How to Fix Android Messages Having No Notification Sound

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    Date Posted:
    Aug. 25, 2020
    Last Updated:
    Aug. 22, 2021
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This guide is specifically for Google’s “Messages” app ( – this is the default / stock messages app that comes with many new Android phones, including the newest Pixel 4A model. However, some of the advice about generic notifications settings is applicable to all apps and Android in general. Especially for apps that have their own notification controls.

The Issue

The problem is pretty straightforward.

After getting a brand new phone (Pixel 4a, with Android 10), incoming text messages / SMS no longer triggered an audible notification sound. Even after tweaking global notifications settings and setting ringer volume to maximum, no text messages could trigger an audio alert. There would be a visual notification shown, but no sound.

Searching across the internet, it is clear this is not an isolated incident. At first, I was going to blame myself, but when the same exact thing happened to some one else I knew, I realized there is a clear issue at hand.

The Fix

After tweaking every setting I could find related to notifications, I finally found the solution in a menu buried several layers deep. Turns out that Messages has its own notifications settings that override global settings, and for some reason, the notification sound was set to none! Setting it to any other sound option fixed it.

There are a few ways to get to this buried setting.

  1. Open the “Messages” App
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper right to open the menu, then select Settings
  3. Tap the Notifications menu option
  4. Tap the Incoming messages menu option
  5. Make sure the setting on this page is set to “Alerting” and not “Silent”. Now look towards the bottom of the screen and tap the Advanced label to expand the advanced sub menu
  6. In advanced sub menu, look for the Sound option. If it is set to None, then this is definitely your issue!
  7. Tap the Sound option and select one of your ringtones / notification; this will be the sound that plays when you get a new message. Make sure to hit save!
  8. You are done! Try to test it by having someone send you a text message. Or use a site like this one to test it.

Alternatively, you can get to the setting by starting a slightly different way:

  1. Long press the “Messages” app icon in your app drawer or home screen, and tap the App Info option or icon
  2. Tap the Notifications option
  3. You can now start on step 4 of the above section.

If you want to see these steps in action, below is a screen recording I made:

You can also find the video above here.

If this fix did not solve your issue, feel free to explore the “Further troubleshooting” section below.

The Culprit / Theories

Since I observed this issue happening to two different users who were both switching to new phones (with Android 10), my guess is that it has to do with Google’s protocol for device migration and setting sync (related: backup overview). My theory is something like this:

  1. User is on an older version of Android. They have their messaging app notifications set to either default notification sound, a system specific sound, or a custom sound
  2. User gets a brand new Android phone and / or upgrades to Android 10+
  3. The Android setup process tries to transfer the old setting, but the previous setting is not an option on the new phone. This could be because the ringtone file did not get transferred over, the previous user used a system level notification sound which was deprecated in Android 10, or some other reason.
  4. Rather than default to a specific notification sound, the system defaults to null / None.

If I could talk to a Google engineer, I would point out that this feels like a UX process that could be improved. I would argue that the majority of users probably want some sound set as the default, even if they can’t keep their old setting.

Further troubleshooting

If the above fix did not solve your issue, here are some further things you can try (in combination with making sure the above has been tried):

