Contact Text Tone setting on a Pixel 4Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Custom text message tones might seem like a small feature, but they can be immensely useful. A custom text message tone can tell us to respond to one notification among a sea of default notification tones. A gunshot can mean the boss is texting you after hours again and you can ignore him, while a whip crack means your wife is texting you, and you should really check it right now. Whether you're using Google Messages — the default SMS app on most phones — a manufacturer version like the Samsung Messages app, or one of our favorite third-party SMS texting apps like Textra or Pulse, setting a custom text tone for a contact or conversation is easy to do. However, you might find the setting in different places, depending on your app or phone.

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How to set custom text tones on Google Messages

Google Messages is the standard messaging app on a large portion of Android phones these days, and is available for free on Google Play if your phone didn't have it pre-installed. Google Messages uses the "common" method for custom conversation notifications on phones running Android Oreo and up.

  1. Tap the Conversation you wish to set a custom notification for.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Details.

    TravvisMenuDetailsSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  4. Tap Notifications.
  5. Tap Sound.
  6. Tap your desired tone.
  7. Tap the back arrow, or OK or Save if those options appear with your ringtone picking menu.

    NotificationsSoundNew tone and back to saveSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

How to set custom text tones on Samsung Messages

Samsung Messages got a new look last year with One UI, but the basic layout should be the same on all modern Samsung devices, whether they're still on Android Oreo or running Android 10.

  1. Tap the Conversation you wish to set a custom notification for.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap the toggle next to Custom notifications.

    TravvisMenuToggleSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  4. Tap the text Custom Notifications.
  5. Tap Sound.
  6. Tap your desired tone.
  7. Tap the back arrow in top left corner of the screen.

    Custom notificationsSoundNew tone and back arrowSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

If you don't find conversation-specific text tones using these menus on a Samsung phone running Android Nougat or an even older version, check the desired contact entry in the Samsung Contacts app.

How to set custom text tones on Pulse SMS

  1. Tap the Conversation you wish to set a custom notification for.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Conversation settings.

    TravvisMenuConversation settingsSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  4. Tap Conversation Notification Customization.
  5. Tap Sound.
  6. Tap your desired tone.
  7. Tap the back arrow, or OK or Save if those options appear with your ringtone picking menu.

    Conversation Notification CustomizationSoundNew tone and backSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

How to set custom text tones on Textra SMS

  1. Tap the Conversation you wish to set a custom notification for.
  2. Tap the downward-pointing carat in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Customize this conversation.

    TravvisCaratCustomizeSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  4. Tap Notifications.
  5. Tap Notification Sound.
  6. Tap your desired tone.
  7. Tap OK.

    NotificationsNotification SoundNew tone and OKSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

How to set custom text tones on Mood Messenger

  1. Tap the Conversation you wish to set a custom notification for.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Options.

    TravvisMenuOptionsSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

  4. Under Notifications & Sounds, tap Current tone.
  5. At the top of the sound picking menu are three icons. Tap the bell icon to use the system notification picker to select a text tone. You can also tap the microphone icon to record a custom phrase as the text tone or the folder icon to select a ringtone through your file manager.
  6. Tap your desired tone.
  7. Tap OK.

    Current ToneRingtone pickerNew tone and OKSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Your turn

Whether you stick with the standard messaging app your Android phone came with or branch out with a third-party client, setting custom text tones for your most-used contacts can be a small but very helpful tool — WHIP-CRACK! — in helping avoid distractions while you try to work. After all, no one needs a needy — WHIP-CRACK! — roommate wasting your time during a lab.

WHIP-CRACK! WHIP-CRACK!

If you'll excuse me, I need to answer this before my mother calls and asks me why I'm not answering her texts.

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