Face it — Chimes and Ripple are for boring people. In fact, why use any of iOS’s preset tones when you could use something more personal and infinitely cooler? Discerning iPhone owners want a ringtone that sounds good, feels good, and stands out from the crowd. After all, no-one likes being in the group of people who feverishly checks their pockets when the sound of a default ringtone plays echoes around the train carriage.
But what tune should you use instead? Well, what could be better than a song you love? After all, iTunes makes playlists of your favorite songs, so it makes sense to pick one of them as your ringtone. While there are countless services and apps queuing up to sell you ringtones, there’s really no need to pay for them if you already own a copy of the song. You can make your own ringtone for free entirely with
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The process is relatively painless, but it does involve copying files and changing the names of various extensions, so it’s not the most straightforward task in the world. But follow the steps we’re about to lay out and you’ll see it can be completed quickly and with minimal fuss. Whether you want to hear crunching guitars, classical piano, or pop beats when people call you, here’s our guide on how to make ringtones for an iPhone using
Creating a ringtone using iTunes or Music
Step 1: Open and update iTunes or Music
Start by launching
If you have MacOS Catalina, then you’ll have to dip into the Apple Music app to find your music library and you may have to look into how to remove digital rights management (DRM), the legality of which is murky.
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.
Step 2: Choose a song
Here’s the fun part — pick the song that you’d like to use as your new iPhone ringtone. Keep in mind iPhone ringtones play continuously in 30-second (or less) loops, so don’t pick something you’re likely to regret later. Once you’ve chosen the appropriate song, memorize or jot down the start and stop times for the 30-second portion you want to use.
Step 3: Add the start and stop times
One of the lesser-known features of
Then 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 of a song from 0:12 to 0:42. Once done, click OK at the bottom.
Step 4: Create an AAC version
Apple’s preferred audio format is AAC because it offers similar sound quality to an MP3, but takes up less storage space. Recent versions of
Step 5: Copy the file and delete the old one
Once created, click the AAC version of your song and drag it to the desktop or your desired save location. This will copy the file to that location.
You probably don’t need the shortened song in
Changing the extension and setting your ringtone
Step 6: Change the extension
AAC files typically use the file extension “.m4a,” which you might notice when you click on your AAC file. For ringtones, however,
When you change the extension, make sure that you don’t use an underscore “_” or any other symbol, like a hyphen, in the file name as this will prevent it from working.
If you’re using Windows you might find that you’re unable to change the file extension, at least by default. This is probably because your system is set to hide file extensions. To change this, open the Control Panel from the Start menu — you can also search for the Control Panel app in
Next, click File Explorer Options.
Now, click the View tab, uncheck the box beside Hide extensions for known file types, and click the Apply button at the bottom of the window. Now you should be able to see and edit the file extension.
Step 7: Add file to your iPhone
To add the .m4r ringtone file to your iPhone, connect your device to your computer using a lightning-to-USB cable. Then, select the iPhone icon in the upper-left corner. Go to the Summary section and scroll down to Options. Check the box beside Manually manage music and videos and click Apply. Now, drag the .m4r file into the Tones tab located under On My Device, which will automatically sync the ringtone with your iPhone.
If you’re using MacOS Catalina and don’t have
Note: If you’re having issues dragging the .m4r file to the Tones tab after you apply the changes, disconnect your iPhone and restart
Step 8: Set your ringtone
Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone and select your desired ringtone from the top of the resulting list. Keep in mind you can always set the new ringtone as your text, voicemail, or email tone in addition to your notification sound for Facebook posts and tweets. A tone is a tone as far as Apple is concerned, so you can use it as the default sound for any notification or alert. Now, you can repeat the process as necessary.
How to create a ringtone using GarageBand
You may prefer to make your ringtone in Apple’s
On your iPhone
This is easiest if you have the
- Simply open the GarageBand app and find the song you want to use. Note that if you haven’t shortened it to 30 seconds already, GarageBand can do that automatically, though it may not be the 30 seconds you want.
- Touch and hold the song, then choose Share > Ringtone.
- Name the ringtone and tap Export.
- Tap Use sound as and pick Standard Ringtone, Standard Text Tone, or Assign to Contact.
To make a ringtone from an existing track on your Mac
Next, click the microphone button under the heading Audio, then click Create.
Right-click the audio track portion of the screen and select Add audio file. Then, find the audio file you want to open and click Open.
Your ringtone will need to be 30 seconds or less, so you’ll probably need to trim the file down to a specific section. First, click the drop-down menu in the upper middle of the screen, and select either Beats & Time or Time.
Now, the tracker near the top of the screen will display the length of the track in terms of minutes and seconds.
If you move your cursor to the bottom left or right corner of the track, you will see a symbol. You can click and drag this to shorten or lengthen the track.
Use these buttons to shrink the track to the specific portion you want.
Next, click Share.
From this menu, you can either export the song to
If you choose the former, you can then follow Step 7 from the previous section. If you also have an iPhone and use
Create a track using GarageBand loops
You could also construct your own song out of the loops available in
Once again, create an Empty Project, then click and microphone button and Create.
In the upper-right corner, click the loop icon.
You can now browse available loops, dragging them over to the track field in blocks. Arrange them however you like, keeping the same loop playing over and over, maybe adding in other loops on separate tracks to create more complex songs.
Once you’ve finished, click Share, then Song to
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