How to Customize Samsung's Notification Sounds

Everything you should know about notification sounds

One of the coolest personalization options for Samsung Galaxy smartphones, is that you can customize your Samsung notification sounds. Besides being able to choose a cool song or audio snippet you really like, this also allows you to choose separate tones for various apps, events and even contacts. You can tell by the tone what alert came in, or who it was reaching out to you.

While the option to change ringtones and alerts is pretty much universal across all Android phones, the process for doing so on a Samsung phone is a little different. 

Choosing a Universal Ringtone for Calls

The first method for selecting a custom ringtone will set the track or tune for the entire system. What this means is that it’s the ringtone you will hear anytime someone calls, whether stranger or friend. The exception is if you designate a ringtone for a specific contact, then that tone will play instead—we’ll go over how to do that later in the guide.

To set a universal ringtone, do the following:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notifications and quick-launch tray. Select Settings (gear icon).

    Alternatively, you can swipe from the bottom of the screen up when you’re on the homepage to open the app drawer. From there, you can choose Settings (gear icon).

  2. Select Sounds and Vibration from the Settings menu.

  3. Near the top, tap the Ringtone option to select from a list of available tones.

    How to change ringtone on Samsung phone.
  4. Choose the tone or song you want and you’re done.

  1. To choose a track or tone that's not included in the system list select the + (plus) icon in the top right of the Ringtone list. This option will allow you to choose a ringtone from the list of tracks and media currently stored on your phone.

If the track you want to use is not stored locally on your device then you will not be able to select it as a ringtone. Be sure to download the track or tone you want to use and store them in either the Ringtones or Notifications folder on your SDcard—this applies to both internal and external storage.

Choosing a Universal Notification Sound

Similar to choosing a universal ringtone for calls, you can set a system-wide tone for notifications and alerts. All text notification sounds, default app alerts and push notifications will use it.

To set a universal notification sound, do the following:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notifications and quick-launch tray. Select Settings (gear icon).

    Alternatively, you can swipe from the bottom of the screen up when you’re on the homepage to open the app drawer. From there, you can choose Settings (gear icon).

  2. Select Sounds and Vibration from the Settings menu.

  3. Near the top, tap the Notifications Sounds option to select from a list of available tones.

    How to change ringtone on Samsung phone.
  4. Choose the tone or song you want and you’re done.

Unlike you can do with ringtones, you cannot choose a tone that’s not included in the list from the settings menu. If you wish to use a notification sound that doesn’t appear in the list, you’ll need to ensure it’s stored locally in one of the Notifications folders on your phone’s storage. You can download or move the file to either the folder on your internal or external storage; it doesn’t matter which you use, it’s a matter of preference.

Choosing a Custom Ringtone for a Single Contact

While the universal ringtone will play anytime, a custom ringtone will overrule it. That means you can set individual tones for each contact in your phone if you want. The melody can help you identify who is calling without even looking at your phone.

To set a custom ringtone for a single contact, do the following:

  1. Swipe from the bottom of the screen up when you’re on the homepage to open the app drawer. From there, you can choose Contacts (person icon). Be sure you’re selecting the Samsung Contacts app and not any others that might be installed on your phone.

  2. From the list of contacts stored on your phone, choose the one you wish to give a custom ringtone.

  3. On the next screen, select the Edit option (pencil icon).

  4. At the bottom of the edit screen, choose the View More option which will expand the page to include more settings.

  5. Scroll down to the very bottom where you’ll see Ringtone. By default, the universal ringtone will be active. Just choose the tone or track you wish to use from the list and you’re all set.

    Screenshots showing how to select a custom rington for a contact on Samsung.
  6. To choose a track or tone that’s not included in the initial list, do the following instead:

  • From the available Ringtone list, select the + icon in the top right.
  • This option will allow you to choose a ringtone from the list of tracks and media currently stored on your phone.

If the track you want to use is not stored locally on your device then you will not be able to select it as a ringtone. Be sure to download the track or tone you want to use and store them in either the Ringtones or Notifications folder on your SDcard—this applies to both internal and external storage.

Choosing a Custom Ringtone for a Single App

Similar to the universal ringtone and custom ringtone situation, you can set a custom notification sound for each app. It’s also important to mention that some apps will send out multiple alerts or notifications, in which case you could customize each one.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notifications and quick-launch tray. Select Settings (gear icon).

    Alternatively, you can swipe from the bottom of the screen up when you’re on the homepage to open the app drawer. From there, you can choose Settings (gear icon).

  2. Scroll down and select Apps from the Settings menu.

  3. Near the top, tap the Ringtone option to select from a list of available tones.

  4. Find the app you wish to customize in the list and select it.

  5. On the app info page, scroll down and select Notifications.

  6. You’ll see all possible notifications listed for that particular app. You can enable and disable them individually, and you can also customize the notification sound.

  7. Tap on the notification or alert you wish to change.

  8. On the notification category page, you’ll see a field labeled Sound which will list the current sound––usually the default. Tap that field and then select the tone or sound you wish to use from the list.

    Screenshots showing how to enable custom app notifications.

Custom Ringtones Must Be Stored Locally

Unlike you can do with ringtones, you cannot choose a tone that’s not included in the list from the settings menu. If you wish to use a notification sound that doesn’t appear in the list, you’ll need to ensure it’s stored locally in one of the Notifications folders on your phone’s storage. You can download or move the file to either the folder on your internal or external storage; it doesn’t matter which you use, it’s a matter of preference.