Use custom ringtones in Microsoft Lumia phone

I've been struggling for hours to force my Microsoft Lumia 535 to display (and allow me to select) any .mp3 file as custom ringtone. Finally, this WindowsPhone.se answer solved my problems. However, there were some side notes and differences with my Lumia 535, that are not mentioned in this article, so I decided to write following post to further extend it.

In addition to standard restrictions:

  • not DRM-protected,
  • .mp3 or .wma file,
  • no longer than 40 seconds,
  • no bigger than 1 MB,

your file also must have ringtone value set as Genre in file's ID3Tag in order to appear in Custom section of Ringtones selection in any Lumia phone.

Keep in mind, that (if you are using SD card) you must put your ringtones to Phone\Ringtones folder, even if you keep all other files (like all music) on SD card. Putting ringtones to SD Card\Ringtones won't work (they won't be available in your phone).

On certain models (like my Lumia 535) third and fourth restriction is not necessary. Files may be bigger (I tested up to 32,1 MB) and ringtones may be longer (up to 23 minutes in my case). However, without ringtone set as genre, the will not appear to be picked.

Other side notes:

  • ringtone genere must be set in ID3Tagv2, so if you have an old music player, that operates only on ID3Tagv1, then you have a problem,
  • when listed in Custom section of Settings > ringtones+sounds files will be listed by ID3Tag's Name not by filename,
  • on some old Lumias you must restart your phone to see updated ringtones list,

All restrictions mentioned in this aricle applies to all type of sound-like files for your Lumia phone, i.e. to ringtones, notification sounds and alarm sounds.

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