Creating and Editing Profiles and Notifications's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series
By Adam Zeis on 29 Jul 2008 08:55 am EDT

One of the most common questions new users ask is "How do I change my email tone, SMS alert and ringtone?". In this lesson, we will go step by step through all aspects of setting up your alert profiles. We will edit the preset profiles, and also create new ones and even add custom ringtones and exceptions for your contacts.

BlackBerry 101: How to Create and Edit Profiles and Notifications

Profile Basics

First off, the basics of profiles.  If you click the Profiles icon on your home screen (or, if you have Dial From Home Screen set to "Off" you can simply press "F").  Here you will see the default profiles - Loud, Vibrate, Quiet, Normal, Phone Only and Off.


The Loud, Quiet and Normal is what we will be editing to our liking.  The vibrate mode will silence all incoming tones, and your device will only vibrate for alerts.  The Phone Only mode will silence all your email, SMS/MMS and other alerts and only the phone will ring.  Off will turn off everything and silence all alerts for your device. 

Editing Profiles

Now we will go through the steps of editing a profile.  For this we will edit the Loud profile - you can use the same steps to edit other profiles later.  First off, from the profiles screen, scroll to the bottom and select "Advanced...". 



Now we are at the Profiles screen.  Highlight Loud and select Options > Edit. 


Here you will see a list of all the available alerts for your device (both default and any installed 3rd party apps). Lets first select our basic phone ringtone.  Scroll down and select Phone from the list. 


From here, we have the option for "Out Of Holster" and "In Holster".  These are two often confused options.  "Out of Holster" means the device is not in a holster or case of any sort and is  totally naked.  "In Holster" means the device is in a holster or case – covered.  When the device is 'In Holster", a small magnet in the case signals the device for a different lot of settings.  (Not all cases have magnet that will signal the device).  So you can pick and choose to have the device louder when in the holster, or simply vibrate.  The choice is yours.  For now we will set the "Out of Holster" tone.  Scroll to Tune and select it.  You will be presented with a list of all the tones on your phone.  Scroll until you locate the new tone (usually alphabetically) and select it. Our ringtone is now set. 


Next to "Out of Holster" there are four options.  Choose one depending on how you would like your phone to ring in this profile.

* None: Silent – no tone at all
* Tone: Device will alert based on volume/profile settings
* Vibrate: Device will vibrate but have no sound
* Vibrate + Tone: Device will vibrate before sounding the alert tone

For this instance we select "Tone" which will cause the device to ring an audible alert with no vibration.  Set the "Volume" for the tone (High, Medium or Low).  Set the Repeat Notification to either "LED Flashing" or "None".  You may also choose to set the options for when your device is in a holster on this screen (perhaps you'd like the phone to only vibrate in holster etc).  From here, press menu button and select "Save".  Your ringtone is set and we're ready to move on.  We follow these same steps for each application alert on the device.  You can set alerts for every application.  Browser for browser messages, Calendar for reminders/alerts, Level 1 messages, Phone, SMS, MMS, Blackberry Messenger and of course your email addresses (listed as Messages:xxx in the profiles list).  You may also see options for Facebook, Jivetalk etc. depending on what 3rd party apps are installed. 

To edit alerts for other profiles (Quiet, Normal etc.)  Take the same steps, only edit the profiles for your liking, perhaps changing the volume, vibration etc.  These steps are the same for all the alert settings on the device.  SMS, MMS, Email etc.  Simply edit the profile you wish to change and go through the same steps to set the chosen alert.

Creating Custom Profiles

If you have used up the default profiles and want to create another for lets say, when you're sleeping, you can always create a new profile.  To do this, we return to the Advanced screen of our Profiles.  Press the Menu key and select New Profile. 


The next screen works just the same as the default profiles, only you can add a custom title.  For this profile I will create a "Bed Mode" which will only alert me upon phone calls or SMS messages.  You can create multiple custom profiles depending on your needs. 


Using Custom Ringtones

Now you may want to have a custom ringtone for certain contacts.  To do this, navigate to your Address Book and edit a contact. 


Press the Menu key and select "Add Custom Ring Tone".  Choose a tone from the list and save. 



That's it!  Now when you look at your profiles you will see your contacts with custom ringtones.  Note that these are for calls only.  To setup custom alerts for SMS/MMS, emails etc. from contacts, we have to take a few more steps. 

Creating Exceptions

First, you need to create a new Profile as we did earlier. In the new Profile, set your alerts for SMS, email, phone, etc. for your contact.  Next we will create an exception. Navigate to Profiles > Advanced.  Press the Menu key and select New Exception. 