  • Make sure there is a default notification sound set:
    • Search: “default notification sound”
    • Path: Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> Notifications -> Advanced -> Default notification sound
  • Make sure “Do Not Disturb” mode (aka DND) is OFF
    • Search “do not disturb” OR “dnd”
    • Path: Settings -> Sound -> Do Not Disturb
    • You can also toggle DND through the Android pull down shade, and depending on your settings, you might also have DND configured to turn on automatically based on schedule and/or other triggers
    • If it is ON, you should see a persistent icon in the status bar that looks something like this:
      • Android's 'Do Not Disturb' (aka DND) Mode Icon in Status Bar
  • Make sure your Ring volume is not set to zero / vibrate only
    • It used to be that “ringtone” volume was separate from “notifications” volume, but starting with Android 10 (?), these have been combined into one setting: “Ring volume”. If it is set to zero or vibrate only, then no notifications will emit sound (unless there is an app-specific override?)
      • If it is set to vibrate only, you should see this icon in your status bar:
        • Android vibrate only ringtone mode icon in status bar
      • If it is set to zero and vibrate is off, you should see this icon in your status bar:
        • Android's icon for completely silent ringer, with vibration off, in status bar
    • Warning: Using the physical rocker buttons on your phone to adjust volume no longer adjusts the ring volume (starting with Android Pie?) – it adjusts the Media volume. I agree with those dissenting that this is a silly change for Android to make.
  • Make sure that you don’t have individual per-contact / conversation notifications set to silent
    • See below section

Per Contact Messages Notification Settings

Android actually lets you set the messaging notifications setting as granular as per-contact / conversation. So, for example, contact “Joshua” that texts you too many jokes that don’t need immediate attention can be set to “silent”, whereas “Boss” is set to “priority”, since you never want to miss a text from them.

Unfortunately, this is also a way that your notifications settings can get screwed up. There are a few ways to check for this, and remedy it.

If you want to check to see if any contacts have a customized messaging notification setting, navigate to Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> Conversations:

  • This screen shows you any text conversations / contacts that have a special non-default notification setting applied (or if you even opened up that panel in the past)
  • There seems to be a glitch with this settings page, at least on my device:
    • All entries show as Default settings within the list, even if they are actually set to Silent or something else, which does show up if you click through to change the setting

To fix this, and restore contacts to the default setting, you can:

  • Use the above route ( Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> Conversations) and change each entry in the list to Default
  • Within individual messaging conversations within the Messages app, you can access the notification setting for that conversation by clicking the three dots in the upper right, then Details, and finally Notifications
  • Bulk: In my research, the only bulk approach that I came across was by clearing the data for the messaging app. According to multiple comments, this will reset all the per-conversation notification settings, but not delete any messages.
    • I am slightly reluctant to recommend this, as it is something I have never tried. If you were to try this, I would strongly recommend backing up all your messages first (like in this guide).

Video Overview

This video does an excellent job of covering an exhaustive list of reasons why incoming messages might not be triggering audio alerts:

It is also uploaded here, and here.

60 thoughts on “How to Fix Android Messages Having No Notification Sound”

  1. Linda N Todd says:

    Thank you! This has been driving me crazy! You fixed my problem.

  2. Lynn Force says:

    Thank You so much for posting this. The issue of message notifications not making any sound was driving me nuts. I set and reset the settings, made sure sound was turned on, made sure notifications were on…I had no idea of what else to do. I followed your instructions and everything works fine now. Yay!! Again, thanks for the detailed info.

    1. joshuatz says:

      Glad it helped you!

  3. luma says:

    OMG, thank you! I’ve been searching for an answer to this problem and none of the others I found worked on my phone. But this one did. Yay!

  4. Vlad says:

    Fix my problem. Thanks a lot for sharing the secret.

  5. Ron Schloss says:

    I don’t have an “incoming messages” setting on my new Samsung S8 with Android 9.

    1. joshuatz says:

      This post was specifically for Android 10 (I should probably have made this more clear), and I don’t have a way to troubleshoot version 9, since I don’t own a device with that version. But I found this guide, which might help you –

  6. anonymous coward says:

    This worked great for me, thanks! It’s amazing how sometimes we need to be reminded of the simple fixes.

  7. Iris Simmons says:

    Thank you!! I have a Pixel 4a and I don’t recall when it stopped, but missing notifications for two apps in particular made me nuts. I hope they can find a way to streamline this sooner than later.

  8. Tp says:

    Thanks! Finally (!) Gotta it fixed thanks to you. I was honestly about to get rid of my damn pixel 4…

  9. Larry says:

    You saved the day…..could not find the answer until now. Thank you.

