Just got a new Nexus 5X and set it up last weekend. To my surprise, all the notification sounds I was using on my Nexus 5 had changed even though they had the same name. I started googling around to see how to transfer them and didn’t find any single article on how to do so, so I decided to take upon myself to provide some instructions. I also promise that you won’t need to root your device or do anything that requires more geek brain cells than you currently have.

Before you start, here is what you will need:

  1. A Nexus 5X connected over wifi or data
  2. A Nexus 5 connected over wifi or data
  3. A dropbox account (note that Google drive or others could do) and the dropbox app installed on both phones. Login to your dropbox account on both phones. Now we use dropbox and wifi/data to transfer files on and off devices mostly for 2 reasons. 1. The Nexus 5X comes with a USB-C connector and I can’t find a USB-C to USB-A cable to be bought anywhere. All sold out or coming soon. My iMac doesn’t see my Nexus 5 when connected over USB for some reason.

And now the steps

Step 1 Getting the old files off your Nexus 5

  1. To transfer the sounds off your old Nexus 5, you need to access the /system/media/audio/notifications folder on your device. I’ve tried a few file manager apps and settled on the aptly named File Manager (not to be confused with the dozen other apps also named File Manager).
  2. Once you have File Manager installed, you need to make your way to /system/media/audio/notifications. Best way to do so is to click the little home icon at the top and then make your way to the folder.Screenshot_20151105-071240
  3. Once you are there, you will see a list of .ogg files which are the notifications sound files. Find the one that you would like to transfer. You can tap on it to hear it to confirm it is the one you want.
  4. Do a long press on it so that a little dialog comes upScreenshot_20151105-071421
  5. Select the Send option and then select “Add to Dropbox”. Select a dropbox folder and click Add.
  6. Wait a minute or so for Dropbox to do its synchronize.
  7. Go onto dropbox and rename the file to use a different name. I simply append “Old to the file name. So OldAriel.ogg for example.
  8. Migrate over to your Nexus 5X and start the dropbox app. Find the file you just put there Screenshot_20151105-074815
  9. On the right hand side, you should see a little down arrow. Tap on it
  10. Scroll (pan) down and tap the Export option and select Save to device. It should default to the Downloads folder. If not, make your way there.
  11. Tap Save
  12. Now for some reason File Manager doesn’t handle copying files to the Notifications folder properly. Likely a permission issue. You need to use this File Manager. Complete fluke I found this out actually.
  13. By default, that app presents a nice UI which doesn’t help you do much. Tap the hamburger menu at the top left and select Internal Storage
  14. Navigate to /root/sdcard/Download
  15. Find the file and do a long press on it until the list shifts to the right and the file has a checkbox beside it. Screenshot_20151105-073936
  16. Tap the dot menu at the top right and select Copy To
  17. Tap on Internal Storage
  18. Navigate to /root/sdcard/Notifications folder
  19. Tap OK. The file is now saved there.
  20. Go to your settings apps and select notifications sounds.
  21. You will now see two files with the same name. One of them is the stock notification, the other one will be the sound you just copied.
  22. Enjoy.
Nexus 5 to Nexus 5X Notification Sound Transfer