How to add custom ringtones and sounds to your Android phone

Ringtones Picker on the Galaxy S20
Ringtones Picker on the Galaxy S20 (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Don't like your launcher? Pick out a new one from among the best Android launchers. Don't like your garishly gray keyboard? Change it up! Got the same ringtone as that annoying coworker at the other end of the room? Just don't like the lame, old sounds that came with your sweet, new phone? No problem! We have options aplenty for Android sounds these days, and once you get the hang of these tools, the world is your ringtone. Whether you need to find that sweet new sound or just need to know how to add a custom ringtone to your Android phone, we have you covered!

Let awesome ring.

How to find and set ringtones through the Zedge app

There's a lot of places to find ringtones, but far and away, the easiest is Zedge (opens in new tab). Zedge is a customization app that looks to personalize your phone in a number of ways, but most notably with its Ringtone and Wallpaper galleries. Zedge even streamlines the process, letting you download and set your ringtone from the same screen! I will admit the ads on Zedge have gotten a bit much over the years, but if you like to change your ringtone every few weeks, you can shell out for the ad-free upgrade.

Browsing the app is a simple affair; you can browse by category or search for something specific. Once you find a ringtone in the app you like, here's how to set it:

  1. Tap the Set in the middle of the ringtone's details screen.
  2. Tap Set Ringtone.
  3. Tap Allow to allow Zedge to download the ringtone to your phone's storage.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  1. Tap Settings to be taken to the page where you can allow Zedge to modify system settings, like your ringtone.
  2. Tap Allow modify system settings.
  3. Tap the back button to return to Zedge.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

You'll see a toast notification at the bottom of the screen telling you the ringtone has been applied. If you wish to set a ringtone to a specific contact or as your notification tone, you can select those options from the same Set menu.

How to manually add a ringtone file to the Ringtones folder

If you already have a cool, custom ringtone you just need to add to your phone, then you'll need a file manager app to get it into the Ringtones folder. Now, some phones have good file managers on them out of the box, but if not, you'll need to download one from the Google Play Store; for our steps, we're using Solid Explorer (opens in new tab).

  1. Long-press your custom ringtone in the Downloads folder (or whichever local folder you downloaded it to). After long-pressing the first ringtone, you can tap more ringtones if you wish to copy multiple sounds at once.
  2. Tap the Copy icon ( two documents stacked on top of each other).
  3. Swipe in from the left edge of the screen to open the location menu. (If you're using Android 10 gestures, turn your phone horizontal to get two tabs, the left window will be your source folder, and the right folder you can navigate to the Ringtones folder.)
  4. Tap Internal Memory.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  1. Tap the Ringtones folder. If you want to set the sound you're moving as a text tone or an alarm, you would tap the Notifications folder or Alarms folder.
  2. Tap Paste.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

On some phones, the Settings app will see the new ringtones immediately, but if yours doesn't, reboot the phone. Upon reboot, the new ringtones should appear in the list of available ringtones in the Sounds menu.

How to set a custom ringtone in Settings

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap the Sounds section. If you don't see a section with Sound in the title, type "Ringtone" into the search bar at the top of your Settings app.
  3. Tap Phone ringtone.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  1. If you get an "Open with" or "Complete action using" prompt, select the system's Sound Picker app instead of a file manager or Zedge.
  2. Tap the custom ringtone you added to the ringtones folder.
  3. Tap Save or OK. If you do not see these options on your device, simply tap the back button to exit the ringtone picker.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

If your custom ringtone has been properly set, you will see its name underneath the Phone ringtone.

How to apply a custom ringtone to a contact

By giving each of your most-used contacts a unique ringtone, you can tell who is calling without having to scramble across the room and grab your phone off the charger. This is useful at all times, but especially during work hours, when answering personal calls can earn you a reprimand, but missing a client call could slow down your progress.

  1. Open Contacts.
  2. Tap the contact you wish to set a custom ringtone for.
  3. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  1. Tap Set ringtone.
  2. Select the custom ringtone you added to the ringtones folder.
  3. Tap Save or OK. If you do not see these options on your device, simply tap the back button to exit the ringtone picker.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

How to set a custom notification sound in Settings

You didn't settle for a default ringtone, so why would you settle for a default notification tone? If you already have a text tone you like — I have about ten I'll cycle through myself — you can add them to the Notifications folder just as we added our custom ringtones to the Ringtones folder. From there, the process should seem familiar by now.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Sound. This menu may be named differently depending on your phone, with possible names being Sound and Display, Personalization, etc.
  3. Tap Default notification sound.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  1. Select the custom notification sound you added to the Notifications folder.
  2. Tap Save or OK. If you do not see these options on your device, simply tap the back button to exit the sound picker.Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

If your custom notification sound has been properly set, you will see its name underneath the Default notification sound.

Your turn

What awesome custom ringtones are you adding to your Android phone? I'm partial to Disney fireworks music, but Star Wars blaster and lightsaber sounds are pretty fun, too. Share your most outrageous and hilarious ringtones in the comments!

Updated December 2020: We've spruced up this guide to keep things as current and clear as possible. Happy ringtone hunting!

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

  • I have consistently found that RCP Ringtones have the best sounds for me. They have everything. Classic, notifications, rings, etc, etc
  • I Already knew about Zedge, But THANKS ARA, This great article got me to actually change my ringtone and notification tone. Gosh, I can't remember when I did it last!
  • I remember the first phone I was able to set ringtones. Had to pay for them. That horrid three tone. Green Day Basket Case. Zedge is awesome I also remember my first iPhone, 4, returned a Droid bionic to get it. Then I found out about how Apple does ringtones. In the words of Gedde Watanabe (Kuni from UHF), YOU SO STUPID!!!
  • I use the Matrix ringtone from Zedge.
  • Don't you folks have some imagination to make your own, truly personal, ringtone? Why would someone use an app or even pay for ringtones? But I also never understood why people pay for wallpapers either.