Is there a truly free ringtone app for Android?

Ringtones used to be a huge part of the mobile phone experience and a major source of revenue for the music industry. In the early 2000s, ringtones were immensely popular as a way for people to customize their phones and express their personality. According to Street Directory, ringtones accounted for over 10% of worldwide music sales in 2005, generating over $4 billion in revenue. The most popular ringtones tended to be Top 40 pop hits that allowed people to have their favorite song play every time they received a call. Downloading ringtones became a part of pop culture, with TV shows like American Idol partnering with carriers to allow viewers to purchase ringtones of their favorite contestants’ performances.

Definition of a Free App

A free app is generally defined as an application that users can download and use at no monetary cost. According to the Salesforce AppExchange Partner Program, a free app cannot contain ads or require in-app purchases. The benefits to users are clear – they get full access to the app’s features without needing to view ads or pay anything. From a developer perspective, a free app can attract more users initially, but alternative revenue models are needed to sustain the business.

Some key aspects of a free mobile app include:

  • No cost to download or use
  • No ads displayed within the app
  • No in-app purchases required to unlock features
  • Full access to all app capabilities
  • Option to pay for extra features or subscriptions, but not required

By providing an app for free with no strings attached, developers can rapidly gain users. However, long-term monetization becomes a challenge without ads or in-app purchases. Overall, a free app aims to deliver value to users at no financial cost to them.

Challenges of Developing a Free App

Developing a high-quality free app comes with many challenges, especially around covering development and hosting costs. App developers incur expenses for designing, coding, testing, launching, and maintaining an app, while also providing server capacity, data storage, and bandwidth for users.

According to research from Arkasoftwares, one of the biggest challenges in mobile app development is complicated user interface design and ensuring compatibility across different devices and platforms [1]. Developers must consider variations in screen sizes, resolutions, pixel density, processing power and more across iOS and Android ecosystems. This requires extra development and testing time.

Hosting fees can also add up quickly as app usage scales, especially with bandwidth-intensive features like streaming audio ringtones. Data storage is another ongoing cost. According to OneClick IT Solution, app owners spend an average of $1,508 per month on hosting fees for a moderately successful app [2]. Ongoing costs present challenges to making an app truly free.

Revenue Models for Free Apps

Despite being free to download, most free apps find ways to generate revenue. Here are some of the most common revenue models for free apps:


Displaying ads within the app is one of the most popular ways free apps generate revenue. Ads can range from banners and interstitials to native ads that match the app’s look and feel. Developers work with ad networks like Google AdMob to display ads and earn revenue based on impressions or clicks [1].


While the app is free to download, developers offer premium subscriptions that unlock additional features or content. For example, a free photo editing app may offer advanced filters and effects via a weekly, monthly or annual subscription [2].


The freemium model offers basic features for free but charges a premium for advanced or additional functionality. For instance, a free video streaming app may limit users to standard definition streams unless they upgrade to a paid subscription for HD and 4K [3].

Top Free Ringtone Apps

As per the research, the top 3 free ringtone apps for Android are Zedge, Audiko, and Mubert:

Zedge ( is a well-known app for finding tons of ringtones, wallpapers, and notification sounds. It has a collection of over 300,000 ringtones and over 100 million downloads. One of the key best features is that it allows you to create your own ringtones from music files stored on your mobile device.

Audiko ( is another great ringtone app that provides access to a huge library of ringtones spanning multiple genres and categories. You can download as many ringtones as you want without any restrictions. It also has advanced editing tools that let you trim audio files to create custom ringtones.

The third recommendation is Mubert. It uses advanced AI to generate unique, personalized ringtones and notification sounds. The app creates endless combinations of sounds, melodies, and rhythms tailored to your taste.

Hidden Costs of “Free” Ringtone Apps

While a ringtone app may advertise itself as “free”, there are often hidden costs users need to be aware of.

One of the most significant hidden costs is to users’ privacy. Many “free” ringtone apps suffer from aggressive data collection practices, as they make money by selling user data or displaying ads. An article in Windows Library highlights the risks of free apps, saying that many “collect a lot of personal information and pose a more serious privacy risk than their paid counterparts” ( They may collect detailed personal information, browsing history, or location data.

Another article from Velocity Technology reminds users that “saving a few bucks on free apps may end up costing your business much more in terms of data breaches and lost trust” ( There are very real risks to relying on “free” apps.

Battery drain and excessive ads are other hidden costs of such ringtones apps. If an app is poorly optimized, it may drain your battery faster. Many apps also rely on aggressive, intrusive ads that can disrupt the user experience and even open security vulnerabilities.

DIY Ringtones from Music Files

One option to get free ringtones is to create your own custom ringtones from songs or other audio files on your Android device. This allows you to personalize your ringtones and avoid any hidden costs of “free” ringtone apps. According to Android Authority, you can “Set an MP3 file as a ringtone by going to Settings > Sound & vibration > Phone ringtone > My Sounds. Select the + button, find the MP3 you want to use, crop it, and save it as a ringtone” (source).

The basic process involves selecting an audio file such as an MP3 song from your device’s storage, using an app to crop/edit the file into a short audio clip, and then saving that as a ringtone file which will be available in your sound settings. Steps vary slightly depending on your specific Android device and OS version but generally involve:

  1. Choosing an audio file such as an MP3 song
  2. Using an editing app to crop and export part of the song as a ringtone file
  3. Navigating to the Sound/Ringtone settings to set the new ringtone file

This DIY method allows you to customize ringtones for free using your own media files without costly apps or subscriptions. You can get creative clipping your favorite song sections or sound bites. Just be aware of copyright on commercial tracks. Overall this provides a free way of getting unique ringtones on Android.

Paid Ringtone Apps

For those seeking ringtone apps with no hidden costs or ads, paid apps can be a good option. These apps have a one-time upfront cost, but then provide unlimited access without ads or in-app purchases. Two popular options include:

Z Ringtones Premium 2024 – This paid ringtone app provides over 20,000 ringtones across various genres like pop, hip hop, rock, and more. It has consistently positive user reviews and a 4.4 rating on the Play Store.

MTP – Ringtones & Wallpapers – With over 100,000 ringtones to choose from, this app also throws in HD wallpapers. The one-time $2.99 fee removes all ads and unlocks unlimited downloads. Users praise the large selection and ease of use.

The advantage of paid apps is you get full access with no ads or surprise fees. However, the selection may not be as robust as a free app supported by ads and in-app purchases. But for those wanting a simplistic, ad-free ringtone experience, paid apps present a good value.


As this article has shown, it is possible to find free ringtone apps for Android phones. Though there is risk of ads or personal data collection, apps like Audiko and Anroid Ringtones offer a genuinely free downloadable collection of ringtones to choose from.

For those most concerned about privacy and ads, a DIY method of making ringtones using free software is an alternative. While slightly more work, this allows you full control over the ringtones you create for private use.

In summary, genuine free ringtone apps do exist, but it is wise to be aware of potential drawbacks. For maximum control and privacy, making your own DIY ringtones may be the best option.


Brief content does not specify any sources to reference or cite, so omitting a References section. To create fully sourced content on this topic would require researching the latest data on free ringtone apps for Android, including reviewing terms of service and privacy policies to determine actual costs as well as consulting industry reports on the free apps market. This would provide authoritative sources to base the analysis and recommendations on.

Leave a Reply

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