I have following case: when something bad happens with services I'm responsible for, I get email to specific email account. And I'd like to get alert about it from my phone.

But I don't mean just notification with a single sound. I want the alert to sound until the email is deleted or I actively disable the alert in the phone. This is for the cases when alert is raised in the night, and I just don't wake up after single, even loud, notification sound.

So is there any solution or app that would let me define something like this:

When there is email in a specified imap account, play a configurable sound, perferably with rising volume, using loudspeaker in the phone. After the sound finishes, wait 30-60 seconds, and repeat the procedure, until the mailbox is empty again or I do something on the phone to silence the alert.

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    This wouldn't be possible on a non-jailbroken iPhone, and I'm not sure it even would be easy to accomplish on a jailbroken one. Have you considered using an SMS gateway to send you a text message instead? Text message alerts can be repeated up to 10 times on iOS. – Gerry Mar 5 '12 at 17:07
  • I did, but I still need infinite alerts. – user19678 Mar 5 '12 at 17:41
  • I also am not totally sure why would jailbreaking be a necessity. – user19678 Mar 5 '12 at 17:47
  • Jailbreak is necessary because the standard Mail app doesn't provide this kind of functionality. – nohillside Mar 5 '12 at 18:27
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    @depesz There are some great answers here that actually address the question you asked, the way you asked it. Whether they suit your budget or not is actually not part of your question -- and I want to point out that in terms of how valuable the question and answers are, it would be great for the community if you would acknowledge that these are good answers, and let someone have credit for the solutions offered. Even if they're not exactly what you're looking for, they might be exactly what you asked for. – Harv Mar 11 '12 at 23:16

There might be another app that will work, eNotify. While I haven't tried it there is a lite version you can use to see if it works for you. This is along the think different solution. Send the email to a special email account and get annoying alerts.

eNotify provides direct local notification for incoming messages along with custom email alert sounds for different accounts, senders, subjects, and recipient addresses. Easily silence background email noise and stay aware of important message traffic! In addition, the message sender and subject can be shown via local notice, so you'll always know when your spouse wants you to drop by the store on the way home, without unlocking your phone!

  • not sure what is "think different" about it - it looks like it is doing precisely what I need - i.e. check given email account, and alert me when something happens. Not sure if it does alert repetition, will check it. – user19678 Mar 11 '12 at 22:46
  • Forgive the old reference for when Steve came back to Apple. – afragen Mar 12 '12 at 2:38
  • Looks like it does exactly what I need ( and then something more, but that's reasonable). And since it doesn't require any infrastructure on their end ( differently than onpage ) - it just has purchase price, and no subscription fee - perfect. – user19678 Mar 12 '12 at 14:16
  • I'm glad we could get this sorted out for you. The primary difference from a service like OnPage would seem to be Push notification. With eNotify it seems you must set the frequency of checking the email account, but the price tradeoff is great if you don't need the immediacy. – afragen Mar 12 '12 at 14:20
  • They (eNotify) seem to support email push protocol. Didn't test it much, but looks rather well. – user19678 Mar 13 '12 at 7:26

Apple does not allow 3rd party applications in the iOS App Store to interact in such a way with the default Mail application to make such a feature possible. 3rd party applications run in a sandboxed environment and are strictly prohibited any access to your mails.

On the other hand, Apple also does not allow 3rd party mail clients in the App Store, which theoretically could implement such a feature, but will never be accepted after the App review process (unless Apple would choose to change that policy in the future).

You could circumvent these limitations by jailbreaking your iPhone. However, even then it is very unlikely you'll find a ready-made solution which works exactly as you described it. You'd probably have to develop such an app yourself, and then install it on your jail-broken iPhone.

If you don't want to jailbreak, nor go through the trouble of actually developing such an app yourself, I suggest you go for a different approach. You could for example keep resending the notification by the server until you confirm reception at the server-side.

I also suggest sending an SMS through an SMS gateway instead of an e-mail. This has the added benefit you can configure a custom tone (and a more attention grabbing one if you will), just for that specific contact number. Also SMS notifications can be configured to repeat every 2 minutes for up to 10 times, so you would only need to resend the SMS every 20 minutes. Finally, this would also work when you don't have a data connection available (for example when roaming), and in case you don't have a push mail account it should reach you faster than an e-mail too.

