All cell phones come pre-populated with an assortment of default ringtones and wallpapers, but users oftentimes want to upload their own for an added personalized touch. Adding custom ringtones and wallpapers to your phone will depend largely on what device you have and its operating system. The exact process is quite similar for popular phones, and it is generally fairly simple to understand.
Customizing a Google Android Phone
As there are different versions of Google Android and the different manufacturers oftentimes also place custom skins and user interfaces (UIs) on top of these different versions, the precise steps needed to add ringtones and wallpapers can vary slightly from one device to another.
The following instructions assume that you already have an MP3 file on your computer that you wish to use as a custom ringtone. Follow these steps to upload it and apply it. See Where to Get Cell Phone Ringtones if you need to locate a sound file.
- Connect your smartphone to your your computer. Using a USB cable is simplest, but there are other methods to upload files to your Android device.
- Select "USB mass storage" when prompted.
- Decide whether you want to save the ringtone file to your smartphone's internal memory or to its microSD card.
- Open up the file explorer on your computer and navigate to the "ringtones" folder on either your phone's internal memory or the microSD card.
- If this folder does not exist, create it. The preferred path is either a Ringtones folder in the root directory, or Media -> Audio -> Ringtones.
- Copy the MP3 ringtone file to this folder.
- Eject your smartphone from your computer.
- Open the app drawer on your Android device.
- Open the Settings app.
- Select "Sound" under "Device."
- Tap on "Phone ringtone." This will bring up a list of compatible ringtone files.
- Choose the one ringtone you'd like to use.
The process for applying a custom wallpaper to your Android smartphone is much the same as applying a custom ringtone.
- Follow the same above instructions to connect your phone to your computer.
- Navigate to the "wallpaper" folder on either the phone's internal memory or microSD slot. You can alternatively use the generic "Images" folder or any other folder.
- Copy the wallpaper image file to the appropriate folder.
- Eject your smartphone from the computer.
- Open the app drawer and open the Settings app.
- Select "Display" under "Device."
- Tap on Wallpaper, then select Gallery.
- Find the image file that you would like to use and tap on it.
- Resize and crop if available and necessary. This will depend on your specific smartphone.
- Tap "OK" or "Apply."
Alternatively, you can open the "Gallery" app on your smartphone, select your image file, tap the menu button (three vertical dots), choose "set as," and pick wallpaper. This puts you into the same cropping dialog as above, if available.
Customizing the Apple iPhone
Creating a custom ringtone or wallpaper experience on the Apple iPhone is just as easy as it is on an Android device.
- Follow the instructions in the MP3 Ringtone article to create your custom M4R format ringtone file for the iPhone.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer and open the iTunes program.
- Add the ringtone file to your iTunes library. You can do this by using the "Add File to Library" option in the file menu if you haven't already done so.
- Ensure that the "Tones" sub-folder is set up to synchronize when iTunes does a sync with your iPhone.
- Sync your iPhone with iTunes to save the M4R ringtone file to your iPhone.
- Eject the iPhone.
- Open up the app drawer on your iPhone and navigate to Settings.
- Go to Sounds and then Ringtones. Your new custom ringtone file should appear here.
- Select the one you want to use.
- Find the picture that you want to use as your iPhone lock screen wallpaper.
- Save the image file onto the iPhone's internal memory. You can do this by emailing the image to yourself and accessing it from your iPhone or save it directly from the web. You can also do this through cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, using the accompanying apps.
- Open the Photos app on the iPhone.
- Locate the image that you just saved that you want to use as the lock screen wallpaper.
- Click on the icon that looks like a box with a "right" arrow in it. This will bring up additional options.
- Select "Use as Wallpaper" from the prompt that appears.
- Move and scale the image as needed.
- Click "Set Wallpaper."
Customizing a Microsoft Windows Phone Device
Windows Phone 8 is a viable alternative to iOS and Android and it provides just as many customization options, including the ability to add new wallpapers and ringtones.
- Save the compatible ringtone file to your Windows Phone device. This can be done by e-mailing the file or by connecting the phone directly to a computer and transferring the file via USB mass storage.
- Disconnect the phone from the computer.
- From the Start screen, flick to the left to open the Application List.
- Select Settings from the available options.
- Then, choose Ringtones + Sounds.
- Select the type of ringtone that you want to choose.
- Pick the custom ringtone file that you would like to use.
- Exit from the Settings menu.
- Save the image file onto your phone.
- From the Start screen, swipe to the left to open the Application list.
- Open Settings.
- Choose Lock + Wallpaper.
- If you want to use automatically updated images from Bing, choose Bing.
- If you want to use your own custom image, then choose Picture.
- Navigate to the picture that you want to use via the image gallery and then select it.
- Pan the picture if needed.
- Press Done.
Other Mobile Platforms
While there are certainly differences between the various mobile operating systems, the general procedures for selecting a custom ringtone and wallpaper does not differ greatly. These can typically be accessed through the settings menu, moving to "display" or "sound" accordingly. However, some platforms, phones and carriers may place restrictions on the length and format of the ringtone and you may need to resize the wallpaper image to fit the resolution of your phone.
Update Phone Features
With the high level of connectivity found on contemporary cell phones, discovering and installing great new ringtones and wallpapers is easier than ever.