How do I add my own notification sounds to my Android?

Custom notification sounds allow Android users to set unique sounds for notifications from different apps. This can be useful for several reasons:

First, custom sounds make it easier to identify notifications just by the sound. For example, you may set a bubbly pop sound for email notifications and a doorbell chime for text messages. You’ll instantly know what app is sending the alert without even looking at your phone (1).

Second, custom notification sounds let you personalize your device to match your preferences. You can pick fun sounds that suit your style, from retro game noises to your favorite song clips. It allows you to customize the experience and make your device feel more like your own (2).

Finally, custom sounds reduce notification fatigue. Instead of hearing the same default ding over and over, unique sounds help your brain differentiate between notifications. This prevents the sounds from blending together and makes each one stand out (3).

With Android’s flexibility, you can easily set custom notification sounds to streamline identifying alerts and personalize your device.

Checking OS Version

The way to add custom sounds depends on which version of Android you are running. Newer versions of Android like 12 and 13 have simplified the process of adding custom sounds compared to older versions. To check what Android version you are running:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Scroll down and tap “About phone”.
  • Look for “Android version” or “Software information” to see the version.

The version number will look something like 10, 11, 12.1 etc. Knowing your Android version will help determine the exact steps needed to add custom sounds. Older versions like Android 9 and below require more manual file management while newer versions have settings built-in to the OS. As we go through the steps, we will note any differences between versions.

Locating System Sounds

Default notification sounds are stored in specific folders that come pre-installed on your Android device. The exact location can vary by Android version and manufacturer skin, but these system sound folders are typically read-only and not accessible to users without root access.

On stock Android 9 Pie and newer, notification sounds are located at /system/media/audio/notifications/. For Android 8 Oreo and older, they may be found in /system/media/audio/ui/ or /system/media/audio/alarms/ instead. Manufacturers like Samsung often use /system/media/audio/ui for notification sounds.

While you can view these folders using a file manager app, you won’t be able to add new sounds directly. The folders are read-only to prevent tampering with critical system files. To add custom notification sounds, you’ll need to copy them to the correct user-accessible folder.

Some key folders to be aware of:

  • /system/media/audio/notifications/ – Notification sounds in Android 9+
  • /system/media/audio/ui/ – Notification sounds in many OEM skins
  • /system/media/audio/alarms/ – Notification sounds in older Android versions

Knowing where system notification sounds are kept can help troubleshoot issues or identify where to place your own custom audio.

Copying Sounds to Ringtones Folder

One of the easiest ways to add custom notification sounds on Android is to copy audio files into the Ringtones folder. On most Android devices, this folder is located at /sdcard/Ringtones or /sdcard/media/audio/ringtones (1). You can access this folder through your device’s native file manager app or by connecting your phone to a computer.

To copy sounds to the Ringtones folder:

  1. Locate the audio files on your device or computer that you want to use for notifications. These can be .mp3, .wav, or other common audio formats.
  2. Open the Ringtones folder on your device storage.
  3. Copy the audio files from their current location into the Ringtones folder.

Once the files are copied over, they will appear in your sound settings as available notification sounds. You can then assign any of the custom audio files to specific notifications just like the default system sounds.

This method makes adding new sounds quick and easy without requiring any extra apps. Just keep your audio files organized on your computer or device storage and copy them over whenever needed (2). The only limitation is the Ringtones folder may have size restrictions on some devices.

Using File Manager Apps

File manager apps provide an easy way to copy sounds. Apps like Files by Google ( allow you to navigate to the system folder where notification sounds are stored. You can then select the sounds you want and copy or move them to a new folder, such as the Ringtones folder where custom sounds are accessed.

Other popular file manager apps like Mixplorer ( also let you easily browse all folders on your device and transfer files. Using the app’s copy/paste or move functions, you can quickly transfer notification sounds to assign as custom ringtones or notifications.

File manager apps take the hassle out of locating system sound files and letting you manually move them to the desired folder. This gives you direct access to copy any OEM sounds to set as your own custom notifications.

