How to Change the Default Ringtone on Your iPhone

changing default ringtone on iphone
iPhone photo: KP Photograph/Shutterstock

The ringtone that comes with the iPhone is fine, but most people prefer to change their phone's default ringtone to something they like better. Changing ringtones is one of the major ways people customize their iPhones.

Changing the default ringtone means that whenever you get a call, the new tone you choose will sound.

The iPhone comes with dozens of quality ringtones pre-installed, but you can also create your own from virtually any song using ringtone apps.

For more on creating your own ringtones, check out the bottom of this article. 

RELATED: How to Buy Ringtones on the iPhone

How Change The Default iPhone Ringtone

When you've got the ringtone you want to use added to your phone, or want to buy a new one, follow these instructions to change the ringtone on your iPhone:

  1. From the iPhone's home screen, tap the Settings app
  2. In Settings, tap Sounds 
  3. In Sounds, go down to the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section. In that section, look for Ringtone. That menu displays what you have set as your current iPhone ringtone. Tap that menu to choose a new ringtone
  4. This menu shows you the list of all the ringtones available on your iPhone. From this screen, you can choose custom ringtones you've added to your phone in the first section, built-in ringtones in the second section, or if you want to buy new ringtones, tap the Store button in the top right corner. If you choose this, tap Tones on the next screen to go to the ringtone section of the iTunes Store where you can stock up on new ringtones (buying a ringtone is basically the same process as buying a song).

    Alert Tones, farther down the screen, aren't exactly ringtones. They're alert sounds normally used for alarms and other notifications, but they can be used as ringtones, too

  1. When you tap a ringtone, it plays so you can preview it and decide if it's what you want. When you've found the ringtone you want to use as your default, make sure it has the checkmark next to it
  2. Tap the Sounds button in the top left corner to go back to the previous screen or click the Home button to go back to the home screen. Your ringtone choice is saved automatically.

    Now, whenever you get a call the ringtone you just selected will play (unless you've assigned individual ringtones to callers, that is. If you have, those ringtones take precedence. More on that in a minute). Just remember to listen for that sound, and not a ringing phone, so you don't miss any calls.

    How to Create Custom Ringtones

    Would you rather use your favorite song as your ringtone instead of using one of the iPhone's built-in sounds? You can. All you need is the song you want to use as a ringtone and app for creating the tone. Check out these lists of apps you can use for creating your own custom ringtones:

    Once you've got an app, read this article for instructions on how to create your ringtone and add it your iPhone.

    Set Different Ringtones for Different People

    By default, the same ringtone plays no matter who calls you. But you can change that and make a different sound play for different people. This is fun and helpful: you can know who's calling without even looking at the screen.

    To set individual ringtones for different people, read How To Assign Ringtones to Individuals on iPhone.

    How to Change Vibrations

    Here's a bonus: You can also change the vibration pattern your iPhone uses when you get a call.

    This can be helpful when your ringer is turned off but you still want to know you're getting a call (it's also useful for people with hearing impairments).

    To change the default vibration pattern:

    1. Tap Settings
    2. Tap Sounds
    3. Ensure Vibrate on Ring and/or Vibrate on Silent are set to on/green
    4. In the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section, tap Ringtone
    5. Tap Vibration
    6. Tap the pre-defined options to test them or tap Create New Vibration to make your own
    7. When you've found the vibration pattern you prefer, make sure it's got a checkmark next to it. Your choice is automatically saved.

    Just like ringtones, different vibration patterns can be set for individual contacts. Just follow the same steps as setting those ringtones and look for the Vibration option.

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