The Apple ecosystem is not only about synchronizing data and using multiple Mac accounts, it also includes features and apps useful for those special people and VIPs in your life – people for whom you don’t ignore their emails or phone calls, and for those you probably share photos with.
There are several iOS and OS X features and apps that you can use to highlight those special people in our life without needing to buy more apps or hardware. You can set up Mail notifications and ringtones, and share Photo Stream albums, Calendar dates, and Reminder lists, and even purchased apps with family members or a really close friend or two.
Special Ringtones & Text Tones
The default ringtone for the iPhone is called Marimba, which comes from the musical instrument of its name. But if you’re new to the iPhone, you may not know that the iPhone includes two dozen other ringtones you can choose from to assign to special people on your Contact list. So for example, you could assign the Harp ringtone to your spouse or a relative, so you know specifically when he or she is calling you.
To assign a special ringtone, tap the Contacts button in the Phone app, select your contact’s name, and then select the Edit button on the upper-right. Next, scroll down to the “ringtone” section and tap on it. From there you can preview different ringtones and assign one to your Contact.
Notice also you can do the same thing with Text message tones and vibrations. I actually use these special tones to ignore calls and text messages with the default sounds.
You can also roll your own ringtones using Garageband (Jeffry explains how here, or you can purchase ringtones via the iTunes app > More > Tones. I’ve made ringtones out of the favorite songs of my family members, so I’ll definitely know when they are calling.
There are also iPhone apps that allow you to download free tones, such as Ringtones 500,000+ (free).
VIP Mail List & Rules
You can add special people to your VIP Mail list. This way, all the emails from that person will show up in a single folder. To add a contact to your VIP list on your iPhone, select the person’s email message; then tap on their name in the From address field, and from there tap “Add to VIP.”
Your VIPs will show up on all your Mac and iOS devices connected through your iCloud account. Likewise, to add a VIP to your list in the Mail application of Mountain Lion, select the contact’s name in the From field of an email, and then move your cursor to the left side of their name. Select the Star icon that appears, which will add that email address to your VIP list.
Mail Rule For Special People
You can also use a Mail rule to highlight special people, which will cause the Mail icon in your Mac’s dock to bounce up and down when you receive an email from a selected person or someone in a Group in your Contact list.
To set this up, select a contact’s email and then open the Preferences window for Mail. Next, click the “Rule” button, and then the “Add Rule” button. Type the person’s name in the Description, and make sure their email address is in the “Any Recipient > contains” text field. You can also instead use “From” in the drop-down list of parameters.
Next, click on the “Move Message” button and select “Bounce Icon in Dock.” Click OK, and whenever an email from your selected person arrives, this rule will activate.
Share Calendar Appointments
You can share calendar appointments with significant others. Say you schedule a dentist appoint for your child on your Calendar app. You can use the “Add invitees…” feature to share the calendar date with your spouse. This feature will send the invitee an email with the calendar date attached. When the invitee accepts the calendar date, it will be added to their supporting Calendar app.
Share Reminders List
The Reminders app which is now included in both iOS 6 and Mountain Lion can also be used to share selected lists with others. However, setting up list sharing can only be done by logging into your iCloud account via a web browser.
After you log in, select the Reminders app on the home page.
Next select or create a new list, and then hover your mouse to the right side of that highlighted list. Click on the Share icon that pops up and type in the email address of the person you want to share the list with. If the person’s name is in your Contact list, their email should show up. After the recipient approves your list, whatever you add to that list will automatically show up in their Reminders app.
If you have apps that you purchased from the iTunes App Store or the Mac App Store that you to want to share with a family member, this can also be done. On the iOS device that you want to share apps to, launch the Settings app, and then tap on “iTunes & App Stores.” From there tap on the Apple ID at the top. In the pop-up window, select Sign Out, and then sign back in using your account information.
Locate the app you’ve already purchased, and tap the “Install” button for that app. You will get a notice that you have already purchased the item. Click OK and download. After the downloads are made, the person should go back to the Settings app and sign back into their account.
The only caveat with this approach is that the person may need to sign into your account again for future updates of apps you’ve shared.
A few other sharing features you might be interested in include sharing your iOS and iPhoto photos via Photo Stream, and using the Find My Friends app for knowing where your family members are.
For other iOS and OS X related ideas, check out these articles :
- 10 New iOS 6 Settings You Should Know About
- Tips To Help You Get More Done With Photo Stream [iOS & OS X]
- 8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center
Let us know what you think of these sharing and highlighting features on iOS and OS X devices. Are there any other ways you share with family and friends, or specifically recognize them on your devices? Share your tips.