How to Change the Default Ringtone on Your iPhone

Personalize your iPhone for your needs

changing default ringtone on iphone

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

The procedures we outline were tested using iOS 12, but functionality is similar for recent versions of iOS.

How to Change The Default iPhone Ringtone

Adjust your ringtone from the Settings app:

  1. Tap Settings > Sounds & Haptics (on some older devices, this option is just Sounds).

  2. In the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section, tap Ringtone. In the Ringtone menu, you'll find a list of ringtones and see which is currently being used (the one with the checkmark next to it).

  3. On the Ringtone screen, you'll see the list of all the ringtones on your iPhone. From this screen, you can choose one of the ringtones that came with the iPhone.

  4. If you want to buy new ringtones, tap the Tone Store button in the Store section (on some older models, tap Store in the top right corner and then Tones on the next screen). For step-by-step instructions on buying ringtones, check out our advice about How to Buy Ringtones on the iPhone.

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

  6. 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 and then leave that screen.

To go back to the previous screen, tap Sounds & Haptics in the top left corner 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. 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 one of the iPhone's built-in sounds? You can. All you need is the song you want to use and an app for creating the ringtone.

Once you've got an app, create your ringtone and add it your iPhone.

Setting 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.

How to Change Vibrations

Here's a bonus: You can also change the vibration pattern your iPhone uses when you get a call. This variation 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 & Haptics (or Sounds)

  3. Set the Vibrate on Ring or Vibrate on Silent sliders (or both) to on/green.

  4. Tap Ringtone under Sounds and Vibration Patterns.

  5. Tap Vibration.

  6. Tap the pre-defined 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. 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.

Problems with ringtones can lead to your iPhone not ringing when calls come in. But there are a number of other things that can cause that problem.