Before you got a BlackBerry, it was so simple to set ring or vibrate options, even a kid could do it. But now…it seems like you need, well, … a web site to explain how to control the bewildering array of “notification profile” settings. In a 3-part tutorial, we’ll learn (1) basic ring settings, (2) more elaborate settings found only on smartphones, and (3) advanced settings. You can choose how far to go depending on what makes you happy.
PART 1, THE BASICS
The majority of Pearl owners are concerned with just basic control of ringing:
- How to switch between ringing and vibrating
- How to change ringtones
- How to select different ringtones for special callers
- How to set different ringtones for calls versus text messages
On a BlackBerry, the place where you set ringing, vibrating, LED flashing, etc. is called a Profile. Actually, it’s called a Notification Profile since ringing, vibrating, and LED flashing notify you of some event that needs your attention. To access these settings, you use the Profiles icon normally found on your Home Screen, as shown in the screenshot to the left.
At the simplest level, you may want one profile for ringing and another profile for vibrating. Let’s say you start with a profile that will ring loudly so that you can hear the phone ringing at a distance when you’re not carrying the phone. Any profile you have selected is called the Active profile. Since it is so common to need to switch quickly between an active profile and a vibrating profile, a shortcut has been provided: the # key.
Practice this now: Pressing and holding the # key swaps your phone between the active (normally a ringing) profile and the vibrating profile.
NOTE: If your active profile is not a ringing profile, you’ll want to click the Profiles icon and click either the Normal or Loud profile. Then, pressing and holding the # key will perform as described above.
The Default Ringtone
Let’s say you have one ringtone that is your absolute favorite, and you want that ringtone used every time your phone rings. Or at least that’s where you want to start, with an option to change it for special purposes. Do Profiles > (scroll to bottom of screen) > Advanced… > (press Menu key) > Show Ring Tones.
At that point you can open a folder that contains ringtones. After clicking Show Ring Tones, give your phone time to scan its memory to find all files that could be used as ringtones. This could take a minute or so. When exploring for a ringtone, you’ll likely find files like these:
- Alarm_?????: Tone intended as an alarm, not necessarily a ring
- Notifier_?????: Tone intended as a notification for messages, events, etc., not a ring
- Ringer_?????: Tone intended as a ring (more traditional ringing sound)
- Tune_?????: Tone intended as a ring (musical ringing sound)
- ?????.mp3: Your own music/audio file that might work as a ringtone
You probably will want to play the ringtones before you choose one. In the folder of ringtones, do (press Menu key) > Play. The Media Player will open and play the ringtone.
Once you’ve found the ringtone you want as your default ringtone, do (press Menu key) > Set As Ring Tone.
So, now you have your phone ringing with the tone/tune you want, but you can’t tell friend from foe (so to speak). Let’s see how you set a custom ringtone for a special person. In your Address Book, find the contact you want to set a special ringtone for. Edit that contact. Do (press Menu key) > Add Custom Ring Tone.
At the bottom of the contact settings, a Custom Ring Tone setting will appear with some ringtone already highlighted. Click the trackball to expand that highlight to a long list of available ringtones to choose from. Scroll till you find the one you want, select it, and save your contact settings.
Phone Calls vs. Text Messages
Finally, most of us want to distinguish between a phone call and a text message. Plus, we want to choose what kind of sound indicates a text message (also known as SMS–for Short Message Service). First, you need to choose–if you haven’t already–which Notification Profile you’re usually going to use. It’s probably either Normal or Loud; let’s assume Normal for the moment.
From the Home Screen, open Profiles. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Advanced… Scroll to the Normal profile, press the Menu key, and select Edit. Scroll to SMS Text and click. On the resulting screen you will see a number of settings: half for “in holster,” and half for “out of holster.” Just in case you don’t know what that’s about, we better take a moment to explain.
Most Pearl holsters have an embedded magnet that tells the phone whether it is inserted into the holster. The “in holster” signal from the magnet tells the Pearl to shut off its backlighting (to save battery charge) and to ring differently (according to settings in the active profile). For example, when your phone is in its holster (possibly in your pocket at the time), you may want it to not only ring, but vibrate at the same time to make sure it gets your attention. When the phone is out of the holster (possibly while you’re in a meeting), you may want the phone to vibrate twice before ringing to give you a change to either send the call to voicemail or beg forgiveness to answer it. [I have to believe all these complexities are necessary for hot-shot executives.]
Below are the screens where you edit the profile settings for text messages. For either Out of Holster or In Holster modes, you can choose between a tone, vibration or both; a particular tone/sound; the volume; the number of “beeps” (rings, alerts); whether you want LED flashing; and if vibrations are used, how many times to vibrate.
OK, after that last section, you may have forgotten that this is only part 1 of 3 in how to configure your Pearl for ringing–excuse me, “notifications.” You may be happy to know this much and not care to move on. That’s your choice. But for those who just can’t get enough, here’s what’s in store for parts 2 and 3:
- Besides calls and text messages, what else can I be notified of? (email, calendar events, tasks due,…)
- What kinds of profiles are built in? (Loud, Normal, Vibrate, Quiet, Phone Only Off)
- Can I create my own custom profiles? (yes)
- Can I get, or prevent, notifications while I’m actively on a call? (yes and yes)
- Can I set my phone to ”Do Not Disturb?” (yes)
- Can I set my phone to make exceptions for family, special friends, important business contacts? (yes)