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


Reader comments

How to set up custom alerts in Windows Phone 8.1


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???

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...

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Okay I saw it mentioned a couple of times but nobody actually answered it, someone just pipes in with their opinion on the current sound. I am not concerned with what people like, I just want to know if the charging sound is able to be changed?

I see someone asked 3 months ago aout not being able to change voicemail notifications in 8.1 as we used to be able to do before the upgrade with out a response being made. It would be greatly appreciated if someone knows how to change the voicemail notification they would share the info. As it is very annoying when you're only getting a voicemail but think someone is actually calling.