How do I make my text messages different sounds?

Text messages on smartphones can have different notification sounds through the default settings, ringtones, or third party apps. Having custom text tones allows you to customize your phone’s notifications and alerts. As noted on the Verizon website, “Custom ringtones come with a surprising list of benefits. From avoiding spam calls and maintaining a work-life balance to letting you express yourself in a personalized way, custom ringtones give your device an auditory makeover for the better.”

This guide will walk through the various options for setting custom sounds for text message notifications on your smartphone.

Check Default Settings

To customize the notification sounds for text messages, the first thing to check is your default sound settings. On an iPhone, the sounds can be configured in Settings > Sounds & Haptics (1). Here you’ll find sliders to adjust the volume of alerts and options to select a default tone for notifications including texts. The iOS interface lets you quickly sample the tones to choose your favorite for the default (1).

Android also keeps the default notification sounds under the Sounds or Sounds & Vibration section of Settings. The options may vary by device and OS version but generally include choosing between ringtone and notification volumes along with default tones for each (2). You can try out the sounds and tap “OK” to set a new default.

Knowing where the default sound settings are located on your device is the first step to customizing your text notification tones.

Use Ringtones

One of the easiest ways to customize your iPhone text tones is to use ringtones. Most iPhones allow you to set any ringtone as a text tone. This opens up a wide selection of sounds to choose from. Ringtones can be acquired from various sources like the iTunes Store, third party apps, or even created yourself.

The iTunes Store has an extensive library of ringtones available for purchase and download. There are ringtones for almost any style of music, from pop to classical. iTunes ringtones can be previewed so you can find the perfect text tone before buying. Downloaded iTunes ringtones automatically become available to set as text tones on your iPhone.

Websites like Zedge also offer thousands of free ringtones to download. These can be high quality recordings of songs and other sounds. After downloading to your computer, free ringtones can be transferred to an iPhone and set as a custom text tone.

Overall, one of the simplest ways to customize iPhone text tones is to use ringtones from sources like iTunes or Zedge. With a huge variety available, you’re bound to find the perfect text tone.[1]

Install Third Party Apps

There are many great apps available for both iOS and Android that allow you to easily create and assign custom text tones.


Some top apps for iOS include:

These apps make it quick and easy to personalize text tones, offering features like large tone libraries, editing tools, and iCloud sync.


Top options for Android include:

These Android apps offer great libraries of ready-made tones and intuitive tools to DIY your own in just a few taps.

Assign Tones to Contacts

One of the easiest ways to make your text messages sound different is to assign unique text tones to individual contacts. This allows you to identify who is texting you without even looking at your phone. On both iPhone and Android, you can set custom text tones for specific people in your contacts list.

To assign a unique text tone for a contact on iPhone, open the Contacts app and select the contact you want to customize. Tap Edit in the upper right corner, then scroll down and tap Text Tone. You’ll see a list of all your available text tones. Select the one you want to set for that person. Now whenever that contact texts you, your phone will play the tone you picked just for them. As noted by MacRumors, this is a great way to identify texts from important people in your life.

The process is similar on Android. Open your Contacts app, select a contact, and edit their info. Tap on the menu icon or options icon and choose Set ringtone. Pick a unique text tone just for them. You’ll now hear that special sound every time that person messages you. Setting contact-specific text tones makes your phone more personal and helps you quickly identify who is reaching out.

Create Custom Tones

If you want to create a completely unique text tone, you can make your own custom tones from audio files like songs or sound effects. There are a few different apps and methods for converting files into iPhone-compatible text tones:

GarageBand (free for iPhone/iPad users) – You can import music files, trim them to the maximum 30 second length, then export as a ringtone to use as a text tone. See instructions here.

iTunes (free on Mac/PC) – Import the audio file you want, adjust the start and end time to 30 seconds or less, then convert to AAC format and rename with the .m4r extension. Finally, sync with your iPhone and it will be available as a text tone. Detailed steps can be found here.

Online audio editors like Kapwing – Upload your audio, trim it down, then download in m4r format for use as an iPhone text tone. See instructions here.

The maximum file size for text tones is 30 seconds and the audio format needs to be AAC/m4r. Following these requirements will ensure your custom tone works when assigned as an SMS alert.

Fun Text Tone Ideas

There are a lot of creative ways to customize your text tones beyond the standard ringtones that come with your phone. Here are some unique ideas for funny or quirky text tones:

Animal noises like barking dogs, meowing cats, bird chirps, or farm animal sounds (Source).

Short voice clips or sound effects from TV shows, movies, or video games like the Super Mario Bros jump sound or Homer Simpson’s “Doh!” (Source).

Funny meme audio like the “Huh?!” sound or the “Oh No” TikTok remix (Source).

Instrument or music riffs like an airhorn, drum roll, or guitar lick.

Strange noises like a slide whistle, kazoo, or squeaky toy.

Custom audio recordings of your own voice saying funny phrases.

Many popular text tones come from apps like Zedge that offer thousands of unique sound clips to browse through and download.

Text Tone Considerations

When choosing a custom text tone, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

For tones and sounds, remember to keep them brief in length – around 3-5 seconds is ideal. Longer tones can be disruptive and annoying to those around you when your phone goes off ( Stick to common file formats like MP3 or M4A.

Also, be mindful of volume. Pick a tone that is loud enough for you to hear but not so loud it disturbs others. Many phones allow you to set different volumes for ringtones vs media or alarms.

Consider when to mute the tone and just use vibrate. Mute for places like meetings, religious services, theaters, and other quiet settings. Vibrate allows you to still receive the text while being discreet.


There are so many exciting ways to customize your text message tones beyond just using the default options. You can assign specific ringtones or customized audio files to individual contacts, which makes it easy to identify who is texting you without even looking at your phone. Getting creative with custom text tones is a great way to showcase your personality and preferences too.

The key methods covered in this article for personalizing your text message sounds included using ringtones, downloading third party apps, assigning custom tones to contacts, creating your own audio files to use, and more. With all these options, you’re sure to find a text tone that fits your style.

The most important thing is choosing sounds that you enjoy and that reflect your tastes. Customized text tones allow you to add a unique flair to your phone’s notifications. So get creative, have fun with it, and make those text messages sing!

Further Resources

There are many sites, apps and communities dedicated to finding, creating, and sharing text tones and notification sounds. Here are some recommendations:

Zedge – Huge library of free ringtones, notification sounds, wallpapers and more for Android and iPhone.

Skype Tones – Skype provides many fun, quirky notification sounds and ringtones for free.

Reddit communities like r/iphone and r/android – Ask for text tone recommendations and ideas.

iOS users can explore the Ringtones & Text Tones section of the App Store.

For creating custom text tones, check out apps like Ringtone Maker, Fake Caller, and Ringtone Maker.

You can set different notification sounds for individual contacts, assign tones based on contact groups, and enable vibration patterns for further customization.

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