Why the Eff Are Ringtones So Effing Impossible to Get?

Categories: Tech

So elusive.
It's safe to say I'm not the most tech-savvy guy around. A new iPhone coming out means as little to me as a new Keith Urban album.

It's not a "get off my lawn" thing, it's just that tech stuff, to me, is too close to math. And I hate math. And if it's not too math-y, it's filled with detailed instructions that make my eyes glaze over.

I thought I wasn't a complete waif, but shee-it: I tried to do what appears to be the simplest thing ever, and it turned into a bloody multi-hour ordeal.

Ringtones. Everyone has them, right? One for your BFF, one for your significant other, one for the person your significant other needn't know about, etc., etc. Couldn't be easier, apparently.

I learned differently, and our resident tech wizard, Jeff Balke, is here to explain why (in italics.)

It began with a passing thought. For some reason the old Todd Rundgren classic "We Gotta Get You A Woman" popped into my head, and I thought the opening line -- "Leroy boy, is that you?" -- would make a good ringtone.

Good choice, Rich!

My wife steered me to some program she uses to put in ringtones. It let you enter a url for a song -- or at least it seemed to -- but it wouldn't load. Not to mention that it eventually caused me to sign up for a $9.99-per-month service I had to cancel, which involved two utterly fruitful non-answered calls to a customer service line (once it cut off midway through the lengthy process; another time it just rang and rang).

No ringtones, but you never pocket-dialed
First rule of thumb: NEVER sign up for a service unless you are absolutely certain you know what it is and why. We know someone who once had to have a credit card canceled just to get some Web site allegedly providing the videos of young ladies' first sexual encounters with other women, which he believes was a total ripoff anyway, to stop billing him. Ahem.

Some googling led to another service, which also didn't work.

I then visited this site, which provided the single most incorrect use of the sentence "Luckily, it couldn't be easier to install ringtones on your HTC EVO 4G."

Me and instructions don't get along. If cooking something has more than three steps to it, I'm outta there. (And two of those instructions would be a) put in oven and b) remove from oven.)

So "easy" didn't exactly come to mind as I pondered the procedure suggested:

Once you have some great ringtones on your computer, you're ready to go:

1. Ensure your microSD card is in your HTC EVO 4G, then connect it to your computer using the supplied USB cable
1. If your HTC EVO 4G does not mount automatically, touch the USB icon that appears in the menu bar at the top of the display, drag it down to expose the Android Notification Pane, then tap on USB Connected and select Mount (or Disk Drive)
2. Using a file explorer on your computer, navigate to the root folder (the main directory) of the memory card in your HTC EVO 4G
3. Create a new folder called ringtones (some devices require a lowercase "r" so please name the new folder exactly as specified)
4. Now, simply copy all of the MP3 ringtones you want on your HTC EVO 4G into the new ringtones folder

That's it! You can now unmount your HTC EVO 4G and your ringtones will become available as options when changing your ringtone.

1. To set one of your new MP3s as your ringtone:
2. From the home screen, tap Menu then Settings
3. Tap Sound, then Phone ringtone
4. Scroll to the ringtone you want, select it and then tap OK


"Enjoy"? I didn't get past "your microSD card." I'm sure the rest of it was highly simple and enjoyable, but it's techno-Greek algebra to me.

This is a classic example of an engineer (or at least someone intimately familiar with the device/software) writing the instructions. The very first instruction has a sub head that includes the word "mount," which non-tech people probably don't know. That's a bad sign right from the get go.

Step 2 has "use a file explorer," which assumes the user even knows what that means and many of them will not. It goes on from there explaining how you copy MP3s to the folder, but there is no instruction on how to edit them down to reasonable size, which I'll get to in a moment. In short, this is a cluster-you-know-what of an instructional.

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MYXER.COM make your own ringtone from a song on your computer and send it by text message. easy


And I thought it was just me.

Mrs. R. Connelly
Mrs. R. Connelly

Full disclosure:  This was written by a guy who has written instructions on how to make a baked potato.


You are missing out on 2 really great things in this life - KEITH URBAN and the iphone, both of which I adore.


Click on 90% of the links you'll get when you Google "ringtones" and you will acquire the latest and nastiest computer virus dose.


J. F. Lehmans
J. F. Lehmans

There are ringtone sites that are underground that offer ringtones but they get bought out by the pay for ringtones. The best way is to down load an app and handle it that way. Its plenty in this day of "if you don't have ringtones, then your 6 mos or younger".


but, but, but I'm ENTITLED to ring tones! the world OWES me ring tones! 

oh wait, this wasn't satirical?

hmmm. then it's just sad.

Javier Rivera
Javier Rivera

That 'text message' they send can easily be more expensive than the ringtone itself.So better use ringer.org


Didn't come off as entitled at all, Sally.

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