How to Vary Your Notifications: Set a Unique Sound for Each Type of Message

August 5, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson

Android Tricks, Tips

How to Set Notifications on Android - a Complete List

The same notification sound is usually played for all incoming messages on Android by default. When you receive a message, this prevents you from hearing where it came from. When you know whether you just got an email, an SMS, an instant message on Google Talk or a couple of new tweets, you can act accordingly.

The simple solution is to set a unique notification sound for each type of message, and you can even change the ringtone for individual contacts. It can be a bit tedious to find all these settings, however, so here they all are for your convenience. Please note that this guide is made with an HTC Sense device running Froyo, but the menu descriptions should apply to most Android phones.

Set your standard notification sound from Settings > Sound > Notification.

Change the Gmail notification sound

Change the Gmail ringtone from Gmail > Menu > More > Settings > Select ringtone.

Change the Google Talk notification sound

Select the Google Talk ringtone from Talk > Settings > Select ringtone. If your version of Google Talk doesn’t have a notification setting, the only way to confirm its notification sound is unique, is to make sure no other apps use the default ringtone.

Set the notification sound for SMS and MMS

Select the sound for incoming text and multimedia messages from Messaging > Menu > Settings > Notification sound.

Set the notification sound for Handcent SMS

Handcent SMS is a popular replacement for the standard Messaging app. If you use it as well, you can change its notification sound from Handcent SMS > Menu > Settings > Notification settings > Notification settings > Notification sound.

The application also lets you set an individual SMS tone for each of your contacts, if you’re so inclined. Just tap on a contact in the list of conversations, and press the icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Select Notification settings from the resulting pop-up menu, and then finally select Notification sound and choose a unique ringtone from the list.

Change the notification sound in Facebook for Android

In Facebook for Android, you can change the notification sound from Facebook > Menu > Settings > Notification ringtone.

How to set a unique ringtone for a contact

If you set a unique ringtone for your favorite contacts, you can even hear who is calling. On HTC Sense phones, this can be done by opening the People app, tapping on a contact and selecting Ringtone in the Information category.

You can obviously change the default ringtone for incoming calls as well (just to include everything) from Settings > Sound > Phone ringtone.

For Phones with HTC Sense

Set the ringtone for the HTC Calendar app

Set the Calendar notification sound from Calendar > Menu > More > Settings > Reminder settings > Select ringtone.

Set the notification sound for HTC's Twitter app Peep

If you use HTC’s own Twitter app, you can set its ringtone from Peep > Menu > More > Settings > Notification settings > Notification tone.

Do you know how to diversify Android’s notifications even further?  Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.