Copying audio tones or sound files to the Samsung Galaxy S3 from the HTC Desire

Goodbye HTC Desire, your (2.2) Androidness made me happy but your lack of internal memory frustrated me.

Hello Samsung Galaxy S3, I’m sure we will get along just fine, with your Android 4.0.

Or rather we would have done if you didn’t have a default selection of notifications or ring tones that sounded like they were made for children. I had got used to the ones available on the HTC and wrongly assumed that they represented some sort of base sound files that would be present in all Android implementations (should have looked at my tablet obviously).

So this left me with the question, how did I shift my audio tones from the Desire to the S3? This turned out to be a bit convoluted but you will learn something along the way.


First up, where are the audio files on the Desire. They are in /system/media/audio in 4 folders called alarms, notifications, ringtones, and UI.


But you can’t see this directory normally on your phone and nor can you see it in Mass Storage mode when you connect to a PC. But using the app ASTRO, a file manager, you can not only see the directory but copy it to a directory on your SD card so that you can copy it off. Except that the SD card is disabled when you go into Mass Storage mode… so you need to copy it to somewhere in the onboard flash. I just used the tmp folder. From here you can copy it to your PC and that is part 1 done.

The S3 uses MTP rather than Mass Storage but it works in the same sort of way, once you can get the PC to mount the S3, which in my case meant using the Samsung provided USB cable rather than my normal one. In hindsight I should have just used the Air Droid app. So much easier. Anyway, you need to copy those HTC folders into the S3 /mnt/sdcard/media/audio directory (check first you don’t have files with the same name already in the media folder). You will find that the S3 (or perhaps Android 4.0) does not support the HTC UI folder .ogg files. No matter, just copy the alarms, notifications, and ringtones folders/files.

These sounds now appear in the relevant applications. Job done.

4 thoughts on “Copying audio tones or sound files to the Samsung Galaxy S3 from the HTC Desire

  1. Bob Cocks October 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm Reply

    This didn’t work for me. Nothing shows up even though the files are there. Also the S3 has a awful memory system in that only apps over 1gb can be moved. To the external sd. Crappy!

  2. BigR October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm Reply

    Once you have copied the folders (or individual sound files) to the S3 /mnt/sdcard/media/audio they should be visible. BUT if you have a separate SDcard in the machine then /mnt/sdcard will be linked to the external card and Android may not look there for the files – use Astro or AirDroid to look around the root file system to see where else it might be picking up the audio files it displays in things like the Clock/Alarm application. That is where you will have to copy your sound files.

    I have heard that support for external SDcards might disappear in future versions of Android as the inbuilt memory increases in handsets – perhaps this is why you are seeing issues with moving applications?

  3. geluidsverhuur amsterdam February 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm Reply

    It also did not work for me.

  4. BigR February 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm Reply

    I’ve double checked my notes and I can get it to work. If it doesn’t work for you, please leave more details and I will help if I can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: