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GDR3 Update 3

Developers: Add custom sounds to your toast notifications with Update 3

Yesterday, Microsoft surprised us by not only announcing the features coming in GDR3 (also known as Update 3), but by releasing the update for download through their new Developer Preview Program. We have a fairly good idea of what’s new and improved with the update, but small trinkets are still being discovered by developers and enthusiasts around the globe. The latest discovery is one that can help make Windows Phone even more personal.

You’re missing out if you’ve downloaded GDR3 for your Windows Phone 8 device and haven’t yet checked out our Windows Phone 8 GDR3 Forums. Other members in the Windows Phone Central community are playing with the update and finding all sorts of new features, like this one.

With Update 3 for Windows Phone 8, developers can introduce custom sounds in toasts notifications. Pretty awesome right? While Microsoft may or may not call their future personal assistant Cortana, there’s no reason developers can’t get creative with this new feature.

Here are the limitations for developers implementing this feature. Sound files can be in WAV, WMA, or MP3 format and must be less than 10 seconds long. That’s it.

While Windows Phone 8.1 will introduce a proper notification center, it’s not coming out until early 2014. Until then, it still is fairly common to hear a toast notification on your phone, but miss pulling it out to see what it was before it disappears. Now developers can get creative with this feature by introducing custom sounds that go with toasts. For example, we could get Jay Bennett’s voice to announce when a new article is published on Windows Phone Central. That would be pretty rad.

Developers, head to the source link below to read up on the documentation around this feature and sound off with your thoughts. Everyone else, give developers some creative ideas of how to implement this and whether or not you’d use it.

Source: MSDN, Via: Windows Phone Central Forums; Thanks, Anthony A., for the tip



There are 68 comments. Sign in to comment

TheWPUser says:

I'm hoping for more hidden API changes, specially in BT...

rodneyej says:

This is one of the most exciting, and useful, features to come to WP In a long time.. I'm hoping for some really futuristic, robotic, and technology themed sounds for certain notifications... 10 seconds is enough for a quick spoken out description of the notification.. This is awesome, and I'm not sure any other platform is doing this..

bguy_1986 says:

I hope we get the options for a little ding or somebody talking.  When I set my phone at my desk and get an alert, I don't really want my phone talking to me...

rodneyej says:

Yes❕ Exactly.. This needs to be all about options in the apps settings, or custom sounds that we can choose for a specific apps notifications.. The possibilities are endless.. I'm really excited about this feature..
Nevertheless, this should not be considered a substitute for a completely intergraded notification center❗

aerosmillie says:

Whatsapp and 6tag get on THIS!

sueha says:

Dies WhatsApp have an own, characteristic ringtone on any other platform by the way?

cookgoose says:

You said, it. To many apps carry the same tone. Can't tell if is whatsapp or a weather app notification.

Flagz says:

WPCentral get on this!

raul_junior says:

Hey I have a a quick question, you know how you said that for the dev preview of gdr3 anyone can download it to the phone does that mean just 1 phone under a Microsoft account or you can for example download gdr3 now and later you won't be able to download WP 8.1 early?

sueha says:

Afaik one device per app studio account and three devices per dev account may participate at the preview. But not too sure.

Sueha is correct nd who said u wont be able to update to 8.1. . Dont worry everything will be as expected

j_jabbar says:

The more, the merrier.

blackhawk556 says:

It would be cool if we as enthusiasts can choose the sound right now instead of letting developers choose the sound for us.

mr toes says:

I would imagine the devs could possibly give us a choice of their custom sound or the default sound, that would be great :)

You will listen as you are told and you will like it

Kristijan87 says:

I was slightly disappointed to see Microsoft neglected to allow us to change the default toast notification sound for apps but THIS is even better! I just hope developers will take to it as soon as possible, creating something unique and sexy to help us determine the importance of the toast from across the room. :) Btw, that Cortana thing for WPCentar is happening, I hope?

kiddj55 says:

I hope ever dev implements this! Super handy without a notification center. But since know that's coming now let's hope for an all around better notification system with 8.1

troylytle says:

Bongos from the wpcentral video intro! Get on that, Jay!

moc426 says:

Lol jay bannett announcements

Rick Smits says:

I noticed that a "Check box" is missing from the settings in Phone Update once I updated to GDR3. It no longer tells your phone for updates.

ahmedjan87 says:

Screenshot if you may

Rick Smits says:

I'll post in the forums. Its nothing big but it is removed. Don't know if its just for the preview or not.

jiggaman135 says:

Yes its like that on my gdr3 as well att 920!

tpitts15 says:

this is of the things that drives me nuts is that every app notification makes the same noise. ready for ESPN to make theirs the 'dunana dunana' sound

tk-093 says:

Yes! This is huge for that reason alone. 

