Whether you have a brand new Apple iPhone or have had one for years, there are some tricks to correctly enter a new contact and phone number. I’ll show you how to add a photo, birthday and even set a custom ringtone!
It’s straightforward to add a new person to your iPhone Contacts list, right? Enter their name, enter their number, tap “Save”. Done. But it turns out that there’s a lot more you can do and specify to make your Contacts work for you and make it easy to find them later on, even years later. There are a lot of people who have custom and unique ringtones – and incoming text tones – for specific numbers, but I’m a big fan of adding photos for each and every contact. Then when I get text messages from people, I can immediately see who they are or, sometimes, see a wry or funny image that gets me in the right mood to communicate with them!
Rather than just chat about it, though, let’s jump in and go through all the steps required to add a new contact phone number and email address on an Apple iPhone XS running iOS 12.1. This particular process hasn’t changed in eons, though, so it’ll look the same if you have iOS 11 or even iOS 10!
To start, tap on the Phone icon to launch phone. It’s a fast and easy way to get to Contacts! You’ll see something like this (though perhaps yours is a bit less populated with entries):
The “+” on the top right is how you get to the template for entering a contact. Tap it and you’ll be staring at this:
Pretty basic stuff, right? First and last name, company, and phone number and you’re done by tapping “Done” on the top right. Well, sure, you can do that. But let’s check out what else you can do here…
First off, once you tap to start entering a phone number, it’ll default to “home”. But don’t just accept that, actually tap on the word “home” to see all the many options:
I find it tremendously useful to identify if they are giving you their home, work, mobile, iPhone or, in the case of a business, “main” phone line. Saves confusion later, particularly if someone then gives you a second phone number. Want to do something unique or custom for this person because, for example, they have a US-based and an EU-based phone number? You can do that at the bottom with “Add Custom Label”. You can see I’ve already used “us mobile” for just this purpose.
With just this change, here’s what our pal Cosmo Cat’s entry looks like:
You can see I’ve entered a mobile number and a home email address for Cosmo. But we need a photo!
You can easily just take a photo of someone and use it here, but I find that services like LinkedIn or Facebook are also good for digging up a good photograph of someone you’ve met and are adding to your phone. For Cosmo, I grabbed an image from Google Image Search.
Trivia: Cosmo Cat is a comic book character from All Top Comics, created by L.B. Cole back in 1945. Cosmo worked as a technician at a munitions plant, when he accidentally set off a bomb. It didn’t kill him, though, but he gained superpowers: flight, super strength, and invulnerability. Cosmo maintained his powers by ingesting Cosmic Catnip Capsules and resides in his moon lab spotting evildoers on Earth using his tele-finder and then headed to Earth in his cat-rocket to right wrongs!
Right. Back to our iPhone, a device that even Cosmo Cat wouldn’t have been able to imagine 🙂 To add a photo, tap on “add photo” on the top left when you’re in ‘edit’ mode with this particular contact. You get this pop-up:
Since I already have a photograph on my phone, tapping “Choose Photo” let me easily find and zoom in the photo to make it a tight headshot:
Zoom in or out, tap and move the highlighted portion around, and when you’re ready, just tap “Choose”. Now you’ll see something similar to this:
You might need to swipe down just a bit, but notice the “Ringtone” Default and “Text Tone” Default. You can tap on either of these and you’ll see a huge list of different possible audio tones and tunes from which you can choose a custom ringtone (or text tone) for this particular contact! Also worth noting, you can turn on or off vibration for this person or even let them slip through the Do Not Disturb wall late at night as needed:
I’m going to set up Cosmo Cat with the “Cosmic” ringtone (of course) because, well, seems like a good match. Select, tap “Done” on the top right once you’ve done so, and you just set up a custom ringtone. Also note that Apple has a “Tone Store” you can visit if you want to have something really unique for this contact. It’ll cost $0.99 but hey, it’s Cosmic Cat, right?
Finally, swipe down further and you’ll find “add birthday”:
A tap on that and you can specify their birthday – with or without birth year! – and your phone will actually automatically drop that into your Calendar to remind you each year. Handy.
And, finally, a proper Contact for our Cat superhero pal:
Why go through all this work? Because now when you get text messages from your friend, their photo shows up and it’s more fun!
And there ya have it. Now, you might not want to go back through your contacts and add this info for everyone, but for the people you communicate with the most? I recommend it. Good fun to have birthdays and photos, and custom ringtones add yet another level of fun and makes your phone a bit more useful too.
Pro Tip: While you’re here, do check out our extensive iPhone help area. I’ve been writing about how to do things on the iPhone forever. Or so it seems!