  10. J says:

    Mine still isn’t working right., but thanks anyway for this! I’ve Googled and looked at different settings and nothing has worked. I only recently bought my Pixel 4a and the text notifcation sound has never worked at all.

  11. Lodie says:

    Thank you – the solution to my problem

  12. Lorri says:

    I have an S10e and I do not have an incoming messages

  13. Laurent says:

    Thank you very much, this was driving me nuts !

  14. Chris Read says:

    Thanks. Super helpful. Too bad the Android developers can’t get their act together enough to understand good UX.

  15. Leonard B. Gow says:

    Ok until “Save”. Where is it? A532

    1. joshuatz says:

      Hi Leonard,

      It should be in the upper right corner of the screen, while selecting the new sound option. The video embedded below the steps includes this step; let me know if the video or instructions don’t match what you are seeing.

  16. Ritergeek says:

    My tone has come and gone on both a OnePlus 5T and a Pixel 4, Android 9-11. One thing that often works for me for both phone ringer and messages is to reboot the phone. Today that did not work, and neither did digging in all those settings. But somehow as I just dug one more time, without changing a thing, it kicked back in. Who the whatever knows?

  17. Philip says:

    Thank you very much indeed. This fixed the problem on my Pixel 3A (Android 11). Now I just need to discover how I lost the sounds in the first place!

  18. Robert says:

    Rats, I’ve been struggling with this for weeks, but followed this to the letter, and I’m still not even receiving pop up SMS notifications, let alone sound. Been missing a lot of texts lately. Android 11 on Pixel 3a.

  19. E G says:

    Genius! I got fooled by the Incoming Messages field having a checkbox (with a check in it), and didn’t realize that you can click on the field for more settings! Thank you very much!!

  20. Phil says:

    Perfect! Why oh why did they do this…

  21. John says:

    I’ve been battling this on my wife’s Motorola phone. Thanks very much for you help.

    Your advice got me on the right track. However, following your advice to the letter did not work for me so I added some tricks of my own …

    If a setting looks ok already, change it and then change it back. Then, when finished, reboot. It seems to have done the trick.

  22. Dallas Bergmann says:

    YES!! Thank you! I tried everything else, but your advice actually worked. THANK YOU!!!!!!

  23. Nazar Davis says:

    wish i found this when i did a search – about 3 weeks and just about ready to buy a new phone.
    further problem i had (motoe6s) all current messages were set to silent, global fixed the new messages but not the old ones, had to delete all the messages or change every message to sound.
    the only thing i can think of was an update caused my ringtone to change and notification sound to become silent – i will not be buying another motorola.

  24. Garry says:

    Wife was getting frustrated with her new Pixel 4a missing the message notification sound which she had in her previous phone (Moto 5G Plus) so this is a great help for her! Thanks so much!!!!

  25. RichT says:

    On my Moto E the problem was that my Bluetooth was on. I turned that off and waah la I can hear my incoming texts again. The phone thinks you are using a headset when on Bluetooth. Go figure!

  26. Ian says:

    Thank you! Somehow notifications got turned off and it wasn’t even showing the blue LED it used to after a text message arrived. I just couldn’t find the right place to check the setting.

  27. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, I don’t know how I changed this setting in the first place. I cleared some cache or storage just before it happened. Now can anyone help me figure out where the file of generic Android notification sounds, alarms and ringtones went? I seem to have lost all of those, had to download an app called Notification Sounds in the PlayStore to get some new ones.

  28. Cindy says:

    Thanks for your post. After getting my notification sounds to work again, I also was able to restore all my choices of sounds and alarms by using another user’s suggestion to “wipe the cache partition”. That may help someone else, so I thought I’d share it here.

  29. Julie says:

    Finally, hallelujah! Thank you! Nearly a year with no sound notifications. Would have never configured it properly without your help. Much thanks!

