Android makes it very easy to add your own ringtones, notification sounds, and alarm sounds to your device. Simply move a sound file to the Notifications, Alarms, or Ringtones folder on your internal storage, and you're done. A new bug has popped up in Android 4.4.2, however, which could make this a bit more complicated. Currently, unless the sounds are added via a computer, they will not show up in your lists of available sounds.



The problem here is very straightforward. If you download an MP3 file directly onto your device, move it to its appropriate folder using an on-device file manager app like ES File Explorer or Root Explorer, and then attempt to select it, it will not show up in the list of available sounds.

Screenshot_2013-12-28-10-11-26 Screenshot_2013-12-28-10-12-15 Screenshot_2013-12-28-10-12-28 Screenshot_2013-12-28-10-19-42
Move an MP3 file from the "Downloads" folder on your device's internal storage, then move it to the "Notifications" folder using a file manager app. Check the list of notification sounds.

Unfortunately, it appears that placing a sound file into one of the sound folders does not automatically trigger the event which would cause the sound files to appear in the appropriate list of system sounds.


In order to add your own sounds, you will need to use a computer. Following these steps will provide you a solution that works:

  • Plug your device into your computer via USB.
  • Move the sound file to the appropriate folder either from your computer or by cutting and pasting it from elsewhere on your device.
  • Unplug from USB

Once you do that, the sound will be selectable via the lists of system sounds.


Truth be told, for most people, this is neither a major bug nor a deal breaker. That said, there are lots of people who like to use their own custom sounds and this could become an annoyance very quickly, especially if you tend to download sounds directly to your device.

Thanks, Eric!

Update: There appears to be more to this bug and we are taking another look at it. At this point, this could be an Android OS issue, an issue with certain file manager apps, or a combination of both. We'll update again when we have some additional answers.

Shawn De Cesari
Shawn is a web developer by day and XDA's resident archivist for Nexus and Google Play Edition device OTA updates by night. When not immersing himself in code or Android, he can be found hunting down antique signs, taking road trips, listening to music, or playing video games. His daily drivers are a Nexus 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Mark Stronge

    That explains my problem. Is there a google forum topic I can star to get this fixed?

  • George Bakos

    I did it today on a nexus 4 with kitkat 4.4.2. I moved a file to alarms and it showed up perfectly. I used astro file manager

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      Interesting. To verify the bug, I had a friend try it on his Nexus 5 with ES File Explorer, and I tried it on my Galaxy S4 GPE with ES File Explorer, Root Explorer, and File Manager. All of them reproduced the bug.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Worked for me too, on a Nexus 5 moving with Total Commander.

  • NW_Raver

    4.4.3 better be on the way. This isn't the only annoyance right now

  • Daniel Söderström

    Works perfectly fine for me.

  • Marcell Lévai

    That's because for some reason moving a file with Root Explorer doesn't update the media database, however File Explorer and maybe Astro work just fine. Also a reboot can help your problem.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      That seems a little strange to me as updating the media database seems like something the Android OS would need to handle, not the file manager app.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I don't think Android has to handle this - it should be up to the app to trigger. Otherwise, if you copy like 1000 files at the same time, your device may get high load while indexing, unnecessarily.

        Having said that, a reboot should fix it no matter what.

        Btw, just tried it with Root Explorer, and it worked too, on the N5. So I'm not sure what's going on with some of these devices.

        • Adithya Pc

          I had this error. But using this app called SD rescan from play store it works just fine. I've had similar issues by moving pics with file explorers and them not appearing in the gallery. SD rescan forces the OS to scan for media changes.

          • ppero196

            You can add simple line of code to app to trigger MediaScanner so it scans for content.
            sendBroadcast(new Intent(Intent.ACTION_MEDIA_MOUNTED, Uri.parse("file://" + Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory())));

            P.S. This reply was meant to be for Artem.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

    I have the same issue on Moto X with 4.2.2, so it's not a new problem.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      Interesting. I tried it using ES File Explorer on a Galaxy S3 with Android 4.3 and didn't have the problem.

      • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

        Using ES File Explorer is how I work around the problem. If you use the native Android ringtone / notification selector, the new files won't appear.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      4.2.2 or 4.4.2? If the latter, why not update?

      • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

        Republic Wireless (hybrid calling ROM). They will be upgrading 1Q14.

  • Neil Lowman

    The path I use is /storage/sdcard0/media/audio/notifications/ and when placed with astro file manager they immediately show as available notifications. 2013 N7 stock.

    • Neil Lowman

      I just tried with RootExplorer and it also worked fine.

