Can you personalize text tones on Android?

A recent study found that 58% of consumers expect personalized offers and messaging from brands. This highlights the importance of personalization in engaging consumers. One simple yet impactful way to personalize the mobile experience is by customizing text message tones.

What are text tones?

Text tones are the sounds your phone makes when you receive a new text message. Instead of the standard beep or chime, you can customize text tones to play a unique sound for incoming SMS and MMS messages.

There are a few main types of text tones:

  • Chimes – Short, chime-like tones in various pitches
  • Musical tones – Short clips of melodies, songs, or other musical sounds
  • Sound effects – Funny sounds, movie quotes, animal noises, etc.
  • Vibrations – Different vibration patterns rather than sounds

Text tones allow you to assign distinct sounds to different contacts so you can identify who is texting you without having to look at your phone. They also let you express your personality through fun, quirky notification sounds.

Why personalize text tones?

Personalizing your text notification tones provides several benefits that can improve your mobile phone experience. Two key advantages are helping you quickly identify senders and separate work/personal texts.

Setting custom text tones allows you to assign unique sounds to different contacts. For example, you may use a fun jingle for texts from your spouse, a subtle chime for messages from close friends, and a professional tone for work-related communications. When your phone rings or vibrates, you’ll instantly recognize who is contacting you without even needing to look at the screen 1.

Likewise, custom tones make it easy to differentiate between personal and professional texts. You could set a cheerful, upbeat sound for friends and family and a more formal notification for coworkers or clients. This audible distinction helps you maintain a healthier work-life balance by allowing you to quickly triage messages.

How to change text tones on Android

Here are step-by-step instructions for changing your text notification tones on Android devices:

1. Open the Messages app.

2. Tap the 3 dot menu icon in the top right corner.

3. Select ‘Settings’.

4. Tap ‘Notifications’.

5. Under ‘Incoming messages’, tap ‘Sound’.

6. Select the tone you want to use for incoming texts.

7. Tap ‘OK’ to confirm.

Now your selected tone will play for all new incoming texts in the Messages app. You can customize tones for individual contacts as well.

Customize tones for individual contacts

You can set a unique text tone for each contact on your Android phone so you know who is messaging you without having to look at the screen.

Here are the steps to customize text tones for individual contacts:

  1. Open your Contacts app and select the contact you want to customize.
  2. Tap “Edit contact” and scroll down to the Ringtone section.
  3. Tap “Default notification sound” and you’ll see a list of available ringtones and notification sounds.
  4. Select the sound you want to set as that contact’s custom text tone.
  5. Tap “OK” to save the change.

Now when that contact texts you, your phone will play the unique tone you selected so you know it’s them. Repeat these steps for other contacts you wish to customize.

On some Android phones like Samsung, you may need to enable Contact Ringtones in Settings > Sounds and vibration first before custom tones can be set.

According to this Android Central guide, some Samsung phones require this extra step after Android Oreo updates.

Use ringtone or notification sounds

On Android, you can set separate tones for incoming calls and message notifications. The tone used for incoming calls is called the ringtone, while the tone for notifications like text messages is called the notification tone.
Ringtones are sounds that play when you receive a phone call. Notification tones play for other alerts like new messages, emails, calendar events, and social media notifications (Ringtone sound vs notification sound).

By default, Android uses the same sound for both ringtones and notifications. However, you can customize them separately in your sound settings. Set a unique ringtone to identify incoming calls. Pick a different notification tone to distinguish alerts (Alert tones vs ringtones).

Change vibration pattern

One way to customize text tones on Android is by changing the vibration pattern that occurs when you receive a text message. Rather than using the default vibration, you can create a custom pattern so you know a text is coming in without even looking at your phone.

There are a couple ways to change the vibration pattern on Android devices:

  • On Samsung Galaxy devices, you can go to Settings > Sound and vibration > Vibration pattern and select or create a custom pattern.
  • For other Android devices, you can use third party apps like BuzzKill or Feel The Wear which let you fully customize vibration patterns. As the article from Android Police mentions, BuzzKill costs $3.99 but provides granular control over vibration patterns.
  • Alternatively, some launchers like Nova Launcher have settings to change the default system vibration pattern for notifications.

The key steps are:

  1. Download BuzzKill or a similar vibration customization app.
  2. Open the app and select the text/messaging notification.
  3. Tap vibration and select “Custom”.
  4. Use the pattern editor to create your desired vibration pattern.
  5. Save your new custom vibration.

Now when you get texts, your phone will vibrate to your own unique pattern! Custom vibrations are an easy way to personalize the text tone experience on Android.

Use sound files for custom tones

One of the easiest ways to set custom text tones on Android is by using your own sound files. Here’s how to add audio files as custom notification tones:

First, make sure the audio file is saved on your Android device. Supported formats include MP3, AAC, WAV, OGG, and FLAC. You can transfer files from a computer via USB or download them directly to your phone.

Then open the Settings app and go to Sounds & vibration > Notification sounds. Tap the plus icon to add a new tone. You will then be able to browse and select the audio file you want to use from your phone’s storage.

Once selected, the sound file will be available to choose as your default notification tone or assign to individual contacts. You can repeat this process to add multiple custom audio files as unique text tones.

According to this guide, the audio files need to be saved in the Notifications folder on your Android device for this method to work properly.

With your own sound files, you can set any song snippet, sound effect, or audio creation as a custom tone for incoming messages. This gives endless possibilities for personalization compared to the default text tones provided.

Popular text tone apps

There are several excellent third party apps on Android for setting custom text tones. Here are some of the top options:

Zedge (Source 1) – This popular app has a huge library of ringtones, notification sounds, alarm tones, and more to choose from. You can browse by category or search for specific sounds.

Ringtone Maker ( – This app allows you to turn any song or audio file into a ringtone. It has tools to trim and edit audio to get the perfect tone.

Pi Music Player (Source 1) – In addition to being a music player, this app can turn tracks into ringtones and alerts. It has a built-in editor to customize tones.

These apps provide much more flexibility and options for customizing text tones on Android devices. They allow you to truly personalize tones for contacts compared to just using the default system sounds.


Text tones can add personality to your messaging experience on Android. By learning how to customize tones for individual contacts or for different types of messages, you can liven up your notifications. Popular third-party apps provide even more options for custom sounds and vibration patterns. Overall, personalizing your text tones is an easy way to show off your style and make your device feel more like your own. The process only takes a few minutes, so don’t settle for the default tones. With a little creativity, you can find the perfect sounds to match your mood or your contacts.

In summary, Android offers flexible customization when it comes to text tones. Both system settings and third-party apps allow you to use custom sounds, assign unique tones to contacts, and change vibration patterns. Take some time to explore your options and find tones that make you smile whenever you get a new message. Personalized text tones are a simple way to showcase your personality through your device.

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