How to Change the Default Ringtone on Your iPhone

Personalize your iPhone for your needs

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, 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.

How Change The Default iPhone Ringtone

It's just a few taps to change your iPhone's current ringtone to one you like better.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. From the iPhone's home screentap Settings.
  2. Tap Sounds (on some models, this is Sounds & Haptics).
  3. Go to the Sounds and Vibration Patterns and 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). 
  • Once inside Ringtone you'll see the list of all the ringtones on your iPhone. From this screen, you can choose built-in ringtones.

  • If you want to buy new ringtones, tap the Store button in the top right corner and Tones on the next screen. For step-by-step instructions on buying ringtones, read How to Buy Ringtones on the iPhone.
  • Alert Tones, farther down the screen, are normally used for alarms and other notifications, but they can be used as ringtones, too.
  • 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.

    To go back to the previous screen, tap Sounds 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. Check out these 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 (or Sounds & Haptics)
    3. Set the Vibrate on Ring and/or Vibrate on Silent sliders 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.
    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.