Can I make my email notification sound different?

Why You Might Want Custom Email Sounds

Using the default notification sounds for emails can lead to alert fatigue. Over time, the standard beeps and dings will blend together, causing you to tune them out. Customizing your email notification sounds is a great way to stand out and cut through the noise.

Unique notification sounds can reflect your personality or brand. Rather than settling for the generic alerts, you can pick fun sounds that showcase your style. Custom audio can also increase email open rates by catching your attention when a new message arrives.

According to an article on the Tchop blog, “Users are immune to hearing the standard beep or ting notification sounds that come built-in to their mobile phones.” Using custom sounds provides a fresh way to notify you of new emails that won’t get drowned out by other alerts.


Default Email Alert Sounds

Most major email platforms and devices come with default sounds for email notifications. For example, the default sound on iPhones is a simple “ding” sound. On Android devices, the default Gmail notification is a “pop” sound. Outlook’s default sound on Windows is a light chime.

These default sounds are designed to be simple, subtle, and not too intrusive. The advantage of using a default sound is that it’s familiar and innocuous. You likely won’t find it annoying or disruptive. However, the simplicity of default sounds means they’re easy to overlook or tune out, especially if you get a lot of emails. It can be easy to miss notifications if the sound doesn’t stand out.


Some users may want an email alert sound that is more unique, branding aligned, or attention-grabbing. This is where custom sounds can be beneficial.

How to Change Email Sounds on Desktop

On desktop computers, you can customize the sound that plays when you receive a new email notification. The steps vary slightly depending on your operating system.


To change the email notification sound on Windows 10 or 11:

  1. Open the Start menu and go to Settings > Personalization > Themes > Sounds [1]
  2. In the Sounds settings, go to the Notifications tab
  3. Scroll down and select Mail in the list of apps
  4. Click the drop down next to the sound name and choose a new sound from the list
  5. Click Apply and the new sound will be used for email notifications moving forward


On Mac:

  1. Open System Preferences > Notifications
  2. Select Mail in the left sidebar
  3. Click the drop down next to Sound and select a new alert sound
  4. Close System Preferences and the sound change will take effect


The steps to change notification sounds on Linux vary depending on your distribution and desktop environment. For example on Ubuntu’s Unity desktop:

  1. Open System Settings > Sound
  2. Click the Sounds tab
  3. Scroll down to “Mail Notification” and click the sound drop down
  4. Choose a new sound from the list

Refer to your distro’s documentation for exact steps tailored to your system.

How to Change Email Sounds on iPhone

To change the email notification sound on an iPhone, you’ll need to navigate to the Sounds & Haptics settings. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on “Sounds & Haptics”.
  2. Under the “Sounds and Vibration Patterns” section, tap on “New Mail”.
  3. This will open up a menu of all the available default notification sounds and vibration patterns. Scroll through and tap on the sound you want to set for new email notifications.
  4. Alternatively, you can tap on “Add New Sound…” at the bottom to select an audio file from your iPhone’s internal storage. This allows you to set customized alert tones.

The key settings path is Settings > Sounds & Haptics > New Mail. Selecting a custom sound here will make your iPhone play that audio file every time you receive a new email notification.

How to Change Email Sounds on Android

Changing your email notification sound on Android is easy to do right from your device’s Settings menu. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android phone.
  2. Navigate to Sound > Advanced > Default notification sound.
  3. Tap on the current default notification sound to see a list of options.
  4. Browse through the available notification sounds and select the one you want to use for email alerts.
  5. You can also add your own custom audio file by tapping Add ringtone at the bottom.
  6. Choose an MP3 or other audio file from your phone’s storage.
  7. Set the new sound as your Default notification sound.

Now when you get a new email, your Android device will play the notification sound you selected. You can customize different notification sounds for other apps too using the same steps.

For more details, check out Google’s guide for changing Gmail notification sounds on Android.

Using Custom Brand Sounds

Custom branded notification sounds allow you to extend your brand identity and increase engagement. Having a unique branded sound associated with your app or service can provide several benefits:

According to OneSignal, custom branded notification sounds create a more unique and branded user experience. When your app has an identifiable branded sound, it stands out and users are more likely to engage with the notifications.

