Ringtones and text tones gone after updating to iOS 8.1.1? Here's the fix!

If you upgraded your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8.1.1 only to find that your ringtones or text tones had gone missing, you aren't alone. Unfortunately, this seems to be a common problem around iOS update time. However, there are a few ways you can try and get them back, and even better — something you can do to help prevent lost ringtones and text tones from ever bothering you again!

1. Sync with iTunes

The easiest solution is to sync ringtones and text tones back from iTunes. Of course, that only works if you've synced them to iTunes in the first place. However, if you normally plug your iPhone or iPad into iTunes in order to sync movies or other content, or you use iTunes to back up, your tones should be there.

  1. Plug in your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC.
  3. Click on your iPhone in the top navigation.
  4. Under the On My Device section, click on Tones.
  5. Check the box for Sync Tones.
  6. You'll get a prompt asking you to agree to removing and replacing your tones.
  7. Make sure that your tones are all in the list of tones before clicking Sync or Apply.
  8. Let iTunes sync and then check to see if your tones are back.

Ringtones and text tones gone after updating to iOS 8.1.1? Here's the fix!

Ringtones and text tones gone after updating to iOS 8.1.1? Here's the fix!

Ringtones and text tones gone after updating to iOS 8.1.1? Here's the fix!

If your tones are there again, you're good to go. If not, continue on.

2. Restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup

This particular issue doesn't seem to be caused by the tones actually being removed from your iPhone or iPad, but more of a glitch where they don't show up. Some users have reported that performing an iCloud restore seemed to bring their tones back. You'll need to back up one last time, wipe your device, and then restore from an iCloud backup. If you aren't sure how to do either of those things, you can follow our directions in the following order:

3. Don't purchase again, they may still disappear

Unfortunately ringtones and text tones aren't like tv shows, books, music, and movies. You can't simply download them again from your purchased section. A few people have that after simply trying to purchase them again, the ringtones and text tones only disappeared a few hours later again. So whatever the issue is, it's not with the actual purchase itself.

However, if you already tried to re-purchase only to find your items mysteriously disappearing again, you can request a refund through iTunes. If you don't know how, you can follow our directions:

How to prevent ringtones and text tones from getting lost again

Ringtones and text tones gone after updating to iOS 8.1.1? Here's the fix!

While iCloud backups should technically keep your ring and text tones safe from harm, bugs and glitches happen. The safest possible way to keep your ringtones safe is to simply transfer them to iTunes. This way if anything ever happens to your device, or you have to restore, you always know that your purchased tones are safe.

It's as simple as plugging your iPhone or iPad into your computer, launching iTunes, and clicking on the Back Up Now button as shown in the photo above. That's all there is to it. iTunes will import the tones so they're available in the future, should you ever need to manually re-sync them like you did in step 1.

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

18 Comments
  • Cmon Apple!! Fix your glitch-ridden update mechanism, or at least give us proper working cloud backups. Oh, and find a way to give us iTunes-free music transfers while you're at it. Everytime I launch that festering blob of santorum that's iTunes, I swear my lifespan gets shortened by 6 days. Would rather just take up smoking instead.
  • Agreed. I don't mind the idea of iTunes, meaning, I don't think simply dropping files into the iPhone is the way to go, but yeah, iTunes is a clunky piece of crap. And every year they make the interface different, sometimes more challenging, but never improve the functionality. Using a smart program for media management makes sense in order to keep certain data like resuming playback from one device to the next, but iTunes is so unstable I wanna wreck it! I keep my media on a NAS, and I have a hard time even updating my iOS apps without iTunes ruining the SMB connection and crashing. Sent from the iMore App
  • I was lucky I guess. I didn't lose my ringtones. But Personal Remote Hotspot (or whatever they call it where my iPad initiates the tethering of my iPhone) almost always fails. It sometimes works once, then after it drops its connection after 2 minutes of locked iPad it almost never can reconnect. I have to reboot the iPad.
    .
    Yesterday I airdropped a mov from my iPhone to my iPad but I cannot find it. No app opened it, I dug through iCloud Drive, it also appeared to take away from my available storage.
    .
    Point is- all these features are excellent ideas, but why are there so many problems?! Now even the basic functions like ringtones are going goofy?! WTF apple??? Sent from the iMore App
  • It is annoying having to put my ringtones back on, although it usually just happens when I get a new phone (I get all my pictures and apps when I sync it with my last iTunes back-up, but no music or ringtones).....But worse is getting a new iPhone and having thousands of emails to delete again! I have really just given up with the email on my new 6 plus- there are way over 10K emails.....
  • Time to switch to an IMAP email service. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thank you for this article. I am new to iPhone and have a forum post with this issue. I thought that it was an issue that I haven't yet discovered. Thanks again!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • just another stupid yahoo article. every time i check my phone to see if the particular problem in the article exists it never does. once i tried to do something in an article that said i could use the button on the bottom to do something cool it took me over an hour and much frustration getting my phone back working as it should again. if you are ever tempted to do anything these articles say you should be sure a) your phone has the problem the article is about and b) you'll be able to reverse the problem the article created.
  • Thanks for the tips.
  • Seriously, why aren't we yet able to redownload ringtones and text tones that were purchased?
    (Speaking of which, iPhones need more quality ringtone options.)
  • My guess would be licensing issues beyond Apple's control
  • And mine would be a complete lack of interest from Cupertino on fixing this issue. Seriously, they can negotiate licensing on the Beatles and cannot on ringtones?
  • I tried syncing them to my iTunes and when it uploads to my phone they don't have sound it only vibrates. Sucks!! This needs to get resolved ASAP!! Spending money and can't even use my Tones or ringtones.
  • I still can't get my ringtones again, if i re purchase them, will i get charge again??
  • I had the same problem, but the first solution didn't help me, because I didn't even had the checkbox there under 'Tones'. I looked up my iTunes receipt of the purchased ringtone, and clicked on report a problem in the email. On the website, I signed in with my Apple ID, clicked on report a problem next to the purchased ringtone. There, I selected 'item didn't download or cannot be found", and after I submitted, the site prompted me to start iTunes and check for available downloads (it's in the 'Store' menu). The tone downloaded, THEN I was able to turn on tone syncing, and after I did that, the ringtone synced correctly to the phone. I'm not sure that this will be permanent, but for now at least it did the trick.
  • ARRGH!! Very frustrating with the ringtones. My wife lost her favorite ringtone, I have gotten it back 2 times only to lose it for what is now a third time. It was OK on her 5S, two weeks ago she upgraded to the 6 Plus and since have lost it 3 times now. iTunes is clunking and bugging shame on you Apple and I will admit I'm an Apple "FanBoy" but not happy with iTunes.
  • I do not own a computer, so I cannot log into iTunes. Does this mean I'm screwed?
  • Thank you, this fixed my issue. Thankfully I had everything backed up and just synced, oddly enough the 2 new ringtones I bought after the 8.1 upgrade never showed up so I just logged a problem report with iTunes.
  • Very helpful - Thanks, I was able to go into my back up and get the tone, reupload it and then sync it. It's there now.