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I've found articles on setting the number of rings before my phone goes to voicemail, but I want something different:

I want something in between "silent" and "ringing out loud the default number times (7 or so)".

I want the phone to ring out loud once or twice, and then continue to "ring" silently -- ie, I would still have time to get to my phone before it went to voicemail.

The problem is that 7 rings is almost never needed, since I hear the phone on the first or second ring -- the remaining rings are just an insistent audio annoyance.

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    How about making a ringtone 40s long but silent after 5s? On phone so will make into an answer later.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 28 '18 at 8:58
  • In case you don’t know this already: if you press the sleep button while the phone is ringing it silences it like you want. However, it seems Nimesh is right that there is no setting to automate this.
    – 11684
    Aug 28 '18 at 23:11
  • @Tetsujin, Brilliant idea!
    – Jonah
    Aug 28 '18 at 23:16
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Make a ringtone 40 seconds long, but containing only silence after the first 5 seconds or so.

Digital Trends have a full tutorial, though it's using an existing tune from iTunes. They also say maximum ringtone length is 30s. I always thought it was 40, so you might need to experiment.

You could quite easily do this in something like Audacity. Copy in 5s of audio but save a file 30s long. I'm not sure whether it can save AAC, but if not, save as WAV then use something like XLD to convert to AAC [m4a]. Manually change the extension to m4r & you have a ringtone.

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  • Ringtone duration is limited to 30 seconds. Isn't the tone played over again and again in loop till the call is answered? This technique may not work in that case.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Aug 29 '18 at 8:47
  • Mine goes to voicemail before it reaches the end of a long ringtone. The longest one I have is 39 seconds.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 29 '18 at 8:51
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There in no setting/configuration available in iOS which can be used to achieve the desired customization.

I think the prevailing solution is to silence the audible ringer and wear an Apple watch so you can discretly check on a call and answer directly or choose to handle the call on the phone. For the near future, the phone will likely ring when it's ringing and not when it's not.

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