  • Reginald Spence II

    New sound files won't show up even after a restart? That's crazy. Moved some the other day on my Nexus 4 with no problem. Running CM11 nightlies.

  • Allan Sipolatti Delfim

    Apos copiar a musica para a pasta Notificações é só desmontar o cartão Sd que o Android reconhece a musica como toque.

  • Karlo

    There is a simple solution for this:

    1.Create new folder in mnt/sdcard called Media

    2.Create new folder in that Media folder called Audio

    3.In Audio folder make two(2) folders named Notifications and Ringtones

    4.Put you notifications or ringtones sounds in folders for what you wanna them to use for(ringtones goes to ringtones folder,notifications goes notifications folder).

    Thumbs up if this helped you.

  • markgbe

    works fine for me. i used root explorer to do this.

  • Nolan Pinto

    It plays ogg and wav files perfectly fine. Looks like currently it does not support mp3 files as notification sounds and ringtones

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      Of course it does. Android has supported MP3 files as notification sounds for a long time.

    • squiddy20

      The Samsung Moment that I had years ago was able to play mp3 files as notif sounds and ringtones...

  • a name
  • Simon Belmont

    I just tested this with X-plore File Manager on my Nexus 5. It works perfectly.

    I wonder why some people are having issues? Weird.

  • Kylecore

    When in doubt, reboot :)

    • ltredbeard

      I tried rebooting and it didn't fix the issue.

    • r

      But when that doesnt fix it, more doubts arise.

  • esp

    I've noticed on my Nexus 5 that some songs don't always play (.mp4 format). I copied these across from my pc (where they had been copied from my CD collection).

    Also, when I used one of these songs as a ringtone, and someone called me, I would not realise the phone was ringing! It still vibrated though...

    So sometimes they'd play and not other times, not sure why. After restarting the phone, this sometimes fixed the problem.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    Anyone with Tasker tried setting up a test task with rescan media library as an action to see if it fixes the problem? I gather that Android automatically does a rescan when disconnected from the computer and used to rescan periodically when not connected to a computer - perhaps the periodic rescan has been dropped now.

    • ltredbeard

      That is an interesting point. I tried to reboot and that didn't fix anything, and I would think it would rescan on reboot.

      • Michael

        I would think so too (and others suggest it here as well) but really thinking about it, what are the chances that something would be added to the device while off? It might not extend the boot time by scanning since that possibility is so low.

  • Michael Tamayo

    if you move the file then wipe media storage and possible reboot it should come up

  • Riddler

    This bug already existed in 4.4 and ES File Explorer.....

  • kjh

    This bug happens on my GNex running 4.3 as well. Never noticed until now.

    I use ES file explorer. My workaround is to play the song in ES file player, and then hit the menu and choose "Select ringtone/alarm/notific.".


    If it doesn't show up try rebooting the device and it will (should) show up in the ringtone or notification folder (you moved it to that it wasn't showing at first) of said device.

  • Premsuraj

    There is an app that reruns the media indexer available in the play store.


  • Claudiu

    I would say a much simpler workaround would be to browse for the ringtone using the installed file manager, instead of the system sound picker.
    That way you don't need the computer, you can actually set the desired ringtone and this also forces the mp3 to get indexed and be available in the default sound picker.

    • Trish

      Browsing for it using the file manager doesn't give you the option to set it as a ringtone, though. I have the problem on my Captivate Glide that it is in the list of ringtones I am supposed to be able to assign as default ringtones, but if I select them, the ringtone is silent.

  • Nathan Fernandes

    i had this problem since jelly bean.. whenever i would use ES file
    explorer to copy my music over wifi lan it wouldn't show up in the music

  • Anon

    I'm actually having an issue where since my Droid MAXX updated to Kit Kat, SMS notification sounds don't even work any more. Ringtones are fine, so are alarm notifications, but SMS audio is a no-go. I can see and pick the sounds if I browse with Android's stock media explorer, but they don't preview, and they don't play.

  • Mike

    Since installing 4.4.2, my phone (RZAR MAXX HD) ringtones do not work. All the other sounds had to be reset to my previous selections, and no work fine. The vibrate selection appears fine. However, I get no ringtone or contact announcement on the phone.

  • Jason Chamberlain

    I'm having a similar issue, but not involving adding new files. I can't see the stock ringtones and alarm tones that supposedly came with the phone! Every time i try to change my default ringtone I only get a list of SMS notification tones, and a list of all the music I've downloaded to the device. I used to see my alarms and ringtones just fine. What's happened?