Customizing Android: How to change notification sounds, ringtones, and set custom ringtones

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Android is an exciting platform, allowing you to tailor every little bit of your device to your personality. Whether it be through custom ROMs, icon packs and launchers, and right down to the notification and ringtone sounds. With Android M, customization is only going to get better.

Every device is different, but for the most part changing the sounds are straightforward. Even customizing certain ringtones to certain contacts is a seamless process.

Notifications

On most devices changing the notification sound is straight forward. For this guide, I’m using Motorola’s Moto X (2013).

First, open your app tray, and then find the Settings icon and open the app.

notifications-step-2

Next, find the “Sound” option and select it.

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Finally, just select the “Default notification sound” option.

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After that, you should be able to go through a list of different notification sounds that are preloaded on the Android system. You can select each sound to hear a preview of what it’ll sound like. Take a few minutes and find the one you like the most. Select it, and then hit accept.

sound-list-notification-guide

As you can see, it’s fairly straightforward!

Huawei

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Things are a bit different on a lot of devices from Chinese companies. For instance, some Huawei devices, instead of placing notification sound options in the Settings, it’s actually in the messaging app itself. You’ll need to go into the Messaging app, find the settings, and from there change the notification sound. It should work somewhat like the steps posted above.

Keep in mind that this is limited to a lot of their older devices. The majority of their new devices employ the same method as everyone else. So, the steps posted above should work for most Huawei owners.

Ringtones

Ringtones work much the same way as changing the notification sound. Follow the first steps above, and then select “Phone ringtone” over the “default notification sound.”

ringtone-change-step

After you select it, you can go through a selection of preloaded Ringtones and preview them. Once you figure out one you like, select it and select “OK.”

Tailoring ringtones to specific contacts

You can also set ringtones for specific contacts, but the method varies in just about every brand of smartphone. As for the Moto X (2014) you can select the “People” app, select a contact, hit the menu button in the top right menu, and select “set a ringtone” to setup a specific option for a certain contact.

Setting custom ringtones

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If you’re not fond of the sounds preloaded on Android or just prefer something new and different, Zedge is a great solution to mix things up. It’s a free download on the Google Play Store, and has thousands of different notification sounds, ringtones, and wallpapers available for free.

android-system-zedge-notification-guide

When you search for notification sounds or ringtones and download them, the only difference in these steps is that once you select “Phone ringtone,” it’ll prompt you asking if you want to look at Zedge ringtones or Android system ringtones (pictured below). Simply select which one you want to look under and hit accept. It works virtually the same way with setting a new notification sound, too.

Wrap up

There are a lot of excellent sounds out there for custom notification sounds and ringtones. However, Zedge isn’t the only option for finding a wide variety of sounds. I’m sure there’s some other excellent solutions out there. And, there’s always the option of making your own, too.

What apps do you use to get your notification and ringtone sounds? Do you make your own? Let us know in the comments.


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • EdwardLCarlson

    82$/hour@android

    >/ < w­­­w­­­w.­­­J­o­b­N­e­t­­­2­0­­.­­­C­­­o­­­m

  • Wendy Larson

    Personally I prefer mobile9 over Zedge.

    • Hellifino

      Zedge slowed my cell down.

  • Angela Mcneese

    I’m still learning things about my phone with the android app .I love it

  • Hellifino

    Need an app that has different notifications for different things (email, messages, games etc…). I hear my notifications but I don’t know what it is until I look at my phone. If they were different, it would save so much time. I have a Galaxy Note 4, not rooted. I hope somebody can help. Thanks!