Chris_Kez says:

First thing I thought of was the ESPN update jingle.

sueha says:

Lets just hope devs make ringtones that fit the other ringtones on wp8.

aerosmillie says:

Hopefully we'll see some 'App sound polls' here on wpcentral.

Nik Rolls says:

I think you'll find that the same care and quality that goes into the app will also go into the tone. So good apps will have good tones, and thoughtful developers who build apps that embody the WP experience will also put WP-esque tones in their apps.

aerosmillie says:

Where can you download notification sounds? Anybody have any good ones they can share. Sounds from movies etc

AdzyBaby says:

Look for free ringtone apps, there are plenty. They have short tones in their repository. My current text/instant message alert tone is a 1.5 second laugh from the Minions in Despicable Me.

aerosmillie says:

Using easyring&music I cant find any short tone option.

gerzhwin says:

I find a few of the tones provided via Windows Phone Insider app quite useful, but I believe most of them might be too long.

TJWINS says:

I use my old BlackBerry 7 sounds!

kurotsuki says:

As for me, I usually have collections of Games' BGM Soundtracks (specially Japanese RPG styled games). Those games usually have BGM like win battle fanfare, sleep fanfare, etc which usually pretty short (or can be shortened without wierd abrubtion halt). Games like Final Fantasy, Wild Arms, etc. I personally use sleep fanfare from Wild Arms 3rd Advance (a whistling version of the games' themes).

Jf.Vigor says:

I wanna hear birds from twitter, the official Skype sounds when I get a message, and an official groupme sound when I get a message. Like, that would make me feel very hype

lubbalots says:

Let the notification center not be a tile please. My calendar already takes up 1/3 space on top of my home screen, add to that the other medium tiles I use like photos, people, weather, Xbox, messaging, Facebook, etc.. I can't anymore space. Besides, I don't need to be looking at notifications all the time. I need it to hide. Please lets make sense Joe Bilfiori and implement a left corner slide to right to open notifications.

gerzhwin says:

For this feature it would be cool if devs could access the native sounds as well as use the ringtones folder for our individual choice. Naturally devs own tones are very welcome ;)

Dean McCrae says:

Yes, this would be an obvious way to go, to reuse the ringtones, but without a chooser API, I cannot see this happening until 8.1.

gerzhwin says:

I understand ...

SwimSwim says:

Does this mean developers could utilize this same API to allow users to set their own custom tones for the app?

Nik Rolls says:

Quite likely, yes. If you can get their tone into your app's sandbox, and it suited the requirements, then it would work.

Nik Rolls says:

YES!!! Finally. So confusing hearing the same notification sound when among a bunch of friends, no matter whose phone or whether it's Skype, WhatsApp, etc. This is a great move.

Nakazul says:

YES! Finally I get to hear my Skype toasts ... when they get through. I love this, best news out of this update.

ScubaDog says:

I did notice that you can now add a custom text tone to contacts.  I went onto AT&Ts text-to-speech generator site and created custom notifications for some of my contacts, including Facebook, Twitter, email and calendar.  Now a quaint British voice tells me exactly what's coming in and I don't have to even look at the screen.

Jf.Vigor says:

What is this text to speech, you speak of?

Awesome, now just to record some custom sounds, using the apps name! "Notification from WhatsApp"

Geovanni J says:

To much complain about notification center. If you set a different tone for every app in your phone, how you remember what app is when you phone make the sound???

uopjo6 says:

Meanwhile still no Video attaching.

Yessss yessss yesssss awesome awesome, whatsapp viber Skype plzzzzz be fast with this, and plz now Microsoft video sending from gallery to third party apps API plzzzz then it will be perfect

Pratik Mehta says:

How about creating albums?

rashed_jamal says:

Windows phone is growing very fast , I love it

Dean McCrae says:

Similar reflection approach to the wide tiles in 7.8. I guess 8.1 will add the Sound property to the structs and toss away the reflection. Still, it would be nice to have a chooser for the ringtones page (like the photo chooser) to just let the user reuse the built in tones, but that could not just be done by reflection of course so maybe such a chooser will come in 8.1.

k00ksta says:


j_the_geek says:

This is awesome.
I did wonder how long it would be until custom toast notification sounds would appear. The BBC app for iOS added their breaking news tone to their notification, I thought it was a ncie touch
I think the first tone I'll add to an app is the screaming goat. That'll freak some (if any download it) users out.

david90531 says:

The WPcentral app can use this!! Please use some cool tones for ur toast notifications for next update!!

Jf.Vigor says:

I wonder who is the first dev to utilize this. I bet Rudy huyn

Antluv82 says:

This is a request.....please bring back tha old FB but u can still keep this one for a choice. But I like tha old FB

Stu77 says:

Goal Centre in the store now supports the custom toast sounds :)