I might be a rarity, but I rather like Windows Phone and recently upgraded from Windows Phone 8 to a shiny new Lumia 950 running Windows Phone 10.
The Windows 10 interface on Windows phones is excellent and far better, in my ardent opinion, than either the Apple or the Android offerings. criticisms around the apps remain valid regrettably, but that’s mostly down to Microsoft’s failure to engage the marketplace properly (though Windows phones do sell 30% of the volume of Apple phones, so is not exactly insignificant). The integration with the st of the MS ecosystem outstanding and the phones are reasonably priced.
Custom Ringtones… GRRR!
However Microsoft remain far from perfect in some of their decisions and one which has been plaguing me for several weeks now has been the fact that they broke custom ring tones etc. in the last major update (The one before OS build 10.0.10586.218). The update deleted all the custom ringtones on the phone and made it surprisingly difficult to add new ones.
I thought I had tried everything, and spoken with Microsoft several times as well as perusing the Microsoft help (which is either incomplete or simply incorrect) and many forums. Although many people have struggled with this issue, solutions were few and far between
After extensive investigation and testing using two different Lumia 950s running the latest version of Windows phone 10 (OS build 10.0.10586.218) I can provide the following insight:
- Ring tones must reside in the Ringtones folder (and it seems that this folder must remain on the phone not on the SD card though I haven’t tested this extensively)
- MP3 and WMA files are supported. WAV do not seem to be usable. I haven’t tested anything else.
- The one CRITICAL requirement is that you MUST copy to the Ringtones folder from your PC over USB. Every other approach I’ve tried, including Bluetooth, download from OneDrive, copy from SD card using the Files app, etc. has failed.
- The following make NO difference whatsoever to whether the file will or won’t appear in the ring tone selection drop-down (personalisation, sounds, ringtone)
- Genre (ignore any advice about this needing to be set to a genre of ‘ringtone’)
- Sample length (ignore any advice about this needing to be set to 40 seconds or less)
- Bit rate (I had this running with bit rates from hundred and 128 to 320 kbps)
- Metadata (it seems to largely ignore all the metadata in the file header, though there is something slightly odd going on and it seems to extract the track name correctly even if it has a leading track number in either the file name all the track name)
- You cannot create folders within the Ringtones folder and use these to organise ring tones and alerts; anything within a folder is ignored.
Once you have added ringtones in this way in then select the ring tone from Personalisation, Sounds and the Ringtone drop-down; your custom sounds will be at the bottom of the list and there is no way to remove the undesirable built-in tones.
Custom notifications for texts etc.
Exactly the same rules apply for notifications, except that they are added by going into Manage App Sounds at the bottom of the Personalisation, Sounds screen. You then click on each app that provides notifications and select your notification sound. Since there is no way to tell the length of the sound you’re selecting, you may wish to change the notification sound names to something like “alert-soundname”
The Alarms App bug
My final observation is that the Alarms App ignores the sound you select through the application. However my big discovery is that you can set the alarm sound exactly the same way that you set notification sounds (see the previous paragraph). Clearly this is a bug, but it’s good to have a workaround.
This investigation has cost Microsoft one returned under warranty handset, with Amazon providing me with replacement handset no questions asked (because they provide excellent customer service). This has at least allowed me to do some diagnostics and prove that it was not a hardware issue; it is something which occurred following the latest OS upgrade, though Microsoft have been slow to admit it.
So, what we learn is that Amazon have outstanding customer service; Microsoft very nearly build great products but badly lack the attention to detail that their fruity rival used to benefit from and that they are surprisingly poor at disseminating knowledge of issues and resolutions through the community, to their support personnel or keeping their web estate updated with changes.
I hope all this helps people out there.