How To Set A Custom Ringtone, Notification Or Alarm On Your Android Phone


One of the factors that draws people to Android over iOS is the increased level of customization offered by Google’s OS. You can easily make tweaks that are not possible on iOS. Users may set all types of live wallpapers, change launchers and even do things like theme the system keyboard.

It isn’t immediately obvious how to set custom notifications, alarms or ringtones. Some of the stock Android sounds are cool, but setting your own notification sounds really adds that personal touch to your device. These days we spend so much time on our devices, we might as well customize them to our preferences.

Today we’ll be exploring what’s probably the most straightforward way of setting your desired notification, alarm and/or ringtone. No special bells or whistles are required to do this, so you can go ahead and breathe that sigh of relief now.

How It Works

Before we begin, please note that I’m using a Google Nexus 5 running Android 6.0.1 and a Windows PC as the basis for this article. This method should apply to most if not all Android devices with little variation, and it should also be easily repeatable on other computer operating systems.

First, you will need to connect your device to your computer via USB and make sure that it is in USB file transfer mode. Next, if they don’t already exist, you will need to create folders called Alarms, Notifications and Ringtones in the root directory of your phone.


Now you’ll need to transfer the audio files(s) you wish to use. The list of supported media formats on Android can be found here. You should check them out just in case. However, you will probably be using an MP3 as this is the most common and easy to work with format due to its widespread use.

Now it’s time to shift our focus to your Android device. I really love the song “Wasteland,” so this is what I’ll be using in all of the examples; and that is the song I put in all three folders.

Let’s start of with ringtones. Go to Settings and then select Sound & Notification. Select Phone Ringtone and then you will be able to choose your desired audio track. In my case it is, of course, “Wasteland.”

Remaining in Sound & Notification, go to Default notification ringtone, which can be found below Phone Ringtone, in order to set your desired notification tone.


Finally, in order to set your desired alarm, you will need to open the Clock app. Set your desired time and then touch the area near the bell icon in order to set your alarm tone.

Now you have fully customized your default Android sounds! You should be proud of yourself. In order to truly make a device feel like yours, customization is important. One of the first places to start should be with the default system sounds. Android makes this possible with relatively little hassle. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, you should go and try this now.

Posted by William on February 16, 2016

4 thoughts on “How To Set A Custom Ringtone, Notification Or Alarm On Your Android Phone”

  1. seenhear says:

    This is a great set of instructions, thanks! Is there a way to set a specific sound/tone to a specific person/contact, for sms alerts? I’d like to know when important people text me, but so many sms alerts I don’t care about. I think there are several apps that can do this, but I’m wondering if it’s possible with system settings (no app). Thanks!

    1. William Elcock says:

      Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately I have not come across any methods to set individual sms alerts without a third party app.

  2. Mushi says:

    Thank you so much. I can use my custom ringtones now!

  3. Segata Sanshiro says:

    Honestly, this was the most helpful tutorial I found. Every other one had instructions on programs to download to do this. It’s a little annoying that we have to put them in specific folders, but when you know, it’s not so bad.

    Thanks again!!

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