How to set and edit sound profiles on your BlackBerry

BlackBerry 101
By DJ Reyes on 10 Jan 2011 11:10 am EST

Customization. It's one of the things I always like to do first when I get myself a new BlackBerry. You can take two identical BlackBerry phones, and - through customization - get two very different experiences.  As BlackBerry users, we find a theme that best suits us, arrange icons to our liking and even set the font to something pleasing to the eye.  But a BlackBerry should be pleasing to the ear, too.  You hear one alert and know it's a BBM, hear another alert and know it's your email. Alerts for mailboxes, phone calls, and even text messages can be customized to your liking.  Let's show you how.

BlackBerry sound profiles 

To bring up the Profiles' selection menu highlight the speaker icon on the main screen. Alternatively, you can launch it by selection the speaker icon in the Home screen. Once you have done this you'll have a choice of seven profiles - Normal, Loud, Medium, Vibrate Only, Silent, Phone Calls Only and All Alerts Off. The names of the profiles speak for themselves and you can edit these to set them exactly how you want them. You'll also have the options to Set Ring Tones/Alerts, Set Contact Alerts and Edit Profiles.

For this 101 Lecture we'll be editing the Normal Profile. Although we have used the Normal profile as an example here, the process is the same for editing the other profiles.

Profiles - editing profiles

Select Edit Profiles and then select Normal. You will then get a list of categories you can customise. The first being the Phone, select this to change the ringtone of your incoming calls. There is a long list of default BlackBerry ringtones that you can choose from. If none of them tickle your fancy you can always choose from your own music playlist by choosing Select Music... at the top of the list. These ringtones and alerts list will be the same for the following categories. The option to choose your own, including any MP3 on your BlackBerry, is also available.

Profiles Phone ringer 

In the Messages category you can change the alerts for each individual email account you have on your BlackBerry, as well as SMS (text) & MMS (pictures/video) messages, PIN and Level 1 messages.

Profiles - Individual settings 

The next category is Instant Messages. Here you can customise your alerts for the different Instant Messaging services you use. The main one being BlackBerry Messenger, of course. You can set a different sound for a new message or a group message. If you have Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or any other IM app installed, alerts for those can also be set here.

The fourth category is Reminders. This would be for your Calendar, Tasks or anything that you flag to follow up.

The last category is Other. This will be the section where you can customise third party app alerts like Twitter, Facebook, SocialScope etc.

Once you have customised the profile to your liking, bring up the Profile menu again and select the profile from the list. You will see the speaker icon change to the one of you selected on the main screen. There is a speedy way to switch from the Normal profile to the Vibrate Only profile from the main screen. This can be done by pressing and holding onto the letter Q until you see a pop-up that says Profile changed to Vibrate. To go back to the Normal profile, press and hold the letter Q again until another pop-up confirms the change.

Locating the profiles icon on your screen 

There you have it. Your guide to editing and setting your BlackBerry profiles. Now on you go and customize away.

Reader comments

How to set and edit sound profiles on your BlackBerry


Thanks for the article.

I appreciate the customization ability that tbe blackberry offers for the sounds and alerts, however, I cannot I understand why they do not offer a global change option. For example, I would love to to be able to modify the volume of a certain profile by using a slider or something that will change the volume of the indidtual alerts relatively to the slider move.

Another example, I would like to have the option to silence all the emails or assign them all the same sound, and then just go and modify one or two that I want them to have a different setting. What puzzles me is that my "dumb" phone from 2003 had that ability, and it had mutlible sound profiles and options. Also another feature that said "dumb" phone had was the ability to temporarily set a profile, for example, if wanted to take a nap of of 30 to 60 minutes, I would set the silent mode temporarily for 30 mins, since I didn't mind if I was waken up beyond that point.

The Blackberry has many pluses, but the sound management is not one of them (at least for me).

You can modify your email alerts by accounts (yahoo=beep, gmail=silent, msn=2-beeps, etc).

You can also modify your bedside settings so that your phone is silenced until your alarm goes off.

