Changing Your Android Ringtone

Your Droid doesn't have to sound like a droid

When it comes to making your phone truly your own, using custom ringtones is a must. Whether you choose one ringtone for all your incoming calls or set a specific tone for every caller, the Android operating system has all the power and the flexibility you need.

The instructions below apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, or another manufacturer. In some models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, there is no Okay button to press. Simply press the Home screen button and go about your day.

Setting Default Ringtones

Depending on the model of Android phone you have, you can choose from several stock ringtones. Here's how to browse through the ringtones that came with your phone:

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.

  2. Scroll through the available settings until you locate Sound. Select it.

  3. The sound settings contain all sorts of options to adjust the different sound levels and tones on your device. These will vary slightly based on your device and the version of Android that it's running, but they should all be fairly similar. Scroll down to find the Phone Ringtone option. Select it to open the dialog box to set your ringtone.

    This could bring up a dialog box that asks you if you want to use the Android System or your stored music to assign your ringtone. For sake of this example, select Android System.

  4. A new dialog box will open to display a list of ringtones available on your device. Select one of the available ringtones to hear what it sounds like. When you find one that you want to use as your default ringer, press Ok to save the selection.

    Sound, Phone ringtone, OK buttons in Android settings

Samsung Phones

A Samsung device has a little different path to get to the ringtones.

  1. Launch the Settings app, then tap Sounds and vibration.

  2. Find Ringtone in the list and tap it.

  3. Choose the ringtone you want to set for your phone (you'll hear a sample of it when you choose each one).

  4. Finally, tap the back arrow at the bottom of your screen and the new ringtone will be set. You can tap the Home button to dismiss the Settings app.

    Three Samsung Android screens showing Sounds and vibration, Ringtone, and back arrow button

New Ringtones From Your Computer

The simplest and least expensive way to get new ringtones is to transfer them over from your computer. Most Android devices can use regular music files as ringtones. You can even cut and edit your own on your computer using your music files. While plenty of devices will accept other formats, sticking to MP3 and OGG is generally a good idea.

  1. Connect your Android device to your computer via a USB cable. Usually, the cable that's part of your charger is a good bet.

  2. On your Android device, swipe down from the top of the screen to see your notifications. You should see a system notification stating that your device is connected via USB for charging. Tap that notification.

  3. A new dialog box will open up and allow you to choose how your device is connected. Choose Transfer files.

    USB charging this device, Transfer files button in Android
  4. Now, turn your attention to your computer. Open Windows Explorer or whichever file browser is available on your system.

  5. Navigate to where your device is mounted. This would be the same location your PC displays connected USB drives. On Windows, it's This PC.

    This PC on Windows
  6. In your Android device's internal storage, find and open the Ringtones directory.

    Ringtones folder in Windows
  7. Copy any music files that you'd like to use as ringtones into this folder. When you return to your settings, you'll find them listed among the default system ringtones in the same dialog box list.

Time to Go Shopping

If the stock ringtones don't offer the level of customization you want, go to Google Play and do a quick search for ringtones. The search results include many apps — some paid and some free.

Three Google Play screens showing search for ringtones, then two pages of results.

Two free apps to consider are:

  • ZEDGE Ringtones & Wallpapers: Make your phone a conversation starter with the free ringtones in the ZEDGE app. It also includes notification sounds, app icons, alarms, and free wallpapers to customize your device. You can download and use a high-quality ringtone for each member of your family or for each of your friends. Categories include rock, rap, and country, plus classic ringtones and sound effects. Assign the ringtones to individual contacts from within the app.

  • RingDroid: This app allows you to use a song in your media library, select up to 30 seconds of the song, and create a ringtone from it. It takes a little while to get used to the interface and the operation of the app, but once you've made a few ringtones, you'll find that the process is easy and effective.

If these two apps do not give you the level of customization that you want or if you want a specific set of ringtones, keep scrolling through the search results in Google Play until you find something you like.

Android makes it easy to assign custom ringtones to personalize your Android phone and get rid of that annoying "droid" sound every time your phone rings. With the Android market having so many ringtone apps available, there is no reason you should have old-fashioned ringer as your default ringtone.