Tip: Turning a Windows Phone’s ringer completely off

On Windows Phone it’s really easy to toggle between Ringer and Vibrate—simply press the volume key (up or down) and then tap the bell in the upper right hand corner to switch. But what about getting it to silent mode?

It’s a little tricky but easy once you understand how it works: Simply head to Settings –> Ringtones + Sounds and toggle the Vibrate function off. Now, when you tap the bell in the upper right hand corner, it will switch between Ringer + Silent. Sure, we wish there was an easier way to toggle between all three (ringer, vibrate and silent) but this is Microsoft’s current paradigm so that’s what we have to use.

Should Microsoft offer a third tap to toggle vibrate on or off? Let us know in the poll after the break. And make sure you check out our other tips and tricks.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Yes, please.
  • It would be easier...yes.
  • If you wonder who is that one guy who voted for "no one contacts me" ... #foreveralone
  • As a newcomer to WP, this tip is so helpful. I've been cursing my phone every night as I had to switch it to silent through the settings and lowering the volume all the way. Thanks!
  • Hey, does any one know what is the weather app? It looks amazing!
  • Amazing Weather ;)
  • Thanks!
  • That's actually pretty funny how that worked out!
  • Amazing weather looks amazing. Lol.
  • +1 Please
  • Yes! Would be great.
  • My alarm still makes sounds even if I put my device on silence, does anyone have that problem too? (I've got a HTX 8X)
  • Lower the device volume to zero with the volume buttons on the side. It's not a problem, it's a feature so you can keep the phone from blowing up when people text and call you whilst still allowing your alarm to...well, alarm you!
  • this is not a problem, alarms will always make a sound on any phone, some phones like blackberry or symbian will swtich on if the phone was off :)
  • I think that's the idea of an alarm, Elchicos.
  • Thanks for the scoop! I had no idea how to switch to silent. Microsoft does need to make this process a little less tedious.
  • Please add it.
  • Yes! Its annoying! I always have to go to settings to turn of vibrate if im in university oder ciname! And turn it on again later ...
    I really hope they will add this option! Maybe short press = vibrate - long press = silent ...
  • This is yet another basic feature on every other phone that Microsoft has seemed to manage to miss.
    Really disappointed at all the basic functions Windows Phone 8 is lacking. Really simply things like silent mode via volume control, stopping music, ending apps, changing notification sounds, alwyas on WiFi. So many basics they need to work on.
  • this is the reason I find it hard to recommend a windows phone to my friends, I can overlook the little thing but a lot of people can't... I missed many calls because I lowered the volume while playing a game and forgot to raise it back up after am done :/
  • Same here. Why adding a dedicated sound control is so hard for MS : (
  • Same here, can't recommend something I'm not so happy with myself.
  • That is my number one complaint too.
  • You need to switch to another operating system.
  • Or we could hope the OS we support actually improves and stays competitive.
  • Don't need to stop music or close apps, quit whining
  • I think it's bad when MS causes me to rethink if I should have gotten an iPhone 4s instead of a 900 because of all these small, but basic things the iPhone just nails on the head. Like the side toggle to go between vibrate and ring without having to wake your phone. Or just having that cycle between ring+vibrate>ring>vibrate>silent like it is on almost all phone, even smart phones. Then there's smart dialing that has been on basic phones for ages, again missing on WP7.
    I agree, it is really hard to recommend these phones because it is embarrassing yo explain to the person why they're suddenly missing rather basic features like these.
  • Wasn't that toggle on Palm phone first.
  • It would be nice if MS offers connectivity shortcuts as well with the third tap..
  • Agree with a 3rd option.
    So far I've been toggling airplane mode at night to keep my 920's rattling-vibration alerts from startling me at night.
  • That's only one tap less than just putting it on silent as this article shows, plus your phone isn't syncing or downloading anything while in airplane mode. That's really not a good solution IMO.
    Yes, it definitely needs to be easier to toggle silent.
  • I've thought since Windows Phone 7 that they should simply have the silent feature be a tap and hold of that bell. Use the two toggle options between vibrate and ringer & vibrate, and then silent is tap and hold.
  • This is a great idea. I never want mine to completely silence, but there should be an easier way to do it.
  • A simple cycle through all combination would be enough. Ring, vibrate, ring+vibrate, silent; rinse and repeat... :) Honestly, it would take a second to tap-tap-tap your way to silent. :)
  • Bring back flip to silence. 900 had it but the 920 does not. That was always quickest way to silence the ringer
  • Yeah, love that feature on my HD7. I'm not sure if the WP8 models have it too
  • Yep.  HTC 8X has it.
