How to Turn Off the iPhone Ringer

Silence your iPhone by flipping a switch

Hand holding iPhone X with Settings for Sound & Haptics on the screen

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There are ways to keep your iPhone from making a sound when you have an incoming call. Whether you do it by using the hardware mute switch or software settings, the iPhone has several ways to turn off or modify the ringer.

Instructions in this article apply to iPhone 7 and later. Earlier models had hardware switches, but the vibration settings were in Settings > Sounds.

Turn Off iPhone Ringer With Hardware Switch

The simplest way to turn off the iPhone ringer is to flip the hardware switch on the left side of the iPhone. This switch is located above the two volume buttons on most iPhone models. This is the iPhone's physical mute switch.

Flip the switch down so that the orange indicator on the switch is visible to put the iPhone into silent mode. Doing this displays a bell icon with a line through it on the phone screen briefly to confirm that the iPhone is silenced.

To take the iPhone out of silent mode, flip the switch up toward the front of the iPhone, and the ringer turns on. Another on-screen icon appears to indicate that the phone ringer is active once again.

Do you have phone calls showing up on your Mac, iPad, or other Apple devices and want to keep them only on your iPhone? Learn how to stop other devices from ringing when you get an iPhone call.

Set iPhone to Vibrate Instead of Ring

Your iPhone playing a sound isn't the only way it notifies you that you have a call coming in. If you don't want to hear a tone but want a notification, use the vibration options built into iOS. With them, the phone vibrates but otherwise stays silent when there's an incoming a call.

Use the Settings to configure the iPhone to vibrate to signal a call. Go to Settings and select Sounds & Haptics (or Sounds on some older versions of the iOS). Then, set these options:

  • Vibrate on Ring controls whether the iPhone vibrates when calls come in. Turn on this option by moving the slider to on/green.
  • Vibrate on Silent controls whether the phone vibrates when a call comes in and the phone is in silent mode. Move the slider to on/green to enable vibration.
Sound & Haptics settings

To get another kind of silent notification for incoming calls, use the iPhone's camera flash. Learn how to set up Flash Light notifications on your phone.

iPhone Ringtone and Alert Tone Options

The iPhone offers settings that control what happens when you get calls, texts, notifications, and other alerts.

Control your iPhone Alerts illustration
Lifewire / Jaime Knoth

To access these settings, open the Settings app, scroll down, and tap Sounds & Haptics. The options on this screen allow you to do the following:

  • Ringer and Alerts controls the ringtone volume and whether the volume buttons under the mute switch can control the ringer volume.
  • Ringtone sets the default ringtone for all calls on the phone. To override this setting, assign individual ringtones to contacts.
  • Text Tone sets the ringtone or alert that plays when you receive a new text message. This can be overridden by assigning individual SMS tones to contacts.
  • New Voicemail controls the sound that plays when you receive a new voicemail.
  • New Mail sets the alert tone that plays when a new email arrives in your inbox.
  • Sent Mail plays a tone to confirm when an email you send is actually sent.
  • Calendar Alerts sets the reminder tone you hear when an event comes up in the Calendar app.
  • Reminder Alerts are the same as Calendar Alerts, but for the Reminders app.
  • AirDrop lets you swap files with other users wirelessly via AirDrop. This sound plays when an AirDrop transfer is requested.
  • Keyboard Clicks turns on a typewriter sound when you type on the phone.
  • Lock Sound is the click you hear when the Sleep/Wake button is pressed. You can turn this on or off.
  • System Haptics controls whether the iPhone provides vibration feedback for all kinds of OS-level controls and actions.

Ringer Isn't Muted, But Phone Still Doesn't Ring

You'd think that silencing your iPhone ringer is simple: the mute switch is either on or off, but sometimes things are a bit tricker. Is the phone's ringer switch is set to on, but the phone still doesn't ring when calls come in? Several things could cause this.

The Do Not Disturb feature may be enabled. It's also possible that you blocked the number that's calling, and if so, the phone won't ring.