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How to make ringtones for iPhone (any generation)

When it comes to iPhone ringtones, “Chimes” and “Ripple” will only get you so far. Discerning iPhone users need a ringtone that suits them, and what better choice than a song they love? Of course, nobody wants to pay for ringtones, and while there are several apps that offer to help users create their own ringtones, what many people might not know is that you can do this entirely with iTunes. The process can be a bit circuitous in that it requires you copy files and change extension names, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quick and easy. Below is our guide on how to make ringtones for the iPhone using iTunes, whether you want to hear a mournful jazz number or the latest hit when people call.

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Choosing your song and creating an AAC version

Step 1: Open and update iTunes

To begin, launch iTunes in Windows or Mac OS X and ensure you’re using the latest version of iTunes — currently 12.3.3 — before you continue. To do so using Mac OS X, click iTunes in the main application toolbar and select Check for Updates from the resulting drop-down menu. If using Windows, click the Help option housed in the Menu Bar below the playback buttons, and select Check for Updates near the bottom of the resulting drop-down list.

itune check for updates 2

If the Menu Bar isn’t visible already, click the main toolbar in the upper-left corner of the main iTunes window and select Show Menu Bar.

itunes show menu bar

Step 2: Choose a song

Choose the song you’d like to use for your new iPhone ringtone. Keep in mind that iPhone ringtones continually run in 30-second (or less) loops, so don’t pick something that you are going to regret later. Once you’ve chosen the appropriate song, memorize or jot down the start and stop times for the desired, 30-second portion of the song you wish to be your ringtone.

Step 3: Insert the start and stop times

One of the lesser known features of iTunes is the software’s ability to “crop” songs and videos, which allows you to choose specific times for them to stop and end. This is how we will select a portion of a song to use as a ringtone. First, right-click or ctrl-click the song you want and select Get Info from the resulting drop-down list.

ringtone pic 1

Afterward, click the Options tab at the top of the window. There should be fields for Start and Stop. Enter the times you want. Remember that ringtones max out at 30 seconds, so keep it at or below that length. For our purposes, we’ll use a segment from 0:14 to 0:42 in the song. Once done, click OK.

itune get info

Step 4: Create AAC version

AAC is an audio format that Apple prefers to use for its devices; essentially, it achieves the same sound quality as MP3 while using less storage space. iTunes gives users the option to create AAC versions of any songs they choose, which is a nice tool for conserving hard drive space and creating a ringtone. Once you’ve set the start and stop times, right-click or ctrl-click the same song again and select Create AAC Version. Because we have altered the start and stop times for the song, this will create a copy of that specific section of the song. The copy will then automaitcally appear in your iTunes library directly beneath the original song.

ringtone create aac

Step 5: Copy the file & delete the old one

Click the new AAC version of the song once created, and drag it to the desktop or your desired save location. This will copy the file to that location.

itunes copying file

At this point, you probably no longer need the shortened song. Unless for some reason you want to keep a 30-second snippet, you might as well delete the file to clear up any unnecessary clutter. Right-click or ctrl-click the AAC file in iTunes and select Delete from the resulting drop-down menu. Click the Delete File button, if prompted.

ringtone pic 5
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