How to Clear the Set Default in the Android Ringtone Picker

reset ringtone picker

One of the joys of owning a smartphone is that it affords us a level of customization that we could only dream of back in the days of the feature phone. One such customization is the ability to set custom call ringtones as well as message and other notification sounds. Android has had this feature all through its existence albeit changing in procedure across the subsequent major Android versions.

Back in Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), ringtones and notification sounds used to be housed under Sound in the Settings applet. With the newer versions of Android however, the settings can now be found under Audio Profiles, and with it, setting custom ringtones has never been easier.



When setting tones for the first time for the call ringtone, message ringtone or the notification sound, Android prompts you to select a choice and optionally to set a default by selecting ALWAYS instead of JUST ONCE. In my device running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), I get three choices with which I can select tones:
  • Media Storage - for picking from the default/stock tones the phone came with.
  • Custom Ringtones - for picking from your music.
  • File Explorer (including third party file managers) - for picking from any sound file stored in your storage (external or internal).

If you make the choice to ALWAYS use one of this, you won't get a prompt to Complete action using... when selecting tones from here going forward. I learned this early on while tinkering with my Android phone for the first time when I casually set the default to always use Custom Ringtones, something that I soon regretted since I didn't have any good notification sounds other than actual music.
just once always
Just Once or Always

Revering to get all the choices by clearing the set defaults is possible however this may be quite unintuitive for some as I soon found out. This is what you've to do:


Clearing the Ringtone Deafult Picker

Tip: If you're the kind that fancies a video tutorial instead, then you're in luck today. I made one just for you.

1. Go to Settings and select Apps.

2. On the upper right part of the page beside the gear icon select the three dots. There you'll get two choices:
  • Show system
  • Reset app preferences. 
app options
App Options

Now you can accomplish this in two ways:
  • The first and the quickest is that you can select Reset app preferences and be done with it. However, note by doing this you also do a system-wide clearing of defaults for other apps (e.g. default launcher, browser, file manager etc.). It also does clears the permissions, so you'll have to allow apps access to various permissions all over again.
  • The second is that you clear the default for the specific app without interfering with the set defaults and permissions for other apps. To do this:

If default is set to Media Storage or Custom Ringtones

3. Select Show System to display System Apps.

4. Scroll down and select Media Storage.
media storage
Select Media Storage

5. In the Media Storage settings scroll down and under Open by default it should read Some defaults set.
defaults
Some defaults set

6. Select it and tap on the CLEAR DEFAULTS button. That should clear the default.
clear default
Clear the Default



If default is set to File Explorer or other File Manager:

6. Scroll down and from the list of apps select File Explorer or the File Manager you chose (e.g. MiXplorer).

7. In the app's settings scroll down and under Open by default it should read Some defaults set. Select it and tap on the CLEAR DEFAULTS button.

file explorer
Clear Default for File Explorer


Now go back to Audio Profiles and try changing the call ringtones or notification sound. You should now get the prompt to complete the action using any of the choices above.
ringtone pickers
All options should now be available


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