How do I set SMS tones?

What are SMS tones?

SMS tones, also known as text tones or message tones, are short audio clips that play when you receive a new text message notification on your phone. They allow you to customize the sound your phone makes for incoming SMS messages.

The history of customizable SMS tones traces back to the early 2000s, when the first downloadable ringtones for mobile phones emerged. As noted on, the world’s first paid downloadable ringtones were commercially launched by Saunalahti in Finland in 2001[1]. These set the stage for further customization like SMS tones. Nokia was one of the first manufacturers to support polyphonic MIDI ringtones on their 3510 phone the same year[1], allowing more complex audio.

Today, there are a few common types of SMS tones:

  • Default system tones – These are the basic SMS tones that come preloaded on a phone.
  • Polyphonic tones – Tones based on MIDI format, allowing multiple simultaneous musical notes.
  • MP3 tones – Custom tones encoded in the MP3 audio format, allowing recorded clips or songs.
  • Vibration patterns – Rather than an audio tone, a vibration pattern plays.

Why customize SMS tones?

Customizing your SMS tones offers several benefits that can improve your text messaging experience. Setting unique SMS tones for different contacts alerts you to who is texting without having to check your phone each time. Personalized tones add flair and individuality to your device. SMS tones also provide a fun and creative way to express your personality.

Distinct SMS tones for specific people in your life make it easy to identify senders at a glance. You’ll no longer have to interrupt what you’re doing to check each incoming text. Unique tones also reduce confusion in group message threads when multiple people are actively texting. With custom sounds assigned to your most frequent contacts, you’ll always know who is reaching out.

Beyond practical perks, customized text tones allow you to put your own stamp on your mobile device. Default sounds can make all phones seem homogeneous. Tailoring tones to your taste showcases your personality and preferences. SMS tones are like ringtones – they enable self-expression through sound.

Finding amusing tones or using snippets from favorite songs brings entertainment value to texting. You can get creative with quirky noises or inside jokes shared with friends. Text tones are a simple but fun detail you can customize. Experimenting with a range of options for different contacts keeps your messaging experience energized.

How to change default SMS tone on iPhone

Changing the default SMS tone on an iPhone is easy to do through the Settings app. Here are the steps:

First, open the Settings app on your iPhone. You can find this on your home screen.

Next, scroll down and tap on “Sounds & Haptics.” This is where you can manage all your ringtones and notification sounds.

Under “Sounds & Haptics,” tap on “Text Tone.” This will display a list of all the available text/SMS tones on your iPhone.

Scroll through the list and tap on the SMS tone you want to set as the new default. You can preview each tone before selecting.

Once you’ve selected a new SMS tone, it will now be set as the default for new text messages. You should immediately hear the new tone when receiving a new text.

That’s all there is to it! The Settings app makes it easy to customize the default text tone on an iPhone. You can repeat these steps at any time to change it again in the future. See this guide for more details on customizing SMS tones on an iPhone.

How to change default SMS tone on Android

Android allows you to easily customize the default notification sound for incoming text messages. Here are the steps to change your SMS tone on Android phones:

First, open the Messaging or Messages app on your Android phone. This is the app you use to send and receive text messages.

Next, tap the Menu icon, which is usually shown as 3 vertical dots or lines in the top right corner. Then tap Settings.

In Settings, tap Notification tone. This will open up a list of ringtones and notification sounds available on your phone.

Browse through the available tones and select the one you want to set as the new SMS notification sound. Tap OK to confirm.

Now when you receive new text messages, your phone will play the notification sound you selected instead of the default tone.

If you want to customize the tone for specific contacts, you can do that by editing each contact and changing their personal notification tone.

Some Android phones may vary slightly in the menu options, but generally follow these steps to change the default text message notification sound.

How to set custom SMS tones for contacts

You can assign unique SMS tones to individual contacts on both iPhone and Android devices. This allows you to identify who is texting you without having to look at your phone.

On iPhone:

  • Open the Contacts app and select the contact you want to set a custom tone for.
  • Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
  • Scroll down and tap Text Tone.
  • Select the desired tone from the list of options.
  • Tap Done to save the changes.

On Android:

  • Open the Contacts app and select the contact.
  • Tap Edit contact in the upper-right corner.
  • Scroll down and tap Ringtone.
  • Select the desired tone from the list.
  • Tap OK to save the changes.

Now when that contact texts you, your phone will play the unique tone you’ve set so you know it’s them. Custom SMS tones allow you to personalize your phone’s notifications for key contacts.