Enter a title for the exception (its easiest to name it the same and the custom profile you just created). In the FROM field, press the Menu key and select Add Name and choose a contact from your address book. 


Next, under Use Profile, select the newly created Profile for this contact.


Add the custom phone tone for this contact. (Also, make sure you enable the exception by checking the box).  Thats it.  A slightly lengthy process, but it gets the job done.  You can do this multiple times for other contacts as well. 

Well thats really all there is to it.  Once you get the hang of it, you'll be managing your Profiles like a pro.  If you need help above and beyond this lesson, check out these threads in the forums:

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Creating and Editing Profiles and Notifications


Do you know of a third party app that provides a nice GUI to do this from a computer? I love my blackberry, but modifying profiles is EXTREMELY tedious. I'd love to be able to do it from my computer and then sync it, or just edit it directly from my computer.

I had searched around for the same thing. I had installed and app that killed my Curve and sent my profiles to default. I wish that was an easier way, but unfortunately one by one is the only way for now.

I have successfully sycronized in the past but lately I get an error message saying that I have the incorrect configuration. I'm not sure what went wrong all of the sudden. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Not sure what you are trying to do, but it doesn't sound like it has to do with profiles. Try posting in the forums for more help.

Can you use any downloaded sound effects and mp3s to customise sms/mms/email alerts or are you tied to using the pre-loaded alerts on the blackberry device?

Is there any way to do exceptions for categories (business, personal, etc)?
Meaning, I want to have the same profile for all the contacts tagged in the same category, without creating an exception for each contact...

The lesson came in very timely - I had "issues" during a meeting. I turned off the phone ring but all my many notifications were coming through loud and clear...funny but not so now I know how to fix it. Thanks!

I followed the instructions to create a new profile for one of my contacts and that creating an exception for that person. The only problem is that I am now getting the same tone for MMS,SMS, and email from all my other contacts. Any suggestions?? Thanks.

Silly question here...why won't a saved picture that has been attached to a contact show up when they call if the phone is in lock mode? Only the number shows up. Not their name or the picture. If the phone is unlocked, everything seems to appear.

I went into the advanced menu to change notification profiles, but now I cannot return to the preloaded notification profile screen. When I click on the speaker icon to see profiles, it goes directionly to a page listing all applications that have notifications. If I use the back button, it just takes me back to the home screen and I cannot find anything in the various menus to return me to the notification profile screen which shows the icons and profile names. I tried turning the Blackberry Curve off and back on, but rebooting did not return the preloaded notification profile screen.

I had this same issue. I did the following and it worked:
Turn off your phone.
Take out your battery.
Wait a minute.
Place battery back in phone and turn on.

This changed my profiles to the correct way.

I have my 8310 (AT&T) Curve set to give me ONLY the blinking LED notification on new messages. I notice that is appears inconsistent, particularly when I have been away from it for some time. The red light will not be blinking but I will have messages. Is there a "time-out" after which the red light stops?

I got my berry a few months ago and I remember editing profiles when I first got it but now it won't let me. When I go to Profiles and press the Menu key, it behaves like I have pressed the Back key. Does anyone know how to get it to edit like it should?

I do not know how set up a ring tone on my Berry Curve when I have a missed called or message-have asked other people-they don't know either???

I just got my new Curve yesterday and I must say I don't know what I would do without this amazing website!! I don't think I could ever sit still through all the BB tutorials. Love the lecture series and I have really learned a lot! Soooo easy to get ringtones. I am very impressed. THANKS TO ALL!!!

Hello, I'm trying to create different profiles for my 4 email addresses. But when I change one to a certain ringer, the others automatically change to match the one I just changed. Help!

When I set the ringtone for my profiles, it let me pick from any of the music in my media files but when I go to set a custom ringtone for a contact it only lets me choose from the preset ringtones on the phone . . . does anyone know how I can get to the mp3 files on my media card to set contact ringtones?

Is there a way to create a profile that will silence everything except a few select contacts? I work nights and have a sick family member - I would love to turn my phone off when I sleep but I need to be able to receive calls from a few people.

I have the same problem as someone from 2008 above - have created exceptions and they work on everything (phone, sms, email etc.) except messenger - now they (messenger alerts/messages) all have the same tone. I've even set up exceptions just for that person's messenger but it's not working - still the same tone? Has anyone figured out how to fix this? Thanks.

How does one go about invoking an automatically changing profile on a Curve 9330? I know that I can create different profiles but can't find a way to automatically switch profiles at specific times.