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How to make a song your ringtone on an Android phone

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Even though most modern Android phones come with a broad assortment of built-in ringtones — a Google Pixel with Android 14 offers 127 to choose from — you may prefer something a bit more specific to represent your personal style. Thankfully, customization is the name of the game in Android, and that extends to adding you own custom ringtones.

The good news is that it's also pretty easy to do. Unlike using a custom ringtone on an iPhone, Android smartphones let you pull in just about any MP3 or other compatible (and non-copy-protected) audio file directly from local storage and use it as a ringtone.

Difficulty

Moderate

Duration

10 minutes

What You Need

  • An Android smartphone

  • An MP3 file you want to use as a ringtone

That means you can download an MP3 in your browser and assign it as a ringtone straight from your downloads folder. You don't need any extra software or a PC involved in the process unless you want to edit the MP3 file. However, there's no limit on the length of your ringtone, so if you're going for the opening riffs in GNR's Sweet Child O' Mine or the Stones' I Can't Get No Satisfaction, you'll be good to go.

For other songs, you may want to trim off the beginning so you hear your favorite part right away when the phone rings. Check out our companion guide on how to create and set custom ringtones for more information and some suggested apps to help you with that.

While MP3 is the most common format for ringtones, Android also supports ringtones in the M4A, WAV, and OGG formats.

Google Chrome app on s8 screen.
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How to download a song on your Android phone

The first thing you need to do before setting a song as a custom ringtone is get it onto your smartphone. Android only lets you assign ringtones from local folders, not cloud storage services.

Note that the file selection screen that appears when looking for a ringtone will let you browse Google Drive and other connected cloud services, so you can see audio files in those places, but you won't be able to select them from there. That doesn't mean the audio file isn't compatible; it's just that you have to copy it to local storage before you can use it.

Thankfully, it's not too hard to transfer an audio file onto your phone.

Step 1: If the song you want to use as a ringtone is available on a website, you can download it using Chrome.

Step 2: If the music file is already stored in Google Drive, open the Drive app, locate the song, tap the three-dot menu, and select Download.

Downloading a music from Google Drive on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: You can also transfer files over from your PC or Mac via USB, Bluetooth, or Quick Share (formerly known as Nearby Share).

The Realme X Coca-Cola phone uses the official Coca-Cola advertising sound as the ringtone.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

How to set a song as your ringtone on Android

Once you've downloaded or transferred the song you want to use, you need to assign it as a ringtone. The method for this varies slightly between different flavors of Android, but here are the steps for stock Android 14 running on a Google Pixel.

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Select Sound and vibration.

Android 14 Settings with Sound and vibration highlighted.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 3: Choose Phone ringtone.

Android 14 Settings with Phone ringtone highlighted.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: Select My Sounds. This will show a list of any custom ringtones you've already added, along with a "None" option if you'd rather enjoy the sound of silence.

Android 14 ringtone settings.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: Choose the plus button in the bottom-right corner to add a new ringtone.

Custom ringtone settings on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 6: The local file browser will open, showing you a list of recently added files by default. If you've just downloaded or transferred your ringtone, it should appear here. If you don't see it, choose the hamburger menu in the top-left corner and select Audio or Downloads to browse for it.

Browsing for custom ringtone on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 7: Once you've located the song you want to use as a ringtone, select it. You'll be returned to the My Sounds screen.

Selecting a custom ringtone on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 8: Your new ringtone should appear here. Select it to hear a preview, and choose Save in the top-right corner when you're finished.

Best file managers for Android
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How to remove a custom ringtone

Once you've added a custom ringtone, it will remain in the "My Sounds" section, even if you choose a different one. Unfortunately, there's no way to remove a ringtone directly from here once you've added it.

While there's not much harm in leaving a ringtone on the list, if you want to clean things up, you'll have to remove the ringtone file manually using the Files app. Again, the steps for this vary between different Android phones, but here's how it's done on a Google Pixel.

Step 1: Open Files on your phone.

Files app in app list on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom and select Internal storage.

Step 3: Browse to Android > media > com.google.android.soundpicker > Ringtones.

This folder contains all the custom ringtones you've added. Note that audio files are copied here; the originals are still in your downloads folder or wherever else you saved them on your phone.

Custom ringtone folder in Files app on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 4: Select the three-dot menu beside the ringtone you'd like to remove, choose Move to Trash, and confirm.

Deleting a custom ringtone from the Files app on Android 14.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends
Jesse Hollington
Jesse has been a technology enthusiast for his entire life — he probably would have been born with an iPhone in his hand…
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