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article imageAndroid O to simplify setting your own ringtones and sounds

By James Walker     Mar 24, 2017 in Technology
Google's upcoming Android O update will finally provide an easy way to set your own ringtones and notification sounds, letting you add a new alert from settings without manually copying files. The basic feature has been missing since Android's launch.
Although Android does support customised sounds, getting them setup isn’t exactly simple. You currently have to manually copy each ringtone you want to use to one of three directories on the phone's filesystem. The exact path varies depending on whether you want to use the sound as a ringtone, alert or ringtone. They'll then show up in the corresponding menus in the settings app.
Android O will come with a built-in solution to streamline this process. As spotted by Android Police, the ringtone selection screens have been given a small but significant refresh, including an "Add ringtone" button. When you tap the link, Android's file browser opens and lets you pick a sound to assign to the alert. It's automatically copied to the right place and selected in the menu.
Many device manufacturers using customised versions of Android already include this feature in their settings apps. It's been conspicuously absent from the stock, as-Google-makes-it edition for years, a glaring omission that's only become more notable as the role of pure Android expands.
Google now sells its own smartphones and pitches them as credible rivals to Apple's iPhone, making simplicity a new focus. Increasing numbers of third-party manufacturers are also using stock Android for several reasons, including demand from users, reduced development time and the increased polish of "vanilla" releases over the past few years. The strange omissions of minor features are historically part of why phone brands developed their own Android skins.
Beyond the sounds menu, Android O comes with several major new features that will improve the core areas of the operating system. Google is introducing a new notifications system that will let developers group alerts into categories. You can then control how notifications from each category are displayed and individually block or enable alert types.
Google's also adding support for picture-in-picture playback capabilities, letting you keep a video open in a corner of the screen while you browse other apps. Additional features include enhanced keyboard navigation support, significantly improved battery life and new network connectivity options.
A developers preview version of Android O is available for download now but shouldn't be used for everyday or consumer use. The operating system is still in a very early development stage and will be expanded with more major features before its release this summer. If you currently own a stock Android phone, you're only a few more months away from on-the-fly ringtone changes that don’t involve copy-and-paste.
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