Where to find new SMS tones

There are a few places you can find new SMS tones for your device:

  • Default tones on your device – Most smartphones come preloaded with a selection of ringtones and notification sounds you can use for your SMS tones. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Sounds to browse the default options. On Android, go to Settings > Sound > Phone ringtone.
  • Downloadable ringtones online – Websites like Zedge and ProKerala offer thousands of free, downloadable SMS ringtones you can add to your device.
  • Music files on your device – Turn any song, audio clip or sound effect on your smartphone into an SMS tone. Just make sure the file is in the right format (MP3, M4R for iPhone, MP3, M4R, OGG for Android) and under 30 seconds long.

Take some time to browse the options to find ringtones that suit your style and personality. Zedge categorizes tones by genre like pop, hip-hop, funny and more to help you search.

How to create your own SMS tones

You can create custom SMS tones for your iPhone or Android device using audio editing software, converting existing music files, or recording your own sounds or voice.

To make a custom tone with audio editing software like Audacity or GarageBand, you can record or import a short audio clip, edit it as needed, then export it as an M4R (iPhone) or MP3 (Android) file. Keep your tone under 40 seconds for best compatibility. Trim silence, adjust volume levels, and add any effects or edits to the clip. Then save the file in the proper format for your device.

You can also convert existing song clips or other audio files into SMS tones using audio conversion software. MP3 and other music files can be converted to the M4R or MP3 format with just a couple clicks. Look for audio converter apps or sites designed for this purpose.

Finally, you can record custom sounds, vocals, or audio using your smartphone’s built-in mic. Apps like Voice Recorder for iPhone allow you to record a short audio clip, then save it as a ringtone or alert tone file. Get creative and make tones with your voice, sound effects, or anything you can imagine!


SMS Tone Best Practices

When selecting and using custom SMS tones, follow these best practices for the best experience:

  • Keep it short – Pick SMS tones that are 2-3 seconds long. Very short sounds may be hard to hear, while longer tones can become annoying.
  • Make it distinctive – Choose unique, recognizable tones that stand out from your regular notification sounds. This makes it easy to identify SMS messages.
  • Set volume appropriately – Make sure the tone is loud enough to be heard, but not too loud or jarring. Test it at different volume levels.
  • Consider context – Pick tones appropriate for business if texting clients. For friends, fun sounds are fine.
  • Check sound quality – Ensure the tone sounds clear and not muffled on your device. Poor audio decreases effectiveness.
  • Change it up – Feel free to change your tone now and then for variety.

Following these tips will help you have effective, audible SMS tones that don’t become a nuisance.

Troubleshooting SMS Tones

If you are having issues with SMS tones not working properly, here are some troubleshooting steps you can try:

Check Volume Settings

Make sure the volume on your phone is turned up and not muted. On both iPhone and Android, verify that the volume slider is not set to silent or vibrate only. You can also go into your phone’s settings and confirm that the notification volume is turned up under sounds or notifications.

Additionally, check that the phone’s ringer switch is not silenced. On iPhone, toggle the switch on the left side of the phone to ensure it is not set to mute.

Verify Correct Tone is Selected

Open the settings for your SMS or messaging app and confirm that the correct tone is chosen for notifications. There may be a default tone set that you don’t prefer. Make sure to select the tone you want to hear for incoming texts.

You can also set custom tones for individual contacts. Check that the tone is properly assigned for the contact texting you.

Restart Device

Sometimes issues with audio, ringtones, and notification tones can be fixed by restarting your phone. Completely power down your phone and boot it back up. After restarting, check to see if your SMS tones are now working properly.

If you still have no audio for incoming texts after trying these troubleshooting tips, it’s possible there is a larger software or hardware issue. You may need to reset app preferences or contact device support for further help.

Key takeaways

Customizing your SMS tones is an easy way to personalize your device and make your notifications more fun and unique. Here are some key tips to remember:

  • You can change the default SMS tone in your iPhone or Android device’s Settings app.
  • Set custom text tones for specific contacts to identify who is messaging you.
  • Download new SMS tones from app stores, websites, create your own recordings, or convert songs.
  • Using unique, shorter SMS tones can help you identify messages faster.
  • Make sure your custom tones are appropriate and not disruptive in public.
  • If you have issues hearing new tones, check they are properly assigned and volume is up.

Customizing your SMS tones allows you to add personality to your device and notifications. With tons of tones available to download or create, you can find the perfect sounds to suit your style.

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