How do I set a different sound for text Messages on Android?

Android allows users to customize notification sounds, including for incoming text messages. This feature enables you to assign unique sounds to text notifications from different contacts. Setting custom text message sounds can help you easily identify who is messaging you without having to look at your phone.

In this guide, we’ll walk through how to change the default text message notification sound on Android devices. We’ll cover how to set a global sound for all text messages as well as how to configure custom sounds for individual contacts.


There are a couple requirements in order to set a custom sound for text messages on Android:

First, the device must be running Android 7.0 or higher. The custom notification sound feature was introduced in Android 7.0 Nougat, so anything older than that will not support it. According to this source, “Android 7.0 Nougat was the first Android version to allow complete customization of notification sounds.”

Second, the user needs to have the actual sound file they want to use, such as an MP3 file. The sound can be anything – a song clip, a custom chime, etc. But it needs to be an audio file that’s saved on the device or accessible from cloud storage. As noted in this guide, “you can use almost any type of audio file as a custom notification sound as long as it’s stored locally on your Android device.”

Access Notification Settings

To change the notification sound for text messages on Android, you’ll first need to access the notification settings for the Messages app.

Open your device’s Settings app and select “Apps & notifications” or “Apps” depending on your Android version (source: Control notifications on Android). Then choose “Notifications.” This will show recently sent notifications.

Scroll down through the list of apps until you find “Messages.” Tap on it to open the notification settings specifically for text messages (source: Turn App Notifications On / Off – Android).

Enable Custom Sound

To enable a custom sound for a contact in the Android Messages app:

Tap on the Settings icon in the upper right corner > Notifications

This will open the Notifications settings screen. Tap on the default notification sound option. This will open the sound picker.

Scroll through the list of sounds or use the search bar to find the custom sound you want to use. Tap on the custom sound to select it.

The custom sound will now be set as the notification sound for messages from that contact.

Pick Custom Sound

Once you have enabled the custom sound option, you can browse and select the sound file you want to use from your device’s storage or SD card. Android supports common audio formats like MP3 for notification sounds, so you have a lot of options to choose from.

To pick a custom sound, simply tap on the “Sound” option after enabling “Custom” and you will be presented with a file manager view of your device storage. Navigate to the location where your sound file is saved, select it, and confirm to set it as the notification sound. The supported formats on Android include:

  • MP3
  • MIDI
  • FLAC
  • AMR
  • AAC
  • HE-AAC
  • And more…

So feel free to use any sound in these common formats for your custom text message notification on Android. Just make sure the file is saved on your device storage or SD card before selecting it.

Set Custom Sound Per Contact

You can set a unique notification sound for individual contacts in the Messages app on Android:

From the Messages app, select a contact. Tap their name at the top and Edit. Scroll down and tap Custom under Notification tone. Pick a unique sound just for this contact. This will make this contact’s notifications stand out with their own custom sound.

Setting custom notification tones for individual contacts allows you to identify who is messaging you without even looking at your phone. You’ll begin to associate the unique sound with that particular contact.


If setting a custom notification sound for text messages doesn’t seem to be working, here are some things to try:

Make sure the sound file is a supported format like MP3. Android may not play notification sounds in formats like WAV or FLAC (1).

Check that the Messages app has notification access enabled. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > Messages and make sure “Allow notifications” is turned on (2).

Try rebooting your Android device. Sometimes a simple reboot can resolve issues with apps not behaving as expected.

Ensure notifications are enabled for the Messages app. Open the Messages app, go to its app settings, and confirm notifications are turned on (3).

If none of these steps fix the issue, it’s possible there is a bug or problem with the Messages app itself. You may need to try updating the app or reinstalling it.

Custom Vibration Pattern

Android also allows custom vibrate patterns for notifications. You can set a unique vibration pattern for each notification channel of an app. This lets you identify incoming notifications without even looking at your phone.

Follow the same steps above to access Notification Settings for an app, but choose Vibration pattern instead of sound. Tap on the existing pattern to create a custom vibrate sequence. You can add long or short vibrations one after another to create your own vibration pattern.

For example, you can set a short-short-long pattern for messages from a close friend. Android will pulse your device in that rhythm when you get notifications from them. This makes it easy to identify the notifier without pulling out your phone.

According to a helpful tutorial, you can access custom vibration settings through Android’s Accessibility settings as well. Under Vibration & haptic strength you’ll find options to customize ring, notification, and touch feedback vibrations.

Some users have complained that custom vibration patterns were removed in Android 12. However third party apps like Home Assistant still support per-notification custom vibrations. So installing one of those apps is an alternative if you can’t change vibration patterns natively anymore.

Third-Party Apps

There are apps like Zedge that offer more sounds and customization beyond what comes pre-installed on Android. Zedge has a large library of ringtones, notification sounds, alarm sounds, and more that you can browse and download.

In order to use Zedge’s custom sounds for your text message notifications, you may need to set Zedge as the default SMS app. Once set as default, Zedge will handle your text messages and allow you to assign custom notification sounds on a per-contact or per-conversation basis.

Other apps like Notification Sounds also provide thousands of high-quality ringtones and notification sounds to choose from. Explore different apps to find the perfect custom sounds for your notifications.


Setting a custom sound for text message notifications on Android is straightforward once you know where to look. The basic process involves:

  • Going into the Sound settings
  • Enabling the option for custom notifications
  • Selecting the sound file you want to use

For even more customization, you can set unique notification sounds for individual contacts. This lets you identify who is messaging you without even having to look at your phone.

Beyond custom sounds, Android also gives you options like creating custom vibration patterns. And if the built-in settings don’t offer enough flexibility, third-party apps can provide additional ways to customize your notification experience.

With all these options, you can truly personalize your text message notifications to suit your preferences.

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