Stand out from the crowd by personalising your iPhone.
Are you one of those iPhone users who twitches whenever you hear the default ringtone or text message alert because you haven’t bothered changing it since you got it? Or do you get confused as to which iPhone is yours at social functions when everyone else has put identical-looking devices on the table? Fear not, iPhone-toting friends -- there are lots of ways you can personalise your iPhone so you don’t confuse it with someone else’s.
The most obvious way is by sticking it in a case, and you certainly won’t lack for choice -- there are thousands of cases you can choose from in every colour, style and material imaginable, making it unlikely the one you decide on will be the same case any of your mates have.
But cases aren’t your only option for making your iPhone look different -- you could opt for a 'skin' instead. These stick onto the front and back of the iPhone using adhesive and let you maintain the iPhone’s sleek profile. There are a dozen or so different vendors that offer iPhone skins, including Skinomi, GelaSkins and DecalGirl, and in addition to the patterns that are available on the site, you can upload your own image to use in the skin instead. Another cool feature is that the pre-made skins on the site usually include a matching wallpaper you can use for the iPhone’s homescreen.
Speaking of wallpapers, Apple includes a handful of them you can use for the iPhone’s lock screen and homescreen, but they're all fairly generic. To use one of your own images from the Photos app, simply tap the arrow icon on the bottom left and select the ‘Use as Wallpaper’ option. You’ll then get the option of moving and scaling the image to fit (use the pinch-to-zoom gesture to make the image larger), and once you’re happy with how it looks, tap ‘Set’. You’ll get the option of setting that image as the lock screen wallpaper, homescreen wallpaper or both.
If the photo you want to use as wallpaper isn’t in the Photos app, you can transfer it to your iPhone either by emailing it to yourself and saving it to the Photos app, or by syncing it to your iPhone through iTunes on your desktop. To sync photos through iTunes, select your iPhone in the Devices list on the left-hand side, then click Photos. Check the ‘Sync Photos from’ option, and then specify where you’d like to sync the photos from and hit ‘Apply’. A few other sources of wallpapers include Facebook (you can save photos from there to your iPhone), the web browser (tap and hold on any image to get a ‘Save image’ option) and one of the many wallpaper apps in the App Store.
The final step in making your iPhone unique is by giving it a distinctive ringtone and personalising all of the other sound alerts, all of which are found in 'Settings > Sounds'. iOS 5 added the ability to customise all of the sound tones, not just the ringtone and text tone and also included an easy link to iTunes to buy more tones. But there’s no need to spend money here -- you can make your own ringtones that can be used for any alert using the free Audiko.net
online service. This will create an iPhone-compatible ringtone from any music file you upload that you can then transfer to iTunes and sync to your iPhone.