Adding Custom Notification Sounds and Ringtones
One of the greatest advantages of Android is customization. Android is open in a sense that the code is open source but also in the sense that a lot of possibilities are open to you. Certain closed operating systems have very limited ways to modify settings, as well as the look and feel of the device.
Device notification tones are one of the key customization points in a smartphone. It is not new in any case with mobile phones since feature phones also allow you to add custom notifications to some extent.
On Android, you have the option to change the notification tone, ring tone and alarm tone to your own favorite or preferred tunes. In addition, you can use these tones to further customize in app notifications so that every app would sound different which helps you identify from a distance which app is pushing a notification.
Things you’ll need:
· Compatible Tones
Even with older devices, you need a compatible tone format to be able to use it as a ringtone or a notification tone. The usual formats involved in the process are mp3 files. Most devices stop at that. Android allows you to use other file types such as ogg and m4a. You can also try out other formats and see if they are compatible.
· File Browser / PC
You will need either a file browser on your smartphone or a PC to complete this task. The process involves moving files across folders and quite possibly even the creation of new folders depending on the setup of your current file system. Don’t worry; you won’t need to root your device unless you are planning to replace certain system sounds.
· Android device
Well, of course you need your android device for this one. You also need a way to connect your Android device to your PC if you are transferring files from a computer to your Android device. This can be in the form of a USB cable or through wireless means like Airdroid and Dropbox.
Proper Tone Placement
For this process, we are going to presume you are using your PC to transfer files to your Android device. This way, we cover both devices in the tutorial. Now, let’s presume you have all the tones you want to use on your PC. What you want to do is to create 3 folders labeled as “Alarms”, “Notifications”, and “Ringtones”.
These folders represent where you would be using the tones. One would expect loud and disturbing sounds to be used for “Alarms” while short but noticeable tones will be used for “Notifications”. Longer and easily recognizable tones should be placed on “Ringtones”. Of course, you are free to place your tones wherever you want.
Basically, these folders represent on which list the tones would appear. Normally, you would already have these folders on the Android device. In cases where you don’t have them, simply make one or transfer the entire folder from your PC on your root directory. Make sure it is in the root directory of your normal file storage, not the root folder where the system files are located. To give you a better idea, this is the highest directory you can access when you are not rooted.
Try it out
Let’s try it out by now setting our default notifications and tones with the new tones you transferred to your Android device. Simply go to Settings > Sounds and look for the “Device Ringtone” option or something to that effect. You will notice that the new files you placed on the “Ringtone” folder is now in the list and can be selected as the default ringtone.
Now let’s try it with the default notifications. In the same settings directory, look for “Default Notifications” and take a look at the list. The list now includes the tones you placed in the “Notifications” folder.
Default Alarm Tone
Sadly, in newer devices running Jelly Bean, there is no way to set the default ringtone using the normal means. While you can choose the new tones you placed on the “Alarms” folder when creating new alarms, the default alarm tone will remain to be the alarm tone set by the OS when creating new alarms.
There is a way around this if you have root access. You need to navigate to your root directory and look for the “System” folder. Next, look for the “Media” folder. Finally, look for the “Audio” folder. You will notice that there are folders in this directory having the same labels we used earlier. To change the default alarm tone, go to “Alarms”.
In the Alarms folder, you will see the file names of the default alarm tones you have on your Android device. Look for the file that has the same name as the one that is constantly being used by your Android device when creating a new alarm.
It is important that you note the file name as well as the extension. For better compatibility, make sure you use a tone with the same format. If it is an ogg file, make sure to use an ogg file as well. You can try to change the extension to ogg if it will work, but I provide no guarantees.
Make sure to back up the file in your systems folder before proceeding.
Now, rename the tone you want to match the exact filename used by the default alarm tone. Transfer the file to this directory and overwrite the file.
Enjoy the new customized tones of your Android device!
To test it out, simply create a new alarm and don’t set the tone. Wait for the alarm and check if the new tone is now being used. There you have it, a new default alarm tone.