How to Change the Default Ringtone on Your iPhone

Personalize your iPhone for your needs

Many people prefer to change their iPhone's default ringtone to something they like better. Changing ringtones is one of the major, and easiest, ways to customize an iPhone. Changing the default ringtone means that whenever you get a call, the new tone you chose will play.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS 12 and up, but the steps and functionality are similar for older versions of iOS.

How to Change the Default iPhone Ringtone

To change your iPhone's default ringtone, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Settings app > Sounds & Haptics (on some older devices, tap Sounds).

  2. In the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section, tap Ringtone.

  3. On the Ringtone screen, tap a ringtone. Each ringtone you tap will play so you can hear what it sounds like.

  4. The iPhone comes with dozens of ringtones pre-loaded. If you want to buy new ringtones, tap Tone Store (on some older models, tap Store in the upper-right corner, then tap Tones).

    If you've never downloaded and installed ringtones, learn how to buy ringtones on the iPhone.

    Three iOS screens showing Sounds & Haptics, Ringtone, and Tone Store buttons in Settings app
  5. Alert Tones are normally used for alarms and other notifications but can be used as ringtones.

  6. When you find the ringtone you want to use as the default, tap it so that the checkmark appears next to it.

  7. To go back to the previous screen, tap Sounds & Haptics in the upper-left corner or ​click the Home button to go to the home screen. Your ringtone choice is saved automatically.

Whenever you get a call, the ringtone you selected will play unless you assigned individual ringtones to callers. If you've set a specific ringtone for an individual, that ringtone plays instead. Just remember to listen for that sound, and not a ringing phone, so you don't miss any calls.

How to Set Different Ringtones for Different People on iPhone

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 looking at the screen. Learn how in How to Set Unique Ringtones for Each Contact on Your iPhone.

How to Create Custom iPhone Ringtones

Want to use a favorite song as a ringtone instead of one of the iPhone's built-in sounds? You can! You just need a little bit of software to create your own ringtone. Find the song you want to use and get an app to create the ringtone. After you install the app, create the ringtone and add it to your iPhone.

How to Change Vibrations on iPhone

You can also change the vibration pattern the iPhone uses when you get a call. This variation can be helpful when your ringer is turned off but you 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 & Haptics (or Sounds).

  3. Move either the Vibrate on Ring or Vibrate on Silent (or both) to on/green.

  4. In the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section, tap Ringtone.

  5. Tap Vibration.

  6. Tap the pre-loaded options to test them or tap Create New Vibration to make your own.

    Three iOS screens showing Vibrate on Ring and Silent toggles, Ringtone button, Vibration button, and checkmark
  7. To select a vibration pattern, tap it so that a checkmark appears next to it. Your choice is automatically saved.

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

Problems with ringtones can lead to an iPhone not ringing when calls come in. But there are a number of other things that can cause that problem. Learn how to solve them in How to Fix the iPhone Not Ringing Problem.