How to Reset Android’s Sound Picker

When setting tones for the first time in the Sound Settings, be it the phone ringtone, notification sound or alarm sound, Android will prompt you to select an option to use and optionally to use it either JUST ONCE or to set it as the default by selecting ALWAYS.

In my device running stock Android 8.1.0 (Oreo), I get three choices with which I can pick tones:

  • Media Storage – for picking from the default 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 the prompt to Complete action using… when selecting tones from here going forward.

A screenshot showing the ringtone picker in Anroid 6.0
Use Just Once or Always

To get the prompt back, one only needs to clear the current default. This seems straightforward, but in practice the exact place where one needs to do this is a mystery for some. Here’s how to do it.

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Clear the Current Default for Ringtone and Notification Sound

  1. Go to Settings and select Apps & notifications.
  2. Below the last app listed, select See all apps.
  3. On the upper right part of the page, tap on the three dots. That will reveal two choices:
    • Show system
    • Reset app preferences
      A screenshot showing app options in Android 6.0 settings
  4. From here, you can reset the default in either one of two ways:
    • The first and the quickest way is to select Reset app preferences and be done with it. However, note by doing this you’ll also clear defaults for all other apps (e.g. default launcher, browser, file manager etc.). Additionally, it clears all the app permissions, so you’ll have to give grant apps their required permissions when prompted.
    • The second option is to clear the default for the specific app without interfering with the defaults and permissions of other apps, as follows:
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A. Current Default is set to Media Storage or Custom Ringtones

  1. In the top menu, select Show System to display System Apps.
  2. Scroll down and select Media Storage.
    A screenshot showing the Media Storage app in Android's app settings
  3. In the Media Storage settings scroll down and under Open by default it should read Some defaults set.
    A screenshot showing default sets for the media storage app
  4. Select this option then tap on the CLEAR DEFAULTS button.
    A screenshot showing a clear defaults button for the Media Storage app

This should reset the choices if the ringtone had been set to Media Storage.

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B. Current Default is set to File Explorer or other File Manager

  1. In the list of app scroll down and select the file manager the ringtone picker is defaulting to (e.g. ES File Explorer, FX, Files GO, Amaze, MiXplorer etc.).
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  3. In its settings scroll down and under Open by default it should read Some defaults set. Select it then tap on the CLEAR DEFAULTS button.
    A screenshot showing the defaults for the FIle Explorer app

Now go back to your phone’s Sound settings 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.

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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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