As noted in this Futurice article, branded notification sounds essentially act like an audio logo, immediately communicating your brand identity. Using sounds that match your brand personality makes notifications from your app instantly recognizable.

When selecting a branded notification sound, it’s important to choose audio that fits your brand image and values. The sound should be distinctive but not annoying or disruptive. Consider sound effects or musical tones that communicate your brand’s emotions and aesthetics.

Testing notification sounds with target users can ensure the audio aligns with brand perceptions. Evaluating on both iOS and Android devices will account for any differences in sound quality across platforms.

With thoughtful selection of branded notification sounds, apps can reinforce brand identity and boost user engagement every time new alerts come in.

How to Add Custom Audio Files

Most smartphones and PCs allow you to add custom audio files as notification sounds. This lets you set more unique and personalized alert tones.

The most commonly supported audio formats are MP3, WAV, and M4A. Some devices may also support formats like FLAC, OGG, and others.

To add a custom sound on iPhone, open the Settings app and go to Sounds & Haptics. Tap Ringtone or Text Tone, then tap Add New Sound. You’ll then be able to select an audio file from your device storage. See Apple’s guide for full instructions.

On Android, open Settings and go to Sound. Tap Notification sound and select Add ringtone at the bottom. Pick an audio file and it will be added to your ringtones. See Google Support for step-by-step directions.

For Windows, open Settings > System > Sound and select an audio file under “Add a sound.” See Microsoft’s guide to changing Windows sounds.

On Mac, open System Preferences > Sound and go to the Sound Effects tab. Drag and drop audio files to add custom alert tones. See Apple’s Mac sound settings.

Third Party Apps for Custom Sounds

If the default sounds on your device don’t cut it, you can download third party apps to access a wider variety of custom notification sounds.

One popular app for this is Zedge, which has a huge library of free ringtones, notification sounds, alarm tones, and wallpapers. After downloading Zedge, you can browse or search their collection to find the perfect custom sound for your email alerts.

Other options like Notification Sounds also provide thousands of high quality sounds to elevate your notifications.

The main pros of using third party apps are the vast libraries of unique and high quality sounds to choose from. You’re not limited to the default options on your device. These apps make it easy to browse and preview sounds, and set different ones for each app.

Potential downsides are that you may get ads in free versions of the apps, and have to be vigilant about app permissions. There is also the risk of downloading sounds that turn out to be annoying or inappropriate. But overall, third party sound apps provide a simple way to customize your notification experience.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are having issues getting custom sounds to work properly for your email notifications, here are some troubleshooting tips:

Check that sound notifications are enabled for your email app. On Windows 10, go to Settings > System > Notifications and actions. Make sure your email app is highlighted and the “Play a sound when a notification arrives” box is checked. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Notifications and check that sounds are enabled for your email app.

Make sure system sounds are enabled. On Windows, go to Control Panel > Sound and check that system sounds are not muted. On an iPhone, toggle the side switch so it is not in silent mode and enable sounds under Settings > Sounds & Haptics.

Check app permissions. Your email app may not have permission to play sounds. On Windows 10, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Click on your email app and make sure “Notifications” is enabled under permissions. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Your Email App and enable notifications.

Try a different audio file. There may be an issue with the specific custom audio file you selected. Try using another file in a common format like .mp3 or .wav.

Restart your device. A simple reboot can often resolve temporary glitches with sound settings.

Update your OS and email app. Having the latest software updates can fix bugs related to notifications and sounds.

Key Takeaways

Summarizing the key points, being able to customize your email notification sounds provides several benefits. It allows you to personalize your device to match your preferences. Unique sounds can help you identify important emails at a glance. The process for changing sounds is straightforward on desktop and mobile platforms. When selecting a custom sound, it’s best to pick something relatively short and subtle. Extremely loud or abrasive sounds could become annoying over time. Overall, customizing your notification sounds is an easy way to add personal flair and functionality to your email experience.

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