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.
- Plug in your iPhone or iPad.
- Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC.
- Click on your iPhone in the top navigation.
- Under the On My Device section, click on Tones.
- Check the box for Sync Tones.
- You'll get a prompt asking you to agree to removing and replacing your tones.
- Make sure that your tones are all in the list of tones before clicking Sync or Apply.
- Let iTunes sync and then check to see if your tones are back.
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:
- How to manually trigger an iCloud backup on iPhone or iPad
- How to wipe all your personal data off of an iPhone or iPad
- How to restore your iPhone or iPad from an iCloud backup
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
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.
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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.