Ios - Macos: Receive Sound Notifications Only On One Device


Maybe you know just how annoying it can be, when you receive a text message and all of your Apple devices start beeping and vibrating successively.

I can't count the times I've been sitting in my home-office, trying to focus, when my Macbook alerts me to a new message, then my Apple Watch joins in, from afar I can hear my iPad annoyingly giving off the exact same tone. And if you're in luck, it's someone who is sending you not just one message, but many.

And you are left with an annoying concert of alert beeps ringing through the whole house.

Let's fix that...

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iOS - macOS: Receive sound notifications only on one device

iOS - macOS: Receive sound notifications only on one device authorMarc

Sadly Apple doesn't seem to be smart enough to alert you on only one of your devices for the exact same messages. 

(Hint for any Apple engineer who might happen to read this)


So we have to take this into our own hands.

Let's start by deciding which one of our devices is supposed to be the one alerting us in a auditory fashion, and which ones are supposed to shut their digital pie holes.

For me, this will be my iPhone and the others are supposed to have whatever message or content I was alerted about accessible, but without actually notifying me.

Now reach for that device that is allowed to notify you, open up the settings

(On the iPhone this is Settings -> Sounds)

Now assign an alert sound to each of the options listed under "Sounds & Vibration Patterns".


Make sure that all options are assigned a sound, whichever sound you want 



On your Macbook, iMac or Mac pro it will be under "System Preferences -> Notifications"


iWatch Specific:

For your iWatch, the above settings are not on the watch itself but instead you can find them on your iPhone under "Watch App -> Notifications".



Let us now silent all the other devices:

Once you have set up the device, it's time to grab any of the other devices that aren't supposed to also notify you with sounds, but instead adhere to the sound of sweet, sweet silence.

For this, we will also bring up the same menu as in the above step. But this time we will remove all of the alert sounds for any of the listed actions we don't want to be notified about.

Here, especially for iOS devices it is a great idea to also look into the "Vibrate" settings and disable them wherever needed. There is a secondary Vibration setting, that is very easy to overlook, make sure you don't just go to "Settings -> Sounds" and enable/disable the setting there.

To truly disable Vibration for specific actions, like for example "new Text", or "New Email" you have to tap on the setting name (The ones you see in the very first screenshot of this guide), and there at the very top you'll find the secondary Vibration setting, which looks like this (on iOS 12):


Just scroll down to the very bottom, where you'll find "None" as an option, select that, go back and repeat the same process for the next Action, for example "New Voicemail".


Granted, this is far from ideal, but currently the only way to accomplish this whole thing. But being an optimistic person, I haven't given up hope that Apple will offer a way to accomplish not being notified for the exact same message on every device in your household, hopefully soon...