  • Doesn't that only work on a single incoming phone call? I don't think it silences the phone like silent mode does...
  • It would be nice if we also had a full-silent mode; an OS level mute.  Currently, silent mode only seems to affect the ringer, so to make your phone completely silent, you have to lower the volume *and* enable silent mode. In the regular version of Windows, if you mute the OS, *nothing* can make noise.  One setting.  Done.
  • Oh yes, that'd be truly awesome and so innovative! /s Honestly, why do we still need to beg MS to fix such elementary gaps in the UI (the entire volume system is simply a disgrace in 7.x, and no improvement in WP8)? We need a less complacent and much more vocal user base, starting from WPCentral and the rest. C'mon Daniel, "this is MS's current paradigm"! When something stinks, let's say it , and say it out loud, without such iSheepish attitude!
  • Are you new here? Daniel won't hesitate to let you know how he really feels or take a crap on MS, Nokia, or who ever if they are screwing up. I think you might want to re-read his post again since you forgot to quote " we wish there was an easier way to toggle between all three (ringer, vibrate and silent)" and "that’s what we have to use."
  • Exactly my point. "We wish." Wish!? We don't sheepishly just wish such elementary features that should've been there in the first place, we demand them. Now.
  • {sarcasm} Ok, so let's just say Windows Phone is rubbish and needs to die and Redmond HQ needs blowing up with a nuclear bomb! {/sarcasm}
    I personally like it the way it is. Sure, adding it in won't harm me but it doesn't bother me if it isn't. Plus Daniel actively supports the people who post things saying to Microsoft on how to improve WP and often features them on the news. He isn't afraid to take a steaming crap on Microsoft, Nokia, etc, if they do something wrong.
  • This setting change is still pointless as Apps and Media still play even when its on Vibrate or Silent. The only way to make Apps quiet is turning volume all the way down.
  • How about bringing back profiles?! Better yet individual volume control over apps and OS?! >:( Gosh
  • Listen to Daniel's comment pertaining to "prioritization" in WPC 152. Explains everything.
  • This is not a difficult thing to implement nor is it a huge inconvience for those who wouldn't use it. Please add this feature.
  • I really like the profiles idea so you could have different profiles that have different sound settings like BlackBerry does, that's the only thing I miss being on Windows Phone
  • I find it annoying that when I am using headphones, the alerts still play through the phone speaker.
  • Never experienced that
  • And if we are asking, please offer a timed option, I.e. If I long press go to vibrate/silent for (default) 2 hours then return to ringer...
  • My 920 has started making a sound every time I remove the charging cable and even when I take it off the plate. I don't think it used to at the beginning. All my alert tones are turned off. What gives?????
  • It's letting you know it's happy you're feeding it delicious power :P
  • Same here. It appeared after an update from Nokia. I really would like to silence the tone when placing on and off charge.
  • I thought about developing an app for that. Its so annoying the way its set up right now
  • No need for a 3rd option.  I'd be nice to get a hardware switch. this particular feature is useful for disabling all sound caused by external stimuli such as phone calls messages or emails. With a hardware switch i can kepp my phone in the pocket and reach in with my hand and turn all unexpected sounds off.  so that if someone calls me or texts me my phone will remain silent. 
    this iphone feature is very clever. Low tech beats high tech on this one.  It's worth reproducing this feature if it's not patented.
  • If MS isn't going to change this system, they should at least make the current setup more obvious. We shouldn't have to count on a news site to point out this functionality that is important and useful to a large portion of the user base!
  • Not obvious enough?
  • I like the idea is a third option. But what I really want is what I have on my unlocked focus...Snotify...http://www.jmd-software.net/. I have this setup for sleeping and church. Works like a charm. I would also like to see them implement "sync times" for email like we used to have in wm6.x. No reason to have the phone syncing email in the middle of the night
  • Scheduled sync times would be great.
  • They should make fully customizable sound settings and then the icon at the top should toggle those instead.
  • No big deal, but a lot of people r picky, so u might need to make an easier way..
  • They really need to fix the overall volume control. If I turn my music or game down to a low level, my ringer shouldn't be lowered too. If I forget to turn it back up and walk away, I miss all my texts and calls. Very annoying.
  • Completely agreed.