Assigning Custom Sounds

Once you have added your own custom notification sounds to your Android device, you can assign them to specific apps or contacts. Here are the steps to assign a custom sound as your notification tone:

Open the Settings app and go to Sound & vibration > Advanced > Default notification sound. Here you will see a list of available notification sounds.

Scroll through the list and select your custom sound that you added in the previous step. Tap OK to set it as the default notification sound.

You can also set custom notification tones for individual apps. Open the Settings app and go to Notifications. Tap on the app and look for the Sound option. Select your custom sound here.

For contacts, open the Contacts app, select a contact, tap Edit and then the Ringtone option. Pick your custom sound to assign it to that contact.

Once you have assigned custom notification tones, you will hear your unique sounds when receiving notifications from those apps or contacts. You can mix and match to have different sounds for different apps.

Testing Notification Sounds

Once you have added your custom notification sounds, it’s important to test that they are working properly. Send yourself a test notification or have someone else send you a notification. When the notification comes in, confirm that your newly assigned custom notification sound plays as expected.

If your custom sound does not play, double check that you properly assigned it in your sound settings. You may need to restart your device to fully apply the changes. Also confirm that the sound file is still located in the proper Notifications folder and was not moved or deleted.

Try sending notifications from a couple different apps to test the consistency across all notifications. If the sound only works for some apps but not others, you may need to check the app-specific notification settings. Make any needed adjustments until your custom notification sound works reliably system-wide.

According to this LifeWire article, you can go to Settings > Sound & vibration and tap on your custom sound to preview it and confirm it is the right one before testing notifications.

With consistent testing, you can catch any issues early and troubleshoot problems with your custom Android notification sounds.

Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common problems and solutions for adding custom notification sounds on Android:

Notification sound not working:

  • Make sure the sound file is in the correct notification folder location (see the Locating System Sounds section for details).
  • Check the sound file format – notification sounds must be .ogg or .mp3 files.
  • Try restarting your device after adding custom sounds.
  • Double check that the custom sound is assigned properly in the app or system settings (see the Assigning Custom Sounds section).

Sound only plays default notification:

  • Make sure the app itself is not overriding the custom sound with a default.
  • Check system settings to confirm the custom sound is chosen as the default notification sound.

Custom sound works in app but not system notifications:

  • The app notification settings may override the system default sound.
  • Make sure the custom sound is set as the default in the system settings, not just the app.

If you still have issues, check the app developer forums or help section for troubleshooting tips specific to that application. For ongoing system notification issues, you may need to contact the device manufacturer for further support.

Automating with Apps

One of the easiest ways to automate the process of adding custom sounds to your Android is by using dedicated soundboard and notification apps. Many of these apps have large libraries of sounds and sound effects that you can easily browse and assign to different notifications.

One popular app for this purpose is Zedge. Zedge has a massive collection of ringtones, notification sounds, wallpapers and more. You can browse or search through categories like sound effects, movie quotes, memes and more. When you find a sound you like, you can download it directly within the Zedge app. Zedge will automatically set the sound as your default notification sound, ringtone or alarm.

Other apps like Volume Control, MySoundboard and Soundboard for Reddit also make it easy to find and assign custom sounds. Most of these apps require no file manager access or moving of audio files. Just browse, download and the app sets the sound for you.

Using dedicated soundboard apps is by far the easiest way to customize your notification sounds on Android. The apps provide huge libraries of unique sounds and automate the tasks of downloading, moving and assigning the audio files.


Custom notification sounds allow you to personalize your Android device and make it your own. With just a few simple steps, you can assign any sound file as your default notification sound or create custom sounds for individual apps. While there may be some minor troubleshooting involved, the ability to customize your notification sounds makes it worth the effort. Just be sure to follow best practices, like maintaining the proper file formats and sizes. Overall, setting custom notification sounds on Android is an easy way to add personality and flair to your device.

In summary, replacing the default notification sounds with your own custom audio files can make your Android device feel more personalized. By saving sounds in the appropriate OGG or MP3 format, copying them to your ringtones folder using File Manager, and assigning them in your sound settings, you’ll hear your chosen sounds each time you get an alert. While you may run into minor issues during setup, a bit of troubleshooting can get your custom sounds working properly. With custom sounds, you can make your Android device truly your own.

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