Camp Pendleton, CA

How I Never Miss A Deployment Message From My Marine!

Anyone who has been through a deployment will tell you one of the worst feelings ever is missing a message from your partner because you just didn’t hear your phone or happened to be away from your computer. Or in my case, absolutely nothing can wake you from a good nap or you utilize the “Do Not Disturb” feature each night when you go to bed.
Today we’re walking through how to set up special alerts on your phone so you never miss another message!
*The following instructions are for my iPhone users.

Step One

I feel like this one goes without saying but make sure that you have your significant others phone (& email address/addresses) saved as a contact! I had Matt’s phone number saved but hadn’t added his email addresses until I realized how crucial it would be to setting up these alerts.

Step Two

From your contacts tab, find your partner’s name and click on it to bring up their profile. You’ll then select “edit” in the upper right hand corner.

Step Three

This will now bring you into the details section of their profile. Scroll down past their phone number and email and select “Ringtone.”

Step Four

Turn “Emergency Bypass” on. You should notice the button turn green like in the screenshot example. You can now select whatever special ring tone you would like for your partner. I would recommend something that you’re not using for any other alert so that you immediately know when you’ve received a piece of communication from them. Once you’ve picked the tone you like, hit “Done” in the upper right hand corner. This will return you back to the details of the profile.

Step Five

Scroll back down again to “Text Tone” and repeat the steps from Step Four tuning on the “Emergency Baypass” and selecting an alert tone. I have both the Ringtone and Text Tone alert set to the same tone. You’ll then select “Done” and return one more time to their profile details.

Step Six

To confirm that you’re changes have been saved, you’ll now notice that under “Ringtone” your phone will display “Emergency Bypass On”.

Step Seven

So you’re probably thinking now hmmm well that’s great and all Katie but my partner can’t text me so why am I setting this all up? Well here’s the last fun hack to optimize the most of your alerts! When your partner emails you, have them send an email to your regular email address like normal but also have them add your phone number as the second address. This will allow you to receive a text message version of the email they sent, which because we just set up our custom alerts, will let you know you’ve received a message!
It’s not great to reply through text message (but you can) so when I get a notification that Matt has emailed me, it comes across as a text (with my special alert tone), and then I just go to the computer to email back! YES!


If you don’t know how to format your phone number as an email address, here are the formats for some of the most popular US wireless carriers:

  • Alltell –
  • AT&T –
  • T-Mobile –
  • Virgin Mobile –
  • Sprint –
  • Verizon –
  • Nextel –
  • US Cellular –

Just replace phone number with your actual number and you’ll be all set to go! I’d love to hear in the comments below if you used these steps or if you have any other deployment communication tips to share!

How did my first conversation with Matt go? Read all about it here!


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