How do I set different ringtones for text messages?

Assigning custom ringtones to contacts allows you to identify who is texting you without needing to look at your phone screen. When you hear a specific ringtone, your brain will start to associate that sound with a particular person so you’ll know who the message is from. This can be really helpful in various situations where you want to identify the sender before picking up your phone.

For example, if you assign a special ringtone to your significant other, you’ll be able to tell when you get a text from them versus anyone else. Or if you give custom ringtones to important work contacts, family members, or close friends, you’ll be able to prioritize responding based on who is texting you. Setting custom text tones ultimately allows you to personalize your phone’s notifications and streamline how you interact with incoming messages.

Who Can Set Custom Ringtones

Most modern smartphones allow you to set custom ringtones for text messages. This includes iPhones running iOS, Android phones, and other smartphones like Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc. As long as your phone’s operating system is relatively current, you should have the ability to customize text tones.

On Android phones, the option to set custom text tones has been available for years across multiple manufacturers. However, some Android 8.0 Oreo phones removed this feature, but Samsung has since added it back. As long as your Android phone runs Android 9 or later, you can add custom tones.

For iPhones, you’ve been able to set custom text tones since the early iPhone models running iOS 3 and 4. The capability has remained consistent through all newer iOS versions. However, some users reported losing custom tones after updating to iOS 17, so Apple may have removed the feature in that version.

So in summary, nearly any smartphone manufactured in the last 5-10 years should let you customize tones for text message alerts from specific contacts. Just make sure your operating system is relatively current.

Setting Custom Ringtones on an iPhone

To set a custom text tone for specific contacts on an iPhone, first open the Contacts app and select the contact you want to customize. Tap “Edit” in the upper-right corner of the contact screen. On the Edit screen, tap “Text Tone” and you will see a list of the preset text tone options.

To add your own custom text tone, tap “Add New Text Tone” at the top of the Text Tone list. This will open your iPhone’s files where you can select an MP3 file to set as a custom text tone. Once you select the file, it will be added to your contact’s text tone options.

You can follow these steps to set a unique text tone for any contact. This way you can easily identify incoming texts from specific people based on the custom sound. Just be sure to use short MP3 files, ideally under 30 seconds, for text tones.

Setting Custom Ringtones on Android

Android allows you to set custom ringtones for text messages from specific contacts. This lets you identify who is texting you without having to look at your phone. Here’s how to set a custom text tone for a contact on Android:

First, open the Contacts app and select the contact you want to set a custom tone for 1. Tap on their name to open their contact profile. Next, tap “Set ringtone” and you’ll be taken to your ringtones. Choose the ringtone you want to use for this contact’s text messages.

If you want to use your own audio file as the custom ringtone, you’ll need to copy it to your internal storage or SD card in the Ringtone folder. Then it will show up as a selectable ringtone for your contacts. Make sure the audio file is in a supported format like MP3 or WAV 2.

Once you’ve selected the custom ringtone, it will now play for incoming texts from that contact. You can set a unique ringtone for all your frequent contacts this way. So you’ll know who is messaging you as soon as your phone rings!

Using Your Own Audio Files

You can also set any audio file saved on your iPhone or Android device as a custom ringtone for text message alerts. This lets you use a special song, soundbite from a TV show, or other audio file as your custom text tone.

To do this on an iPhone, first locate the audio file in the Music app that you want to use. Tap the Share button and select “Ringtone”. You’ll then be able to crop the file to select the portion you want as your ringtone. Tap “Export” and you’ll be able to save this as a ringtone file.

On Android, open the audio file using an app like Music Player or Files. Tap the menu button and select “Set as ringtone”. You can then crop the file if needed. The audio will now appear in your phone’s ringtone selection list available for assigning as a text tone.

Using your own audio for a custom text alert is great for setting unique ringtones that aren’t available as presets on your phone. You can make the alert as subtle or silly as you want by choosing the perfect sound clip.

