t include such a basic option that’s available on much less sophisticated phones.
I just want to say thanks, Richard! Last night I was watching a favorite movie, and I checked my phone when it was over. Do Not Disturb was off, but I did get one call – one that would have been an annoying interruption. Thanks to your silent ringtone, it went to voice mail without a peep. Yay!
Thanks for the write up. I keep getting calls multiple times a day from a number I don’t know. My iPhone doesn’t have a way to block a number, like some phones do. So downloading the silent ringtone seems to be the best solution for me right now and it was very easy to do. Maybe the new iOS 6 will give me the option to block calls… we’ll see.
Thanks to this site, this is what I’ve done to avoid being woken up by unwanted callers or text messages – I.e. how I’ve whitelisted numbers without resorting to jailbreaking my iPhone 4S (iOS 5.1.1).

In addition to Richard’s instructions…
In Settings > Sounds > Ringers and Alerts, I …
– Set Vibrate to OFF,
– Set the (default) Text Tone to “None”.

Then in Phone > Contacts, for each contact that I want to allow to wake me I have changed the “text tone” as well as the “ringtone” from “Default” to a non-silent choice.


– Obviously, this arrangement makes other calls/texts silent all the time, not just when I sleep, and also prevents Vibrate for all calls received. (This suits my purposes, and if I need Vibrate while I’m awake, I’ll try to put up with having to turn it On/Off daily.)

– I do not have email set up on this phone, so email notifications have not been considered.

– I thought that I would still have a problem with New Voicemail notifications (I.e. getting a New Voicemail sound when a silent/unwanted caller leaves a voicemail message). I expected to have to set this sound to non-silent when waking, and back to “None” when going to sleep. However, I was surprised to find that setting the default TEXT TONE to “None” also silences the New Voicemail notification, regardless of the latter’s setting! I’m trying to find out if this is carrier-related, or an iPhone or iOS anomaly. Until then, if during waking hours I want to hear Voicemail notifications, I may have to toggle the default Text Tone daily.

I may reconsider jailbreaking and a whitelisting app if daily toggling of Text Tone and/or Vibrate settings become too much of a nuisance. But in the meantime, I’m looking forward to fewer sleep interruptions.

Thanks again!

If you have jailbreaked your iphone. RingerX can let you silent all calls from blocked/anonymous number.or assign a special ringtone
Thank you, Richard. Thought that I’d share my experience with this issue.

I work nights and sleep days, but need to be accessible to a selected few in case of emergencies. My unlisted-number iPhone 4S was purchased for the job – it is left next to my bed so that I can be woken by the selected few if an emergency arises. But I’m sick of being woken up by unwanted calls and spam text messages. (I don’t use email on the iPhone, so that’s not a problem.)

I went searching for a whitelist app, and discovered that jailbreak is a prerequisite. Didn’t want to do that, but resigned myself to it until I stumbled across your simple alternative.

This is still theoretical, but it seems that a similar workaround can be used for unwanted text messages. In “Sounds”, I can set the default “Text tone” from a list, OR SELECT A RINGTONE. (I am assuming that when I add your SILENT ringtone, that will be one of the choices.) And in “Contacts”, I can give any Contact its own Ringtone OR TEXT TONE.

If that’s the case, I’m much closer to a solution but still have some loose ends. When an unwanted call rings “silent”, how do I avoid the sound that accompanies the “Missed Call” or “New Voicemail” alerts?

In “Sounds”, it appears that I can set the “New Voicemail” alert to the silent Ringtone (in the same way as the default Text tone). But if that’s the answer, I may need to reset that sound to “normal” each day when I wake, and reset it to silent when I go to sleep. (Contacts don’t allow custom “New Voicemail” settings.)

As for the “Missed Call” sound, it doesn’t appear explicitly in “Sounds”. I may need to experiment to find out if it falls under another general heading (E.g. “Reminder Alerts”?). But even if it does, and even if the appropriate category allows a custom ringtone as its default, I think that it will be like the voicemail tone in that I may have to reset it twice each day.

Or maybe try to train myself to be woken up by ringtones but not by shorter alerts? Or re-consider jailbreaking? But I don’t yet know if black/whitelist apps also prevent those related alerts.

Any more thoughts anyone?

