How do I change the text tone for a specific contact on Android?

Text tone refers to the sound your phone makes when you receive a text message from a specific contact. By default, Android uses the same generic notification sound for all incoming texts. However, you may want to set a custom text tone for certain contacts so you can identify who is texting you without having to look at your phone.

For example, you might assign a unique text tone for your spouse, close friends, or boss so you recognize them instantly. Having custom text tones for VIP contacts can be useful in noisy environments or when your phone is in your pocket or bag.

This article explains how to change the default text tone in Android to a custom sound for specific contacts. We’ll cover how to locate the text tone settings, set custom tones, use third-party apps, and troubleshoot issues.

Locate Text Tone Settings

To change the text tone on an Android phone, we first need to locate the text tone or notification sound settings. This can vary slightly depending on the Android device and OS version, but is generally found in the Settings app.

A quick way to access the text tone settings is to open the Messages app. Tap the 3-dot menu icon in the upper right corner, then choose Settings. This will open the app’s settings where you can configure options like notifications, sounds, vibrate, and more.

According to Verizon’s support page, once in the Messaging settings you can “Tap ‘Notifications’ or ‘Notification settings'” to customize tones and other preferences (source).

Change Default Text Tone

You can change the default text tone for messages across your Android device by going into the Settings menu. First, open the Settings app and select “Sound & vibration.” Then, choose “Default text tone” to open up the available tones list (Lifewire, 2023).

This will allow you to browse and preview the built-in text tones that come with your Android phone. Tap on any tone to hear a sample. When you find one you like, select it to make it your new default text notification sound (Tom’s Guide, 2023).

The default text tone will now be applied to all new message notifications from contacts. However, you can customize tones for specific contacts which we’ll cover next.

Set Custom Text Tones

To set a custom text tone for a specific contact on Android, first open the Contacts app and tap on the contact you want to customize. This will open up their contact information. Next, tap “Edit” in the upper right corner to edit their details.

Under “Default text tone”, tap on the default tone to bring up a list of options. This will show your available notification tones and allow you to select a custom tone specifically for this contact. You can choose from your default notification sounds or pick any music file saved on your device.

Once you have selected the desired custom text tone, tap “OK” to save the change. Now when you receive a text message from that contact, your phone will play the unique text tone you assigned to them rather than your default tone.

This allows you to set custom text tones on an individual contact basis, so you can easily identify messages from specific people based on the assigned tone. It’s a useful way to customize and personalize your notifications.

Use Third-Party Apps

There are several third-party apps available on the Google Play Store that offer additional text tones and ringtones beyond what’s available on Android by default. One popular app is TextTone, which provides a wide variety of high-quality text tones to elevate your device’s messaging experience.

TextTone has over 100 unique text tones available, spanning different categories like retro, 8-bit, futuristic, and scary. The app makes it easy to preview tones before setting them, and you can customize tones by trimming or looping them. TextTone also includes handy features like volume boost to increase tone volume if needed.

Other top options for third-party Android text tone apps include Text Message Sounds and Zedge. These apps provide thousands of tones to choose from, along with ringtone creation tools. The best part is they’re free to download, allowing you to elevate your text tones without spending money.

iOS Comparison

On iOS devices like iPhones, users can customize text tones by going to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Text Tone. From there, they can select from Apple’s default text tones or add their own custom tones.

iOS allows granular control over text tones. Users can set different text tones for individual contacts by going to the contact, selecting Edit, then Text Tone. This allows users to assign unique text tones to specific people.

One key difference between iOS and Android is that iOS text tones use square waves, while Android text tones use sine waves. This results in slightly different sound quality between the two platforms. However, both platforms allow customizing text tones.

Some users have reported bugs in iOS 17 where text tones stop working properly. Apple has addressed many text tone bugs over the years, but they can still occasionally crop up after major iOS updates.


There are a few limitations to keep in mind when setting custom text tones for contacts on Android:

  • The maximum length of the custom sound is generally 30 seconds or less, depending on your phone model. According to an answer on Stack Overflow, iOS has a limit of 30 seconds for custom notification sounds.
  • Some contacts may not have a custom text tone set. If you haven’t specifically assigned a custom text tone for a contact, they will use the default notification sound for your text messages.
  • Each app can have its own notification sound, so custom text tones may not apply to messaging apps outside of your default text message app. As this Reddit user pointed out, some apps have notification sounds defined within the app itself.

So in summary, while custom text tones allow you to set unique sounds for your key contacts, they have restrictions around length of the sound and may not work universally across all messaging apps.

Troubleshooting Issues with Text Tones

If you are having issues with text tones not working properly on your Android device, there are some troubleshooting steps you can try:

  • Check your device’s volume settings – Make sure the volume is turned up and that your phone is not on silent or vibrate mode (Source).
  • Restart your Android device – A simple restart can often resolve temporary software glitches that may be preventing text tones from working (Source).
  • Update your version of Android – Installing the latest OS updates can include bug fixes for issues like missing text tones.
  • Clear app cache/data for messaging apps – This erases temporary data that may be corrupted and preventing sounds.
  • Check app notifications settings – Make sure tones are enabled for new messages in your messaging apps.
  • Factory reset device – As a last resort, a full reset often resolves stubborn device issues (Source).

Following one or more of these troubleshooting tips will typically get text tones working again on Android. If issues persist after trying all options, contacting device support is recommended.


To recap, to change the text tone for a specific contact on Android, you can go to your Contacts app and select the contact. In their profile, tap “Set ringtone” and choose a custom text tone or select a different default tone. You can also change message tones per conversation in your messaging apps like Messages or WhatsApp. Third-party apps like Textone and Zedge provide more text tone options.

Key things to remember:
– Default tones can be changed in Settings > Sounds and Vibration > Phone Ringtone
– Custom contact tones are set in the Contacts app for each individual
– Conversation tones are configured within your messaging apps
– Third-party apps offer more tones if you want additional variety

Changing text tones allows you to customize notifications and identify message senders easily. With the ability to set different tones for contacts, conversations, or apps, Android provides flexibility in notification sounds.


Setting custom text tones for individual contacts on Android allows you to personalize notifications and identify callers without looking at your phone. While Android offers basic text tone customization in the settings, third-party apps provide more options and flexibility.

Key takeaways include:

  • Locate the Text tone option in Sounds & vibration settings to change the default.
  • Use the Contacts app to set a unique text tone for specific people.
  • Try apps like Zedge and Texty Tones for a wider selection of tones.
  • Make sure Tones is enabled under Notifications settings.
  • Check that text tones are copied properly if added manually.

For more help with customizing your ringtones, notification sounds, and UI, explore Android forums and communities like Reddit. Customization is one of Android’s strengths, so take advantage of the possibilities to make your device distinctly yours.

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