Setting Ringtones for Contact Groups

You can set custom ringtones for specific groups of contacts, like family, friends, or work colleagues. This allows you to identify who is texting you based on the ringtone.

On Android phones:

  1. Open the Contacts app and select a contact group like “Family” or “Friends”.
  2. Tap the three dot menu in the upper right and choose “Set ringtone”.
  3. Select one of the available ringtones or tap “Add” to use your own audio file.
  4. Confirm the selection. Now all contacts in that group will have the custom ringtone.

On iPhones:

  1. Open the Contacts app and select a group.
  2. Tap “Groups” in the upper left and select “Ringtone”
  3. Choose from the available ringtones or tap “Add” to use your own.
  4. Confirm the selection. Now contacts in that group will have the custom tone.

You can repeat these steps to set unique ringtones for as many contact groups as you’d like. This makes it easy to identify who is texting you without having to look at your phone.

Muting Text Alerts

If you don’t want your phone buzzing or ringing every time you get a text, you can mute alerts for specific contacts or during certain times of day. On an iPhone running iOS 17 or later, open the Settings app and tap “Notifications.” From here, you can mute alerts by selecting a contact or by time/location. For example, tap “Contacts” and then select a contact to mute. Or tap “Time Sensitive” to mute alerts at night or during events.

On Android, open the Messages app and tap the three-dot menu. Select “Settings” and then “Notifications.” You can mute all message alerts or customize alerts for individual conversations. Android also allows muting alerts based on time of day or your location or events in your calendar. Muting text alerts is helpful for avoiding distractions during work, sleep, or important events.

For complete customization, many third party messaging apps like WhatsApp allow muting alerts by conversation. Overall, iOS and Android provide robust tools for silencing phone buzzing and customizing your notification experience.

Troubleshooting Tips

If your custom ringtones stop working properly, try these solutions:

Reset All Settings. To reset all settings on your iPhone go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. This can restore any corrupted settings related to ringtones. It will not erase any data. However, it will reset any other custom settings or preferences, so please be aware.

Check if ringtones have been reassigned. Custom ringtones can sometimes be disassociated from contacts or groups, requiring you to reselect them in Settings > Sounds > Text Tones. Browse the list to see if your ringtones still appear.

Delete and recreate the custom ringtones. There can be errors saving custom ringtones that necessitate deleting them and creating new ones. Go to Settings > Sounds > Text Tones > Edit. Delete the problematic tones. Then use iTunes or the Files app to re-add the audio files to create fresh versions.

Upgrade iOS. Some major iOS updates have fixed issues with custom text tones. Check if you are on the latest iOS version and upgrade if needed.

Popular Ringtone Recommendations

Here are some of the most popular ringtone recommendations for text messages:

Pop Song Text Alerts

Many people like using snippets of popular songs for their text ringtones. Some examples include:

  • “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo
  • “Levitating” by Dua Lipa
  • “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

Funny Sound Effects

Custom text tones using funny sound effects are also very common such as:

  • Laughter sound clips
  • Funny movie quotes
  • Cartoon voices saying “You’ve got mail!”

Instrumental Tones

Some prefer simple instrumental tones for text alerts such as:

  • Xylophone tones
  • Harp glissandos
  • Single piano notes


In summary, there are a few key steps to setting custom text tones on both iPhones and Android devices:

  1. On an iPhone, open the Settings app, tap Sounds & Haptics, then Text Tone. Select a pre-installed tone or tap Add New Tone to use your own audio file.
  2. On an Android, open the Settings app, tap Sounds or Sound & vibration, then Default notification sound. Select a pre-installed tone or Add ringtone to use your own audio file.
  3. You can also set custom text tones for specific contacts by editing each contact and selecting a unique tone for them.

Customizing text tones allows you to easily identify incoming messages from certain people or groups without checking your phone. It’s a useful way to maintain focus while still staying connected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *