The path to Android Enlightenment

I’ve been using Android for a year now while my wife has been using Android for 2 years. Prior to that I used Blackberry BB10.2 (and a whole list of Android apps) for a year. Prior to that I used iOS on an iPhone 4. My point is I haven’t use an Apple phone, OS or iOS app since 2013 and I can’t imagine what chain of events would transpire for me to ever go back to that locked in, tied up Apple ecosystem.

This was no more apparent to me than last night when a friend — a long time Apple fan who recently switched to Android — asked me about ringtones on Android. On iTunes, ringtones — those 30 second, legally free-to-use, fair-use sound-bites of songs — cost money. You pay for it. Likely a second time, as you’ve probably purchased a copy of the song already.

Even if you were to make your own ringtones — as I used to do in the iOS days — getting them into the right place on you phone required hooking up to the computer, connecting to iTunes, shuffling a few things around, syncing… I repeat, HOOKING YOUR DEVICE UP TO A COMPUTER.

So it was fascinating to watch my friend walk that path to enlightenment as he came to terms with how things are done in Android.

My friend asked “So how come Android doesn’t have official ringtones like iTunes does?”

“Because Zedge is awesome,” I replied, “And iOS ringtones sound like pretentious hipster jingles.”

“Does [Zedge] have like official ringtones like from Maroon 5?” he said, clearly confused by what Zedge is.

“Just drop the [Maroon 5] song in your ringtones folder,” I answered, “Boom. Done.”

He paused, “Yeah but how do I get it so it only plays the section of the song I want like the official ringtone does?”

“Open it in an editor app, like Ringdroid, chop off the 30 seconds you want.” I returned.

“I want this ringtone… [linked to mp3 file on the web].” he stated, clearly not used to the flexibility you have in Android to download files into a downloads folder.

I answered, “Put that mp3 in your ringtones folder.”

Puzzled, he said, “Can you download a file on Android?”


“How? How do I nab the mp3 from that link I sent you?” he ask. I waited for him to figure it out. Didn’t take him long to answer his own question, “Wait, I think I got it. I tapped and held on the mp3 and it said ‘Save video’, so I did.”

“Yep,” I replied, “Pretty liberating right?”

“Hell yeah!” he exclaimed, “Now how do I get it to by ringtone?”

“With a file manager, move it to your ringtones folder.”

“So I have to install a file manager on the phone?”, clearly remembering the days of managing files on iTunes through a computer.

“Probably,” I answered, “Though you might have one already. If not, get ES File Explorer from the Play Store.”

“Downloading now. I can’t believe I can do this stuff!” he exclaimed, “EPIC! File Explorer for the win! I can’t believe I just did that!”

“Ha-ha! Freedom!” I returned.

“Yeah. It almost feels wrong!”

I see this often among former Apple users, myself included. They don’t know how stuck they were, how much they were missing in their experience. Then they experience the freedom of an Android device and their mind is blown. I was the exact same way two years ago.