Changing your mobile ringtone is one of the best ways to personalize your phone, but many people don’t bother to swap out the default ringtone on their devices. How many times have you heard the default iPhone ringtone in public and mistakenly thought it was yours?
Thankfully, you have thousands of free possibilities for downloading a new and better ringtone.
Today we’re going to focus on the best ringtones that sound like actual phones. Whether you’re going for a vintage effect or want to mimic a ringtone from TV, these will do the job.
1. Universal Hollywood Phone Ring
You probably recognize this tone from a plethora of old TV shows. Classics like Leave it to Beaver and Magnum P.I., along with movies like Ghostbusters, used this as the ringtone for phones on screen. It’s recognizable and functional.
2. Classic UK Phone Ring
If you prefer a European flavor to your classic ringtones, try this double-tone ring. It sounds a little classier than the standard ring.
3. High-Pitched Retro Ring
Looking for a can’t-miss vintage telephone tone? This loud ringtone will pierce the ears of anyone nearby.
4. General Retro Ring
This one doesn’t have a particular phone or era attached to it, but features that classic phone sound nonetheless.
5. Austin Powers / Our Man Flint Phone Ring
Somebody here has an Austin powers ringtone. Uh yeah sign me up for that
— Noah Mullin (@nuna144) April 10, 2017
Want to blend in as a pseudo-secret agent? Here’s the ringtone that Austin Powers answers to.
Interestingly, this originally came from the 1966 movie Our Man Flint, which had a similar vibe.
6. 24’s CTU Ringtone
In the show 24, protagonist Jack Bauer works for the Counter-Terrorist Unit, or CTU. The phones ring a lot in this series, and when they do, you hear this sound.
7. Jurassic Park 3 Satellite Ringtone
Who ever thought a ringtone could be scary? In Jurassic Park 3, one of the dinosaurs swallows a cell phone. Later on, the protagonists are scared silly when they turn around and hear the phone ringing—inside the dino’s body.
You might send a few people running when they hear this one!
8. Geico Boss’s Ring a Ding Dong
Geico is the king of fun commercials, and one of the company’s older spots features a great ringtone. The gecko’s boss shows off his boring ringtone of a guy talking about how great Geico is, then his phone breaks out with a hoppin’ beat.
It makes a great ringtone even today.
9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop’s Ringtone
2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop isn’t the funniest movie you’ll ever see, but it does contain a few laughs. In the film, Paul Blart buys a cell phone but doesn’t know how to change the ringtone.
It results in Rasheeda’s “My Bubble Gum” playing whenever he gets a call, which amusingly clashes with his straight-edge good guy vibe.
10. Nokia Tone
We end with perhaps the most classic mobile ringtone of all. For many people, a Nokia phone was their first cell phone. Thus, this short tone alerted thousands to their first on-the-go phone call. That’s pretty neat!
Nokia has released several renditions of this, including a piano and dubstep mix, but the original beep-boop reigns supreme.
More Retro Ringtones
If you haven’t found the classic phone tone you’re looking for in the list above, don’t fret. Beepzoid’s vintage phone ringtones page has over 60 ringtones for your retro pleasure.
Unfortunately, these have generic labels (like “Ringtone #23”) and thus it’s hard to decipher the exact phones they’re emulating. We recommend you take a browse and find which one you like best. You might consider looking on some of the best ringtone sites , too.
How to Add Ringtones to Your Phone
Now that you’ve picked out a new retro ringtone, it’s time to put it on your phone. Start by finding your favorite above, then right-clicking it and choose Save As. Place it somewhere on your computer for safekeeping.
After that, the process differs depending on whether you use Android or iOS.
You have several ways of installing a custom ringtone on Android . The easiest way is using a service like Pushbullet to send the files from your desktop to your phone. Alternatively, if you like, you can download the ringtones directly to your phone to bypass using your desktop completely.
Once you’ve downloaded or moved them, you’ll need to use a file manager app to move the MP3s from the Downloads folder to the Ringtones folder. Anything placed in that folder will then appear in the list when you visit Settings > Sound > Ringtone. Have a look there to set your new tone!
If you don’t use Pushbullet, you can transfer files to your phone using cloud storage. Place your MP3s in Dropbox, Google Drive, or a similar service. Then use the app on your phone to export the files to your Downloads or Ringtones folder. From there, follow the same procedure as above.
Finally, to do it the old-school way, connect a USB cable from your phone to your PC. Use a File Explorer or Finder window to transfer the MP3s directly to the Ringtones folder on your phone. Then you can assign one through the Settings menu.
Unfortunately, assigning ringtones on iOS is a massive pain and requires jumping through several hoops in iTunes. We’ve written a complete guide to creating an iPhone ringtone , so check that out for the full steps.
What’s Your New Ringtone?
Lots of people have a favorite movie soundtrack or song as their ringtone. But you can stand out by using one of these retro tones instead. They aren’t for everyone, and some of the vintage phone sounds can be quite grating. But keeping them on your phone is a fun idea for when you need to step back into the past for a bit.
If you’re a fan of gaming, we’ve taken a look at the best retro game ringtones and notification sounds too.
Image Credit: Mr.Cheangchai Noojuntuk/Shutterstock
Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.