There are times when you need to know who is calling or texting you, but you can’t look at your phone.
You may be expecting a very important call from a very important person. Maybe you’re hoping to hear about a new job, or about a new baby who’s due any day, or about being cast in a new Broadway musical.
Or maybe you’re trying to avoid a call from an annoying relative, pesky co-worker or overzealous ex-love.
Even a quick glance at your phone might be awkward when you’re in a meeting, at a movie theater or in a restaurant. Or even dangerous when you’re driving.
Or maybe your phone is in another room and you want to know whether to make a mad dash to answer a call, depending on who is calling.
The good news is that you can set up your phone to know who is calling or texting you without looking at it. In a few minutes, you can set up your phone to know who is calling without looking at the screen.
Both iPhone and Android allow you to assign ringtones, text tones and vibrations to your contacts. You can also have your phone announce who is calling you.
Announce Who Is Calling You
Beginning with iOS 10 last fall, your iPhone can announce who is calling you. Siri’s voice can speak the name of the contact, the phone number or say “Unknown Caller” when the number is unavailable.
To enable this feature, go to Settings => Phone => Announce Calls.
You have the choice of:
- Headphones & Car
- Headphones Only
Now when someone calls, you will hear Siri’s voice announce who is calling you.
You can assign ringtones to contacts so you know who’s calling or texting you by the tune that is being played.
To assign a ringtone to a contact on your iPhone, open the Contacts app and find the name of the person you want to assign a ringtone to. Tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen.
Tap Ringtone, then choose from ringtones you have on your phone. The iPhone comes with many standard ringtones, plus you can purchase others from iTunes.
To assign a Text Tone, tap Text Tone and choose from the ringtones on your phone. Then when you get a text message from that contact, your phone will play the text tone you’ve assigned to them.
When you have chosen the ringtone and/or text tone, tap Done to assign that ringtone to your contact.
You can also assign a vibration pattern to a contact. That way, even if you have to silence your phone you can feel who is calling or texting you by the way your phone is vibrating.
To set up a vibration pattern for a contact, open the contact and tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen. Tap Ringtone => Vibration.
You can choose from the standard vibration options or create a custom vibration.
To create a custom vibration, tap Create New Vibration, then tap the screen to create a vibration pattern. Tap Stop in the lower right corner when you’re done, then Play in the lower left corner to make sure you like the pattern.
Once you’re satisfied with your custom creation, tap Save in the upper right corner of the screen. You will be asked to name the pattern.
After you’ve named the pattern, it will be assigned to the contact.
Announce Calls and Text Messages
Your Android phone can announce who is calling and texting you by using apps. You can search for “announce calls and texts” in Google Play to find apps that work with your phone.
Here are two free apps you could try:
Talking Caller ID App
This app will announce who is calling you or sending you a text message. Download Talking Caller ID from Google Play and open the app.
You can adjust the settings to change the language, volume, talking speed and more. Scroll down to Enable SMS Caller ID and check the box to have the sender of text messages announced.
The app is free, but a paid upgrade lets you choose how many times the callers name is repeated, how much time passes before the name is repeated, and the times during the day when app announces the names.
Who’s Calling App
Another app that announces who’s calling or texting is Who’s Calling?
This app can announce the names of contacts who are calling and texting you. Who’s Calling also works with other apps, such as WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger. You can also customize the name that is announced for each contact.
The app is free, which gives you the ability to use it with one other app. You can pay for the Pro version to remove the ads, use it with multiple apps, and use it when you’re connected to Bluetooth. The app also has a Pro sponsored version that is free but you must agree to share your data with the developer.
To set a custom ringtone, open the Contacts app, find the contact you want to set the ringtone for and tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen. Tap More, then swipe down to Ringtone and choose which one you want.
To set up a text tone, open the Contacts app, find the contact you want to set the ringtone for and tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen. Tap More, then swipe down to Message tone and choose the tone you want for that contact.
To assign a vibration to a contact, open the Contacts app, find the contact you want to set the ringtone for and tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen. Tap More, then swipe down to Vibration pattern and choose from the options.
Have you ever wanted to know who was calling/texting you but couldn’t look at your phone? Have you set up ringtones and text tones for your important contacts? Have you created custom vibrations for your phone? Do you like having the name of the caller announced?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
* iPhone in Meeting image (edited) courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay and Creative Commons
Voice of America Learning English
Learners of English who enjoy tech should check out my weekly personal technology column at Voice of America Learning English. This week’s article is: Memoji App Turns Selfies Into Emojis.