How to set up custom alerts in Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 Notifications

We’ve enjoyed the ability to set custom alerts with our Windows Phone contacts for a while now and with Windows Phone 8.1, we know have the ability to extend this customization to our app notification alerts.

While custom alerts for our contacts may be old hat for some, for those new to the Windows Phone platform all you need to do is go into your contacts and choose the edit button. You will see two options to set a custom ringtone and text tone just below their name. Customizing an alert sound for an app is just as simple.

Custom Ringtones and Text Alerts

Creating and managing your app sounds is done in your Windows Phone 8.1 settings. Just go to your settings menu and follow these steps.

  • Choose the Ringtones+Sounds option in your Settings
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Ringtone+Sounds page until you find the “Manage App Sounds” button bar.
  • You will see options to choose your Quick Action button and just below is a listing of apps that support custom alert sounds.
  • Just tap on the app to customize the alert sound.

Custom alert sound options include showing the app in the Action Center, turning on/off the notification banners, turning on/off the vibrate alert, and choosing the notification sound.

Windows Phone 8.1 Custom App Alerts

The notification options include a default setting that falls back on the app’s internal notification sound or any of the Windows Phone 8.1 native ringtones or those ringtones you have installed.

Custom alert sounds are a simple but useful feature with Windows Phone 8.1. It is a feature that not only helps you further customize your Windows Phone but also allows you to distinguish the more important alerts from those that may not be as important.

Thanks, everyone, for the tips!

Further Reading



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I want to change my text tones but I can only customize individual profiles text tones. My request might seem like an easy fix but I don't want to customize my text tone for every person that text me. Or am I missing something???

kenosando says:

Under notifications+sounds select messaging and then select the sound you want to use.

It's not there. That's the first place I looked...
I have vibrate (on & off switch)
Then a link that says "learn how to add more"
Play sounds for check list
And finally manage app sounds...

GhostITMG says:

It's been moved.  At the bottom of "ringtones+sounds" is the button for "manage app sounds".  Click that, then scroll down to the Messaging app.

Found it - thanks man. I was honestly thinking hard reset lol

walter1832 says:

I love that chocolatey drink!!

AndrewakaMJ says:

Does anyone know how to get notifications for email folders that are pinned separately?

DaveGx says:

You cant as far as I can tell. It would be nice though. MS really seems to over look little things like this

techygeek82 says:

I miss this. It would be nice if they allowed that. Doesn't even have to be custom for the folder. I'd be satisfied if the folder just took on the email alert notification sound of the mailbox it's associated with.

Wael Hasno says:

Anyone knows where to get some custom notification sounds? Can't use the same for all apps..

jmbezeau says:

I see all my mail folders (separately) in the app list for notification. Maybe you didn't receive email in all your folders since you installed 8.1. In fact, I did change notification sound for one of my email folder.

Unshou says:

Strange, I can only see my Inbox folder in teh app list for notification even though I have several folders pinned.

The frustrating thing is that I would get notifications for the other folders in WP 8.0.

Did you do anything special to see your other folders in the app list for notification?

Ya used it to get rid of annoying WhatsApp sound

menghai says:

Seems like an extra step in there. All you have to do I go to settings, then notifications and actions. Going to ringtones and sounds, then manage my apps just takes you to notifications and actions.

seq1 says:

Is there any way to change the battery charging alert? I liked the WP8 alert.

Arda Ozkal says:

Oh god No! This is great!

seq1 says:

There should be an option to change it. The new one is too low which makes it diificult to know if I have connected the plug properly.

zsolo1111 says:

For me, whatsapp, and viber is not there for some reason. I can't customize them. Any ideas?

seq1 says:

you have to wait till you get your first notification (after installing WP8.1) from the app.

chancooluk says:

You need to receive at least one notification from each app since installing 8.1 for it to appear in the list for you to customize.

casualk says:

Is there anyway to setup up reminders hourly? What I mean is I have to take a lot of medicine now days :( and I would like to set up reminders for medicine A at 12 than medicine B at 4 and so on. But what I have to do now is everytime i take a med i have to make new reminder for the next time. I want to be able to say Cortana remind me to take pill every 4 hours or every 6 hours something like that.

If this can be done already could you please help me.


DaiaX says:

Alarms app, can be done manually.

