Bluetooth in-band ringtones enabled by default on supported devices in Android Pie, but can’t be disabled
Before the official release of Android 8.0 Oreo, we learned that Google was finally going to be adding a feature that many people had asked for: Bluetooth in-band ringtone support. This is actually a feature that is part of the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile (HFP) and its entire purpose is to let your phone send its custom ringtone to the connected Bluetooth device. Once enabled, you no longer had to hear the default noise your Bluetooth device made when you had an incoming phone call. This is something that a lot of people enjoyed and they were happy to see Android had a toggle that gave the user a preference. In Android Pie, Bluetooth in-band ringtones are now enabled by default on all supported devices and can no longer be turned off by the user in Developer Options.
Since the launch of Android Pie, we have talked about a lot of new features that Google has added to their mobile operating system. A lot of these new features have been welcomed with open arms and that may have been why some of these other changes have gone unnoticed. With Android 8.0 Oreo, the new in-band ringtone feature for Bluetooth devices was tucked away in the hidden developer options menu. However, when Google ended up releasing Android 8.1 Oreo the feature was enabled by default and the toggle was renamed from “Enable in-band ringing” to “Disable in-band ringing.”
This seemed like the best of both worlds. If you wanted your ringtone to be played over your connected Bluetooth device in Android 8.1 Oreo then you didn’t have to dive into a hidden menu to enable it. But if you were not a fan of this feature then at least you could go in and toggle the feature off so the phone calls that came in would play the default noise your Bluetooth device makes. It’s clear that Google sees this feature was ready for all users which is why they’ve turned it on by default for all supported devices. Some users have complained about this change (via PiunikaWeb) as they don’t want to have their ringtone play through their Bluetooth device.
There’s no way to turn off this feature in Android Pie unless you have root access. The configuration value is false by default in AOSP but set to true via a framework overlay on supported devices. The only way to reverse this is by pushing a custom framework overlay that sets this value to false once more. Doing this requires root, however, since Google blocked the use of custom overlays without root on Android Pie.