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How to set an MP3 file as a ringtone or notification sound on Android

Stock ringtones and notification sounds are boring. Make them fun!
By
March 3, 2022

I sometimes want to use my own song as a ringtone or notification alert. It wasn’t always the case, but doing this has become an effortless feat with Android. This guide will show you how to set an MP3 file as a custom ringtone or notification sound. Let’s get right to it.

Also: The best customization apps for Android

QUICK ANSWER

Set an MP3 file as a ringtone by going to Settings > Sound & vibration > Phone ringtone > My Sounds. Select the + button, find the MP3 you want to set as a ringtone, select it, and hit Save.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Note: All steps in this tutorial were put together using a Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12 and a custom PC with Windows 11. Keep in mind steps might differ depending on your hardware and software version.

Requirements

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Robert Triggs / Android Authority

You don’t need much to set an MP3 file as a ringtone or notification sound. Technically, the only requirements are an Android phone and an MP3 file. You might need an internet connection, depending on whether you have the MP3 stored locally or not. You might also need a PC and extra software for trimming the audio file.

Requirements:

  • Android phone
  • MP3 file
  • Internet (if you need to download the MP3)
  • A PC (if you need to trim the MP3 file)

Related: Got a new phone? Switch like a pro

Trimming the MP3 file

edit your voice crossfade - Set an mp3 file as a ringtone

You don’t want the whole song to be played as a ringtone. Well, you might, and you can skip this step if you do. That won’t always be the case, though. You’ll often want to hear only a specific part of a song or MP3 audio. You can use various software to trim your audio files, such as Adobe Audition, Reaper, and Pro Tools. We’ll only touch on a couple of options to simplify things, though; one for PC and one for Android.

How to trim an MP3 file with Audacity:

  1. Download, install, and launch Audacity. It’s available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  2. Go to File > Import > Audio.
  3. Select the MP3 you want to find.
  4. Use the selection tool and cursor to highlight the audio part you want to keep as your ringtone.
  5. Once a section has been selected, you can press the space bar to play only that part and make sure you like it.
  6. Now click Edit > Remove Special > Trim Audio.
  7. Only the section you selected will remain.
  8. Drag your audio to the beginning of the timeline.
  9. I would also advise using the Fade In and Fade Out in the beginning and end. These options can be accessed by going to the Effect menu.
  10. Now go to File > Export and select MP3.
  11. Move the file to your smartphone.

How to trim an MP3 file with Music Editor: 

  1. Download and install Music Editor from the Google Play Store.
  2. Move the MP3 file to your Music folder using a file manager.
  3. Launch Music Editor.
  4. Tap on the Trim Audio option.
  5. Select the song you want to turn into a phone ringtone.
  6. Drag the sliders to select the part of the song you want to keep as a ringtone. The green one is the beginning and the red one the end.
  7. You can use the media controls at the bottom to get a preview.
  8. Hit the floppy disk icon on the top-right.
  9. Select a name for the new file.
  10. Hit OK.

Also read: How to record calls on Android phones

How to set an MP3 file as a ringtone

LG V60 making a call - set an mp3 file as a ringtone

Now that your MP3 song is trimmed correctly, it’s time to get it ready for prime time.

How to set an MP3 as a ringtone on Android:

  1. Download or transfer the song you want to set as your ringtone to your phone. This can be done through USB, direct download, or any cloud storage solution of your preference. If you use a service like Google Play Music, download the mp3 file to your device.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Go to Sound & vibration.
  4. Hit Phone ringtone.
  5. Go to My Sounds.
  6. If your ringtone doesn’t show up, hit the + button in the bottom-right corner.
  7. Find the song and select it.
  8. Hit Save.

How to set an MP3 file as a notification sound

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Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Notification sounds blast off more commonly than ringtones, so giving them your personal touch is essential. The process is very similar, but here’s a step-by-step guide to make things easier.

Using an MP3 file as a notification sound:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android phone.
  2. Select Sound & vibration.
  3. Hit Default notification sound.
  4. Go to My Sounds.
  5. If your ringtone doesn’t show up, hit the + button in the bottom-right corner.
  6. Find the song and select it.
  7. Hit Save.

Next: How to fix common Android issues

Setting MP3 ringtones for specific contacts

Google Pixel 4a using in hand back 1 - Set an mp3 file as a ringtone
David Imel / Android Authority

Setting a personalized ringtone for each contact is also possible in the stock Contacts app:

  1. Launch the Contacts app and open a contact’s info page.
  2. Hit the 3-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Tap on Set Ringtone.
  4. Select the ringtone you want to use for that contact.
  5. Hit Save.

Next: 5 best Android apps for notification tones and ringtones

FAQs

What other file formats can I use to set a ringtone?

MP3 is the most commonly used format for audio, songs, and ringtones, but it’s not the only one. Android all supports M4A, WAV, and OGG.

Can I buy ringtones for Android?

There are plenty of apps and websites for buying ringtones. Sadly, there is no official store for Android users to get them. It would be nice if we could simply pay for Android ringtones from the Google Play Store, just like Apple users can buy them from iTunes. Maybe sometime in the future.

Is it legal to make my own ringtones?

Generally speaking, in the USA, it is. You just have to use legally purchased songs, and you can’t sell or distribute the ringtones. Make sure you do your research, though, as we’re not legal counselors or experts. Additionally, laws can change from place to place, so make sure to look into your local laws.