I asked cortana to 'set reminder every day' and it accepted that and asked me what was the reminder and what time. It set it up daily. If you take your medication every 4 hours you can set up 6 reminders 4 hours apart that occur daily.

casualk says:

Thanks for the help..

dov1978 says:

The new battery charging tone is much better. The old one was too loud, nothing worse than going to bed when your girlfriend is asleep and you try to quietly slip into bed then plug your phone in on the bedside drawers followed by that "doo doo dooooooo" loud tone lol

maghedo says:

What is the tone? I don't have one anymore, do you know how to bring it back?

Rem97 says:

Make sure you have 'system alerts' ticked in ringtones+sounds, it should work then.

maghedo says:

Rem, that did it!!!!

Thanks bud!!!

In the settings for notifications there is one that says phone. What exactly is that one for. As ringtone has its own setting what other notification can the phone app send.

SpaceyO says:

Missed call, maybe?

ortizang says:

Can you set a song as a ring tone?

Yes download ringtone maker from the store.

In the photo it shows a bunch of ringtone sounds (Iron Man), etc. Where can these be obtained? Purchased from the store?

Zedge is a GD app for ringtones

MarkXA says:

Has anyone managed to do the same for vibrations? In WP8.0 I got one buzz for SMS, two for an email and three for an app (Twitter, FB etc). In WP8.1 I'm getting three buzzes for any notification and can't find a way to change it.

TiLoBrown says:

I get two for contacts that have custom tones and one for people who don't.... Annoying as hell

wayn1ak says:

What's strange for me is I'm getting one vibrate for email and text messages but 3 for apps. It use to be two for emails so now I pull out my phone more often because I can't differentiate email from texts. 

mreaglejr says:

Yeah, I wish we had something to solve this in the near future!

Any chance of getting a WP central ringtone so I can customize the alert for WP central notifications. The tune that plays in the intro to videos would be good.

stoickiwi says:

What we really need is custom vibrations. I don't care about creating your own, but I hate how everything makes the same pattern in 8.1.

Arda Ozkal says:

Hard as hell to code and create a pattern manually.

wayn1ak says:

I agree. I want at least a couple options for vibrate like 2 short, 2 long, 3 short etc similar to iOS. Also, wouldn't mind having the option to make the vibration weaker or stronger like some Android phones have. Maybe Nokia could give us that option on the Lumias. 

Shawn Magm says:

I like the new features.  I use 3 email accounts, and my gmail is the only one I want to get an audible alert for.  With WP8, it was either all on or all off.  I would be getting alerts all day long.  That's one feature that I like about Android's email client is the ability to select which emails to get an alert, and set a custom ringtone.  I'm not sure if iOS has this ability to select which email to get an alert for as well as selecting a custom ringtone.

I just did it and now am not receiving notifications for WhatsApp unless I open the app.. What the hell!!

Gilda675 says:

Me too. It seems to be a problem with whatsapp.

HansTj says:

Try restarting the phone (turn off and then turn on again).

MOSJ says:

Yeah, my phone only played the custom notification after rebooting. But when I tried to set it to a .wav instead of the usual .mp3 I noticed that it doesn't work properly at all.

jleebiker says:

Can't wat for the day that you can specify a specific ringtone per email address. I've got a workaround in place right now, but I am hoping MS will include that in the future.

cybermoose89 says:

Alerts don't always come through even when set to allowed even when battery saver mode is on something needs tweaking

HansTj says:

What about custom alarm sound? When I set an alarm through Cortana, it always defaults to Nokia Clock tone. I want to be able to use custom time without having to set it up manually by opening the alarm app. That kind defeat the purpose of Cortana a little bit.

FluentPC says:

Yeah we should be able to set those settings

monigal2 says:

I really like this feature. I hope WP will be the best one day!

How come I had IM+ in Notification Center after I upgraded to WP 8.1 but it's not there anymore after I performed a hard reset? It was pretty cool having all of your unread messages in Notification Center.

Now if only we could get address book caller id(doesn't require subscription to service providers caller id)

Has anyone got any problems with the message tones cutting off half way through going off? Htc 8x on 8.1

Here's what I'm trying to figure out how... How the hell do I change my voicemail alert sound now? It's not an option I've seen since.

Sinnercrono says:

Guys Having the Same Issue How do i Change My Voicemail Tone/Notification in 8.1it was super easy in WP 8 GDR3 .. hope someone can help as its super annoying when they tout custom notifications but take away voicemail customization excuse the english