This was frustrating enough that I wanted to document it, as it’s surprisingly complicated. Let’s say you have a sound file on your computer — maybe a baby laughing that you want to set for the baby’s mom’s ringtone, or something like that. Legally recorded MP3 files, let’s assume, for the purposes of demonstration.
How can you go from “file on my computer” to “ringtone for a contact on my phone” with Android Kit-Kat?
Step 1: File onto phone
The easiest way I found to get the file onto my phone was to download the Dropbox app (which I already use for getting photos off my phone and onto my computer) and uploading the file to my dropbox. Done. It’s on the phone.
Step 2: File into Ringtone
This was the part that was so bloody complicated. It’s actually simple once you know the secret. You’re going to go to the file in the dropbox app and tap the little down arrow next to it. Then click “more” in the popup, then “Export” from the menu. This means “export the file out of Dropbox’s cloud storage onto a local file in my phone where other apps can see it”, basically.
You may be asked to select an app. If so, click “Save to device”.
You probably have a screen like this:
SUPER NOT HELPFUL, GOOGLE.
Recent and Downloads seem to offer no clues:
The key is to click the menu option in the upper-right corner:
CHECK THAT BOX.
Now you have a new option:
Navigate to internal storage -> Ringtones and save it there. PROBLEM SOLVED.
Step 3: Ringtone to contact
This is also stupid complicated. Basic rule: Don’t click the phone icon. I know you go there when you want to call someone, and you can edit their number from there. Don’t do it. Even if you click “All contacts”, you’re not actually looking at your contacts, you’re in the wrong app. Just stay away from the blue phone icon.
Instead you want to open the “People” app. Why is it “People” and not “Contacts”, who knows, it used to be Contacts but now it’s People. Anyway. Then find your contact, open the menu, and click “Set ringtone”. Your file should be in the list. Voila! Ringtone set.