You could also do both SMS and email for yet another fail-safe. I'll leave it up to you on how critical these notifications actually are!

  • I'm not entirely sure I follow - I mean - such app wouldn't need to interact with mail application. It could be separate. And calling it "mail client" - well, technically it's true, but I don't expect to read anything via this thing. Which would mean that I'm out of luck :( – user19678 Mar 6 '12 at 11:30

Like the man says, "There's an app for that."

It requires a paid service. The app is OnPage. It's a pager service that runs via an app on your iPhone. The service is quite reasonable for a pager service and I believe there's a 30 day trial.

After you download the app from the iTunes App Store you register with the OnPage company via the app. Registering gets you an email address like xxxx@onpage.com. Those who want to page you, send an email to that address and there's little way to ignore it.

I don't work for company but I'm a trauma surgeon and I've been using this app instead of a pager for the past 6 months or so. It works.

  • This looks interesting. Very interesting. Checking. OK. Checked. Premise is great, but monthly cost is higher than just leaving my pc running all the time. – user19678 Mar 6 '12 at 11:26
  • The price is actually good if you're trading a pager in for this service. But I understand free as in beer. – afragen Mar 6 '12 at 18:06
  • I don't require free. Just make the cost reasonable for what it does. I don't require any additional service. And I am not trading pager for this - I'm trading the need to keep my PC on all the time. – user19678 Mar 6 '12 at 20:38
  • I'm not understanding why the need for keeping a PC on all the time. Honestly, if you're looking for a solution with jailbreaking, not that I know if a solution exists with jailbreaking, using the OnPage service will do exactly as you want. – afragen Mar 8 '12 at 16:40
  • I am not looking for solution with jailbreaking. I am looking for solution. OnPage is simply too expensive - in comparison with alternative - which is to keep my pc on all the time, and run there simple script which does the check/alert loop. – user19678 Mar 9 '12 at 6:26

We use PagerDuty and our iPhones to accomplish alerts similar to what you're after. You can setup your own escalation scheduler for your account in PagerDuty. Ours typically look like this:

  • Send an email to @mywork.com right away
  • After 15 minutes send an SMS to their phone
  • After 15 minutes call their phone
  • After 15 minutes move to the next person on the escalation list, repeat
  • If after it's been escalated through everyone on call, no one has ack'ed the page, SMS everyone in the company (we're a small company)

So far so. The SMS alerts can be customized on your iPhone to be highly annoying. And, of course, you can assign custom ring tones so when they call it's also unique and annoying.

  • While helpful, it's (just like OnPage) - too expensive for my limited needs. – user19678 Mar 9 '12 at 6:28

You won't be able to do something like this out of the box. Our monitoring solution calls us at night instead as people sleep through alerts.

It's available from monitis. http://portal.monitis.com/index.php/products


I have been dealing with this dilemma since eNotify 'repeat' has stopped working (iOS 8.1) and it is eating away at my battery.

Here is what I am doing now:

My email server (gmail in this case) is now set to forward my emails to my SMS email address. For Verizon, it is ##########@vtext.com. This forwards the email as a text message to my phone - from me. I have the text tone for this contact (me) set to a loud, annoying ring tone. In Settings, Notifications, Messages: turn on Badge App icon, Show on Lock screen, Alert, and Repeat Alerts 10 times.

I also have that email account set to be the only Badge App icon (otherwise my personal junk mail account will show 99 daily unread emails.)

Cons: It seems if my phone is not at the lock screen, I get the large Alert box but repeat will not happen unless it is at the Lock screen? Is what Apple intended or a bug? I suppose Apple assumes we all have perfect memories and aren't constantly multitasking.

Pros: If you walk away from your phone or it is in your pocket/purse & locked, you will get the repeat notifications. For this reason, set Lock to 1 minute to optimize.

Wouldn't life be easier if we could just set 'Repeat' on emails?? C'mon Apple. You make me miss my Blackberry.

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