  30. Sue says:

    I did everything else first. Before doing the data and cache clearing. Honestly my next move was a full factory reset. I am pretty sure FB messenger was my culprit. I think it some jow corrupted the phones inate messaging app. I only had FB messenger installed for a day. I only use FB on my computer and it sucks enough time there 😂. Anyway thanks for posting all these options you saved me a few days of annoyance a full factory reset would have caused.

  31. JoJesty says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU… stupid Android idiots, deep in the menus, impossible to find. But they won’t read thjis…oh well!

  32. CHERROD COOK says:

    VERY HELPFUL!!! Thank you!

  33. Steve says:

    Thank you. Very helpful. Top class 🙂

  34. Curt Ewing says:

    I have a Nokia 5.4 Android version11. None of the suggestions work to get the message notification turned back on.

  35. Dave Edwards says:

    Fantastic advice. I did have sound notifications, albeit delayed, but once I set a different one for my AOL app, my SMS messages stopped having a sound. Unclear why that happened. I now get instant dots AND sounds. Thanks so much.

  36. Wolfie says:

    SOooo… brand new phone. Same issue. When I use “do not disturb” for any reason -my new phone won’t return to message sounds after I stop using it. Ridiculous exactly like my old phone! Nope all the things you mentioned are not the problem. It’s a lemon!

  37. Jed Johnson says:

    Thank you for your help troubleshooting this. Everything was working fine on my Pixel 4a until they forced the Android 12 update on me. I can now move onto the other issues that were created by the Android 12 update.

  38. Genius says:

    Thanks for the tips. Another potential cause I’ve found is having your bluetooth headset turned on and connected in your pocket. The phone still rings, but notifications don’t ding.

  39. CHARLOTTE says:

    Excellent information – fixed it when nothing else would! Thanks so much

  40. Myra Stuart says:

    Thank you for the perfect fix! It was driving me nuts not hearing a sound

  41. KW says:

    for android 12. i went to system/reset/reset app preferences. this make all conversation you edited in the past become default again. all conversations will have universal default notification sound. P.S. this also reset all apps location preferences, so it will ask you again when you open an app. Small price to pay.

  42. alan cooper says:

    At last, I can now hear the arrival of text messages. Top marks.

  43. Mark Lecher says:

    One troubleshooting feature you need to add:
    If you have a Bluetooth earpiece, make sure it is off.
    It was driving me crazy. Then I happened to trip into a section that stated my bluetooth was connected. I realized it had fallen out of my ear and I just picked it up and stuck it I’m my pocket without turning it off. This lack of notification was driving me crazy for two days. I had tried everything…

  44. Mike says:

    Thanks I already figured that one out by the time I got here. Now go figure why limits and no way to change. Like on message notifications. Days 2 per day. For real???? How to change that

  45. bess says:

    The tones on mom’s new phones are so ugly we thought they were ashamed and that’s why they weren’t very loud. No matter, we needed them to gain confidence and be loud. After much research and no help from the manufacturer, android forums, or any other obvious source this is the ONLY page I found with the answer that solved the problem. Very, very appreciated. Thank you a thousand times!

  46. John K says:

    all my settings are correct~! and I even went over all your suggestions! When I receive a message I have it set to vibrate and set to a sound with NO DND enabled. All that happens is I see a very fast red flash on my message icon with Zero sound and NO Vibration. I don’t want to reset my phone while saving all my data because I have certain bloatware disabled,,, such as ‘Keep notes’ and YouTube. Any suggestions? ps: I have the latest Android OS on an LG phone

  47. Brooke Clibbon says:

    After fruitlessly trying all the obvious ways to do this. nothing worked until we tried your solution – Eureka! We have SOUND! Many thanks.

  48. Michele Miller says:

    Thank you so much. This was driving me crazy and your advice fixer it immediately.

  49. MikeG says:

    This was driving me crazy, I was missing texts. Thanks!

