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How to make ringtones for an iPhone

Smartphone ringtones are not something people think about much — until you hear the one on your phone and want it changed, pronto. The iPhone comes stocked with a variety of ringtones, but because we tend to hear them everywhere, the sound can become tiresome and annoying. It’s good to know that there are more ringtone options than Apple’s diverse but limited selection.

Difficulty

Moderate

Duration

15 minutes

What You Need

  • iPhone

  • Apple Music or iTunes

If you’re looking for something new and unique, try creating your own original ringtones. There are no limits to the songs and sounds you can use to create an arresting ringtone, and you can even assign tones to specific people so you know by the ring who is calling you. Just keep in mind that ringtones are limited to a maximum of 30 seconds. In addition to music, you can also set audio from the Voice Memos app as custom ringtones.

Create a ringtone using Apple Music or iTunes

Whether you use iTunes or Music depends on which operating system your Mac is running. If you're using MacOS High Sierra or older — or you're on a Windows PC — then you will use iTunes. Starting with MacOS Catalina, you will use Music.

Before getting started, make sure that all your software is updated to the latest versions by checking for updates to your operating system as well as iTunes or Music. To check in MacOS High Sierra or earlier, click iTunes in the application toolbar and select Check for Updates from the resulting drop-down menu. If you’re using the latest version of Windows 10, click the Help option in the menu bar below the playback buttons, and select Check for Updates near the bottom of the resulting drop-down list.

If you are running MacOS Catalina or newer, launch the App Store app and choose Updates in the App Store toolbar. Use the Update button to download and install the newest version, if needed. Depending on how old your music is, you may have to deal with removing digital rights management (DRM) protection from your track first before using it as a ringtone. Also, make sure your chosen tune is downloaded to your Mac. A download icon next to your song means it resides in the cloud, so if it is, then click to download it to your hard drive.

The process of creating ringtones in iTunes and Music is the same, but placing those ringtones differs depending on the MacOS you are using. Even though the ringtone limit is 30 seconds, with MacOS Catalina or later, it might be best to limit the time to 29 seconds or less for the most consistent results.

Step 1: Launch Apple Music or iTunes and choose a song from your collection.

iPhone ringtones play continuously in 30-second (or less) loops, so after choosing your song, note the start and stop times for the 30-second portion you want.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 1 choose song

Step 2: Add the start and stop times.

Right-click or Control-click the song you want and select Song Info (iTunes) or Get Info in Music from the resulting drop-down list.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 2 get info

Step 3: Enter the times you want.

Click the Options tab at the top of the window. There should be fields for Start and Stop. Enter the times you want up to but not exceeding 30 seconds. Then click OK.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 3 set start time

Step 4: Create an AAC file.

Apple’s preferred audio format is AAC, a high-quality compressed sound. Both iTunes and Music let you create an AAC version of any song. Once you select and set the start and stop times, go to File > Convert > Convert to AAC Version (in iTunes) or Create AAC Version in Music. With start and stop times set, the new AAC version creates a copy of that 30-second song file. The cropped copy automatically appears in your library beneath the original song.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 4 create aac version

Step 5: Go back into the original song’s Info page and revert the start and stop times to their original settings to restore the original song length.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 5 revert original song length

Step 6: Click and drag the AAC version of your song to the desktop, or your desired save location. This will copy the file to that location.

You can now get rid of the shortened song, so feel free to delete the file. Right-click or Ctrl-click the AAC file in iTunes, and select Delete from Library from the resulting drop-down menu. Then, click the Delete File button in MacOS High Sierra or earlier (iTunes), or choose Keep File or Move to Trash in MacOS Catalina or later (Music).

how to make ringtones for iphone step 6 delete from library

Step 7: Change the extension and set the ringtone.

AAC files use the file extension .m4a. Ringtones use the .m4r extension. So you’ll need to change the extension from .m4a to .m4r in order to use the clip as a ringtone. Navigate to the desktop — or wherever you saved the file — click the file’s name, and change the extension from .m4a to .m4r. Click the Use .m4r or Yes button in the resulting alert window to confirm the change.

Step 8: Add the new .m4r file to your iPhone in iTunes.

First, connect the iPhone to your computer via its cable. Select the iPhone icon under Locations (Music) or in the upper-left corner (iTunes). In the Options section, check the box beside Manually Manage Music, Movies, and TV Shows and click Apply or Sync.

In MacOS 10.14 or earlier (Mohave), drag the .m4r file into the Tones tab located under On My Device, which will automatically sync the ringtone with your iPhone.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 8 a ringtone

Step 9: Add the new .m4r file to your iPhone in Music

First, connect the iPhone to your computer via its cable. If you're using MacOS Catalina (or newer) and don't have iTunes, open the Finder, and click your iPhone in the sidebar.

Select the General tab, check the box beside Manually Manage Music and Videos, and click Apply. Then, drag your ringtone file to the window of the General tab. That will sync your new ringtone to your phone.

how to make ringtones for iphone step 9 add the new  m4r file your

Select your new ringtone on the iPhone

Now it's time to use your new ringtone. Note that you can set the new ringtone as your text, voicemail, or email tone in addition to a notification sound for Facebook posts or tweets. You can use your new tone as the default sound for any notification or alert.

For iOS 13 and iOS 15, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone and select your ringtone from the top of the resulting list. For iOS 14, go to Settings > Sounds > Ringtone to find the new tone.

How to create a ringtone using GarageBand for iOS

If you'd rather create your ringtone directly on your iPhone, GarageBand for iOS is one way to go. Use it to trim your favorite part of a song and set it as your default ringtone. Before you get started, be sure to install the mobile GarageBand app from the App Store on an iPhone running iOS 11 or later.

Launch the GarageBand app and find the song you want to use. It's best to have the music track on your iPhone already. If you haven't already shortened it to 30 seconds, GarageBand will do that automatically, though it may not be the 30 seconds you want.

Step 1: After launching GarageBand for iOS, choose Create Song.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 1

Step 2: Choose any available instrument and tap the Tracks tab.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 2

Step 3: Tap on the project icon.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 3

Step 4: Tap the loop icon at the top-right to open your recording.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 4 copy

Step 5: Choose the Music tab and find your song.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 5 copy

Step 6: Long-press on your chosen song to open it in the project menu.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 7

Step 7: It will automatically land on the second track.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 8

Step 8: Tap on this track and drag the ends to trim the audio down to 30 seconds. You can play it back using the green play icon at the top.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 9

Step 9: Tap on the downward arrow icon at the top-left and select My Songs.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 10

Step 10: Your GarageBand project will show up under Recents as My Song. Long-press on it to access more options.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 11

Step 11: Scroll down and tap Share.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 12 copy

Step 12: Choose Ringtone as the format to share your song snippet.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 13

Step 13: Name the ringtone, then tap Export at the top-right of the screen.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 14

Step 14: After export, tap on Use Sound As… you can set it as your default ringtone right within GarageBand.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 15

Step 15: You can set this sound as your default ringtone or a text tone or assign the sound to a specific contact. If you just want to add it to the list of existing ringtones for future use, tap Done.

how to make ringtones for iphone gb ringtone 16

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