I am looking for an app/setting like “Sleep Ringer” (Android/Blackberry) so I can turn off all sounds except calls from my wife or child’s day care when I’m napping or teaching. I can’t believe Apple can’t figure this out (or allow applications for it). Thank you!
Thanks for the ringtone Richard; for others who find this and want to also disable the vibration function for certain contacts (likely the same ones you want the silent ringtone for), it’s possible to do by enabling custom vibrations under Settings -> General -> Accessibility. You will then have the option to assign a custom vibration per contact to go along with the custom ringtone, and one of the built-in options for vibration is “None” (unlike the missing silent ringtone that Apple should have provided from the start!!). Thanks again Richard, hope this helps others.
Wow, thanks! Someone in CO keeps calling for someone I don’t know. This is the best solution I have found for an Iphone.
I am so thankful I found your site with this ringtone. I could give everything but the ringtone a silent ring. This is AWESOME!!!!! I’m having surgery and I really don’t want to be bothered by everyone I know, even though I know they mean well. And now, to those sneaky telemarketers who bother me…hahahahahaha. No soup for you!!! Thank you!
I have synced it and all, but can’t find it on my ipone & it doesn’t show up under ringtones either
I got it! I had this ringtone for my 3GS and now for my Iphone 4. Works great. AND, I can still hear my alarm even though my calls will be silent. Yeah.
I got it! I had this ringtone for my 3GS and now for my Iphone 4. Works great? AND, I can still hear my alarm even though my calls will be silent. Yeah.
Thank you!! I’d been wanting to silence all the sales calls that I get. This is the perfect solution!
does anyone know of a way that I can set my Iphone 4 to only hear an SMS from one particular number at night ? I am an emergency service worker and get call outs by SMS but I really don’t want to wake up to any other texts or phone calls.
Amazing. I just went from Android to iPhone because I couldn’t get a decent sync of my contacts and calendar on my MacMini. That works fine now with the iPhone.

So, I’m looking for an app that will silence my calls (with a list of exceptions) and there isn’t one. Android has one that will silence between any given hours for any given days and has an exception list. And it was free.

Come on iPhone developers. Surely you can do this!

Verizon users can block phone numbers by logging onto their Myverizon acct>plans and services>view all. Numbers can be blocked for 90 days at a time. There is also message blocking and Internet spam control. This is a FREE service.
Thank you so much!! Telemarketing calls are starting t show up on my iPhone. I am so glad to have this ringtone!
On my previous blackberry, you could create custom profiles so at night I could set it so that I could still hear phone calls and texts (teenagers out and about) but no audio notification of emails. During the day I could change the profile to alert for all notifications. Is there any way to do this on the iphone?

Ideally there are a few contacts that I would like to alert me 24/7, while everything else could be turned on or silenced.

Thanks for this audio, a crazy guy, call me all day long to bother me, so, with this, i will know.

thanks a lot.

Thank you! This was incredibly easy to implement…even for a tech newbie like me. 🙂
I was using this ringtone happily on my iphone 3gs, but now it has died.

I’m using my old LG shine cu7200 for a while until I decide on a new carrier. It seems to want an mp3 format. I tried texting the ringtone from my computer, but it wants to save the data as a contact.

Next I will try a microSD card. ANy idea if this m4r will work?

Thanks so much!

I have been trying to figure out how to silence unknown callers or to set a “none” ringtone to a contact, just like you can select “none” for text, and still have my phone on for wanted calls. Honestly I’m surprised Apple didn’t already provide this. I have talked to a few people at the Apple stores and even sent a couple suggestions to Apple online and no one ever responded to my suggestions and the people I talked to were not even aware that this was possible. Out of the blue I decided to search for “silent ringtone” and voila, your site appeared. Thank you so much!
OK, worked out how to do that, it created the folder by itself…… sorry never have done that……… works beautifully, thanks for the very useful tip……
I do not have a ringtones section in my Itunes??? Great idea, would like to do it… help please!!
Make sure “Tones” are set-up to be seen by going to iTunes>Preferences…>General. There you will see all the features (Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts,…, Tones, …) that can be displayed when checked.
I didn’t have a ring tones section either until I dragged the .m4r file onto iTunes. After I did that I was able to copy the file to my iPhone 3GS.

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