  50. Rachel says:

    All of a sudden, my sound notifications for texts aren’t working; phone only vibrates when I get a text. I want the sound alert only, no vibration. Trying to follow your directions above, but can you update for 2022? There is no “incoming messages” menu option when you go into Messages App>Notifications menu…My sound is on, and volume is up all the way. DND is off. If I go to Apps>Messages>App Notifications, Show Notifications is on, and only options under alerts are “Allow sound and vibration” and “Deliver quietly,” no option for sound only with no vibration.

  51. Mark says:

    You are da man! Thank you, Dude. Six months with no text notifications. Finally, thanks to you, I figured it out!

  52. Beth Fiedler says:

    I just found your site and hope it will help me solve my notification problem. My phone is a basic Galaxy A01, btw. The problem is that the “silent” notification issue is intermittent. About half the time I do get the sound, the other half not. I shouldn’t have to keep my phone screen always in view to catch texts. Drives me crazy! So thanks in advance and knock on wood.

  53. AD says:

    It is Mar 2022. When I do the and connect my texts to my PC screen, I find that I cannot get them to ding anymore. Once I unpair, we are okay again. Any suggestions?

  54. Phil says:

    Has others have mentioned, when Bluetooth is on it defeats the audible notification from the phone itself. There is no setting to correct this that I have found to date. It’s a bug that existed in Android 9 and has been carried forward to my Android 11. It’s impractical for me to keep the Bluetooth turned off. I love the idea of having to move to something like an iPhone 13 which I’m sure has its own raft of problems and user interface deficiencies and bugs. I don’t see a solution at this point.

  55. Erik says:

    I must say, you certainly went through a lot of trouble to cover all the bases and provide helpful information to all of us. Thank you for your kindness and your desire to make the world a better place.

    Unfortunately, on my Motorola G Plus Android 10, these suggestions do not seem to apply. I made the mistake of trying to adjust the settings on my two identical phones, and then noticed that I was still receiving notification sounds from Google Voice, Yahoo Mail, WhatsApp Messenger, and any other app EXCEPT Google Messages. So, I went back and tried to do as you did, re-setting every imaginable setting associated with notifications, sounds, messages, etc., and still could not get the phones to produce a sound (but only for Messages). So, it seems to be a bug, that when adjusting one of those preferences, it takes you to the point of no return, and even re-setting the prefs does not allow the sounds to come back.

    Yes, I think I have checked everything on your list, and nothing sounds like anything I have not already tried. (And yes, my phone is turned on, volume is up, I have re-started the phone, and taken the other, rather obvious possible solutions).

    The one thing that I have NOT done is to re-install the entire operating system, nor to re-install all of my 100 apps. It seems obvious to me that that would solve the problem, but would require so many months of time that it would not be worth it. MOREOVER, I have not updated the entire Android 10 OS. HOWEVER, since Message notification sounds were working FINE on the CURRENT Android 10 OS, and updating the entire OS would amount to a mere work-around, rather than a solution to how to recover the notification sounds in the EXISTING OS. I have noticed that each new version of Android is a little more problematic than the previous version, to a point, so I would rather not upgrade until I have to, even if the security is a little better.

    Does anyone have a solution for recovering the Message notification sounds without re-installing the OS or upgrading the OS?

    So now, for nine months or so, we have no notifications for any ordinary incoming Google Message.

    And yes, by the way, just in case I am not using the correct name for the app, I mean the simple “Message” app that comes with the Android 10 OS on any new phone.

    And yes, I have updated the Message app every time an update came out.
    system-wide dark theme

  56. Ian Burgess says:

    I went right through everything on the list and nothing worked (or the settings for Android 10 didn’t exist in Android 12) until I reset the messenger app. Now it works and I didn’t lose any messages., though I did back them up first – looks like I didn’t need to, though.
    Samsung Galaxy S21 – Android 12

  57. Paul says:

    Amazing. I’ve had this issue with my last 2 phones going back well over a year. Thank you so much!

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