  • Sounds like a personal problem.
  • you need to go away....as in 6 feet under away.
  • Probably I'm the only guy who support this volume rocker system of ms... let me explain why. my first phone was sony erricson w700. there was different settings for different profiles like home outdoor ofiice etc and also you can set a specific volume level for each stuff like ring, message, mail, music player etc. but its a tedious job for me to keep change each profile acoording to the situation. But here Ms did an excelent job by keeping all that stuff;s volume connected with a single volume rocker switch... Now some one may blame me that when he or she low the volume of music player they also lower the ringer volume simultaneously thats why they missed some important call. but that is not the case for me cz when i actively using my phone such as playing game then i can see any incoming call or messages. and when i listining musics with a low volume then music stop when incoming call came and also i can here ring when using a head phone.. all u hv to do just low volume when u using ur phone such as playing game and listing musics and then again pump up the sound actively. less effort needed todo this than to keep allthe settings and stuff;s volume level changeing from settings... what do u thing??? sorry for bad english... 
  • I understand your point perfectly and I believe Microsoft was thinking the same thing when they opted to go with a single volume control.
  • Thank you. All these people complaining and I don't think many thought about why it is this way. The same people complain about 3g on a tablet then never activate it. Your done playing a game? Turn the volume up... Simple, but nooo, my phone should make toast.
  • As long as we're griping, how about a couple more alarm snooze options between 4 & 24 hours!!?? And sure, make silent mode easier to get to while you're at it. :)
  • YES, definetely.
  • It would definitely be easier with that third tap
  • One of the issues I have in WP8 is I can have my volume down to 0 and alerts off.  When I miss a call I still get the three tones.....  WTF.
    And while we're on the subject of minor improvements...  How about the SIMPLE option to disable toast for texts?  Or an automatic disable when when a passcode is set.  If I have my phone locked, its because I don't want anyone to see ANYTHING.  Yet...toast pops up like "here I am! read me!"  That's the only thing I've absolutely hated about WP7 and WP8.
  • Stop cheating and leave the phone face up.
  • To Daniel:  What weather app do you use by the way?
  • never mind i glossed over it and found it. Amazing weather. 
  • When I first got my WP I tried to tap & hold on the alert toggle... To my disappointment it did nothing. -_-
    It should toggle vibration I/O!
  • They should! :) more possibilities, more flexibility :D
  • I would go even further. I wish MS had a few profiles:
    -normal: ring + vibrate
    -vibrate: silent + vibrate
    -silent: silent + no vibration
    And when I mean silent, I mean silent. Turning sounds off COMPLETELY. Currently on my WP 7.8 when I put it to vibrate, games still make noise. I wish it was a "shut up you dumb phone" button instead.
  • Turning the volume down to 0 takes little effort.
  • Yes, I was really sad to not see this in 8. 3 way toggle seems the most logical. How about a week view in the calendar while they're at it?
  • +1 for the week view in the calendar.
  • Redundant, viewing the month will suffice.
  • It should be ringer, ringer + vibrate, vibrate, silent. Same way it was in Windows Mobile. Not everything back then was jacked up. Please bring back common sense.
  • This feature isn't needed. If your done playing a game, turn the volume back up. If you want it silent it takes little effort to turn it down to 0. Profiles? How many actually use that to make it a worthwhile addition. I like Windows Phone 8 and what Microsoft is doing. I don't need a bloated os full of features less than half the owners use.
  • I like Android's way - Volume Control <> Silent <> Vibration.
    Although I do not see the need to change how it currently works.
    The only important thing to me is that they separate ring volume from media/app volume which currently sucks as it is.
  • Add a third option!!!  Dumb little things like this are the only problems with my WP.
  • Having to go into settings, then ringtones and sounds is a PITA. A third tap is not only intuitive, it's more efficient than any other platform out there (iOS, Android, etc.) I'd love this feature on my 920.
  • ringer management in Windows Phone IS A JOKE, compared to Windows Mobile 6.5!
  • Yes, an additional tap to turn off vibrate would be welcome otherwise silent does not actually mean silent.  Also needed:
    - Separate volume controls for media / ringer etc.
    - Ability to turn off haptic feedback.
  • Pretty sure this was driving me crazy well over a year ago when I cast my vote here: http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/sugg...
    I'm a Windows Phone enthusiast, but it's little things like this where I can't blame the naysayers for going out and buying their iPhones even after drooling over my 920.