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How to get custom text tones back on your Samsung Galaxy phone

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We can get dozens of text messages a day, so why not spice them up with custom tones for your loved ones?

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 friend of mine has a custom text tone, a revolver shot, that echoes through the station when his wife texts him.

He was quite sad when his phone updated and Samsung took that away, and he’s not the only one.

  • Why you need another text messaging app now
  • How to set custom text tones in Android Messages
  • How to set custom text tones in Pulse
  • How to set custom text tones in Textra
  • How to set custom text tones in Mood

Why you need another text messaging app now

Before Samsung updated its Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones to Oreo, there was a place in Samsung Contacts to set a personal ringtone and notification tone for friends’ incoming messages. After the Oreo update, Samsung contacts only have the option to set a personal ringtone. I don’t know why this was removed during the update, though it may have something to do with changes to notification in Android Oreo.

Samsung has heard the uproar over the change and has announced that it will bring it back, but that update is taking its sweet time rolling out to individual users. If you still want a custom text tone for individual contacts right now, you can still have them, but you’ll have to switch to another text messaging app.

This is also exactly why you should want to use a third-party text messaging app. Samsung yanked out a fairly standard, fairly popular text messaging feature and we have no concrete timetable for it roll back out to millions of phones across dozens of carrier variants. Third-party text messaging apps are updated more regularly, have more robust features since they have to compete in an app category that is very busy and very popular, and they tend to look and work the same across all devices, so you won’t have to get used to a new text messaging app every time you switch phones.

There are dozens of great text messaging apps out there, but all of our favorites support custom text tones on a per-conversation basis.

Find your new favorite text messaging app here.

After you’ve picked one, here is how to set a custom text tone in each of them.

How to set custom text tones in Android Messages

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

Tap People & options.

custom-text-tone-android-messages-1.png?custom-text-tone-android-messages-2.png?custom-text-tone-android-messages-3.png?

Tap Notifications.
Tap Sound.
Tap your desired tone.

Tap Save.

custom-text-tone-android-messages-4.png?custom-text-tone-android-messages-5.png?custom-text-tone-android-messages-6.png?

How to set custom text tones in Pulse

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

Tap Conversation options.

custom-text-tone-pulse-1.png?itok=dmRAi6custom-text-tone-pulse-2.png?itok=L73c33custom-text-tone-pulse-3.png?itok=OG391a

Scroll to the bottom of the menu and tap Notification Channel Settings.
Tap Sound.
Tap your desired tone.

Tap Save.

custom-text-tone-pulse-4.png?itok=bFEVKfcustom-text-tone-pulse-5.png?itok=FcmWOscustom-text-tone-pulse-6.png?itok=5iQ-_s

How to set custom text tones in Textra

Tap the Conversation you wish to set a custom notification for.
Tap the arrow down icon in the top right corner of the screen.

Tap Customize this conversation.

custom-text-tone-textra-1.png?itok=SeDGqcustom-text-tone-textra-2.png?itok=y6DRBcustom-text-tone-textra-3.png?itok=4PmBL

Tap Notifications.
Tap Notification Sound.
Tap your desired tone.

Tap Save.

custom-text-tone-textra-4.png?itok=P59Zmcustom-text-tone-textra-5.png?itok=G3jjzcustom-text-tone-textra-6.png?itok=3XQOw

How to set custom text tones in Mood Messenger

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

Tap Options.

custom-text-tone-mood-1.jpg?itok=WV7rIJFcustom-text-tone-mood-2.png?itok=BlT5mfKcustom-text-tone-mood-3.png?itok=Wo4h85l

Scroll to the bottom of the menu and tap Current tone under Notifications & Sounds.
Tap the bell icon to go to the system sounds list.
Tap your desired tone.

Tap Save.

custom-text-tone-mood-4.png?itok=4kT9_-Gcustom-text-tone-mood-5.png?itok=eXvH0G_custom-text-tone-mood-6.png?itok=75gGjYI

Your turn

Going away from the standard Samsung Messages can be a big change for some users, but it’s a small price to pay to get that distinct tone when a parent or an ex-boyfriend is texting you. In fact, may I suggest a notification tone for just such a contact?

Updates June 2018: This post has been updated to include that Samsung is bringing custom text tones back, though the timetable for it rolling out to everyone is anyone’s guess.

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