Nice and easy!!
But I am missing one thing...: Is there any way to back-up the customized profiles, and then quickly recover them, when needed?

Your profiles are backed up when you do a phone backup using the desktop manager. You can selectively restore just your profiles from the backup if required.

I'm afraid the customization for SMS and MMS in os6 is not consistent from the set up you have described above, specifically: "In the Messages category you can change the alerts for each individual email account you have on your BlackBerry, as well as SMS (text) & MMS (pictures/video) messages, PIN and Level 1 messages."

From what I can tell, SMS & MMS are treated alike. There is no differentiating.

And further, from what seems like a 'bug' to me is the SMS customization is not working on the Torch. Currently, setting a custom tone for "Messages" only seems to customize the incoming emails from the Contact. If anyone has had a different experience, I would be glad to hear how you made it work.

Great article overall.



thanks for the nfo , but cant we customise the bbm ringtone to many contacts with different ring tones like the contacts.

The thing that I find most annoying is that back in OS4.5 I could set the profile for in and out of holster separately and starting with OS5 that ability has gone away. When my BB is holstered I need the volume louder so I'll hear it. However, if it plays the same volume unholstered it is way too loud. Currently I have opted to keep the volume at a reasonable unholstered volume, but I do occasionally miss calls and messages because I don't hear the alert if the BB is holstered.

What bothers me is that ever since I installed 5.0 on my Bold 9000 my tones play in rapid succession. With all previous versions (going back to my 8700c) the tones would be separated by a delay of maybe a few seconds. The new way sucks.

This along with getting rid of different settings while holstered suggests to me that RIM is losing its ability to manage products. I see yet another quarter of market share loss and I see a company following in Palm's footsteps.

I have 5.0 on my 8900 and 6.0 on 9780 and both have the same capabilities to manage holster settings as well as adjust the length and count of the tone.

There are a lot of things I see others doing that BB is not, but I don't think this is one that will cause RIM to loose market share.

Good basic instruction. Although I have had my BB for a few months I learned a couple of tricks from this article. Thanks.

On another note while I happen to agree with some of the earlier comments especially BarracudaBob's regarding volume in and out of holster I think it would be more effective to tell RIM how you feel about it. Kevin and the gang are good at what they do but they don't design or modify the devices.

my thoughts.


Setting the sound profiles is one of my favorite blackberry features. I love being able to not just be able to set specific ring tones per contact, but also set specific tones for text messages per contact. That way I know whether I need to check the text right away or not :)

Right now I have themed all my sounds on my 9700 to classic 8-bit Nintendo sounds and music. People really get a kick out of it!

My main problem, and maybe someone can help if I'm doing it wrong, is for custom sounds. I want two of my contacts to have separate ringtones for calls/texts (which I do). But while I want them to ring when I have my phone on silent, like at night, I'd rather not have them go off on vibrate, when I'm in court. Is there any way to do this without editing the individual contacts each time?

Unfortunately not.  Ringtones and sounds for contacts override all profile settings.  Otherwise, you'd have to set a Normal, Loud, Quiet, Custom... profile for each and every contact.  Your only option, I think, is to set your sound profile to "All Alerts Off" while in court.  None of your alert sounds will play, but you won't have to have a sidebar with the judge about your smartphone.

That's what I've been using, which unfortunately shuts the LED's off as well. I use BerryBuzz so at least if I had LED's I'd know when certain people were calling/texting.

Oh well, my only real complaint with this phone. Thanks!

My facebook profile is missing from the "Other" list. Anyone know why? The app is installed and functioning normally otherwise. The notification pops up with the icon on the home screen but no sound/vibrate profile for it. Weird. Anyone able to help?

I wish bbm was more customizable. I would like to be able to set different alerts for different contacts on bbm and not have the same alert for all contacts.

You can backup profiles with Desktop Manager, but apparently you cannot selectively restore them. Profiles are a read-only data type and cannot be restored. It looks like they would restore if you restored a complete backup, but not if you only select individual data/settings.

Nice Apps but I can't figure out how to turn off Bluetooth when I am home. I created a location profile but can't assign Bluetooth off to it.