How to Reset Android’s Ringtone and Notification Sound Picker

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.

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.


Clear the Current Default for Ringtone and Notification Sound

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.

Some defaults set

6. Select it and tap on the CLEAR DEFAULTS button.

clear default
Clear the Default

That should 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.



Kelvin Muriuki is a web content developer that's passionate about keeping the internet a useful place. He is the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to connect with him regarding the content appearing on this page or on web and content development.

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