These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

A text from your spouse whose car has broken down is a lot more important than, say, a friend sending a cool video. But while you can designate different tones for different callers, your phone otherwise treats all messages the same. BuzzBell changes that. It’s a messaging platform that lets you give approved senders the ability to assign different levels of urgency to messages—a gently vibrating buzz for the moderately important and an audible bell for those you can’t ignore; both notifications bypass the recipient’s mute settings. Recent world affairs opened up a gap in the market. “When the pandemic hit, and people were quarantined and isolated, the ability to get a hold of people urgently became much more meaningful,” explains Allan C. Sutherland, In-telligent’s founder. The free app has grown to nearly 100,000 users. —Eloise Barry

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at