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The iPhone has a very limited selection of default ringtones.

How do I create a new ringtone for my iPhone?

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12 Answers 12

up vote 36 down vote accepted
  1. If the song/sound you want to use isn't already in your iTunes library, add it to your iTunes library first.

  2. If you want to use just a part of the song/sound, right click it, select "Get Info", then "Options" tab, and enter a start and stop time there. Remember, ringtones can't be over 40 seconds!

  3. Right click the song/sound, select "Create AAC Version". If you don't have this option, go to Edit, Preferences, General tab, and click the Import Settings button. Make sure the import setting is set to "iTunes Plus" (AAC).

  4. This will create a new file in your iTunes library. Delete it from your iTunes library now, but be sure to check "keep file" in the delete dialog so the file itself isn't removed, just the library entry.

  5. Navigate to where the file was created on disk, somewhere like music\iTunes\iTunes Music\{artist}\{album}

  6. Rename the file from .m4a to .m4r

  7. Drag and drop this .m4r file into the Ringtones folder of your iTunes (or, just double-click it and iTunes will handle it automatically).

  8. Sync your iPhone. Make sure that "Sync Ringtones" is selected in the phone sync options (mine was off by default).

After syncing, you can select your new ringtone in Settings, Sounds at the Custom section at the top.

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warning: this may not work with DRMed songs you originally bought from iTunes. In the 3 songs I used, they were all from other sources, like Amazon MP3, etc. – Jeff Atwood Jul 31 '10 at 0:21
As far as Step 5 goes, there should also be an option on the right-click menu in iTunes (for example "Show in Finder" on a Mac) – Gareth Jul 31 '10 at 10:04
Yep, this doesn't work with "Protected AAC" files; iTunes refuses to "Create AAC Version" for those. Other than that, great instructions! – Jonik Oct 9 '10 at 19:26

Alternatively, if you're using a Mac, you could just fire up Garageband. Here's a quick tutorial on Lifehacker:

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+1. A better option for Mac users. Pros: 1) Possibility to adjust the volume (gain, amplitude) level somewhat ( like this ). 2) When you use the "Send Ringtone" option, GaradeBand automatically "remixes" the song so that it'll sound better on the (obviously crappy) phone speaker. This is easy to notice if you pay attention to deep bass sounds: their pitch is raised. (To avoid this, you could export as .m4a file, then rename that to .m4r as in Jeff's answer.) As for cons, "Protected AACs" won't work in GarageBand either. – Jonik Oct 9 '10 at 22:30

Honestly, on windows iRinger is one of the easiest ways. Choose an audio file select the segment you want, adjust, click "Export" and it's in iTunes

Simple and easy

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This solution requires Mac OS X, but is otherwise free:

  1. Open the audio file you want to make into a ringtone in QuickTime Player. If the file is a song in iTunes, control-click on the file and select "Show in Finder", then open QuickTime Player and drag the file from the Finder to the QuickTime Player icon in the dock.

  2. If the audio file is longer than 40 seconds, you will need to trim it down:

    1. In the menu bar, select Edit -> Trim... and the scrubber will turn into a selector for the desired start and end.

    2. Move the start and end so the selection is not more than 40 seconds. It's best to err on the side of caution and not go above 39.75 seconds.

    3. Click "Trim"

  3. From the menu bar, select File -> Export... and save as an "Audio Only" file on your desktop or other convenient location.

  4. Download MakeiPhoneRingtone from Rogue Amoeba and launch the app.

  5. Drag the file exported from QuickTime Player into the MakeiPhoneRingtone window. It will be automatically converted to the appropriate file format to be a ringtone and imported into iTunes.

I have successfully created several ringtones for my iPhone using this method.

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iPhone ringtones are just AAC songs, no longer than 40 seconds, with an M4R extension, instead of the usual M4A that iTunes uses.

You can make the ringtones using iTunes itself. Just make a copy of the song and set the start and end position so that the song doesn't run longer than 40 seconds.

There are some apps that do that for you. I have use Ringer and Ringtones, on the Mac, and both worked pretty well.

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One other option that costs $1.99 in the App Store -- iRingtones

I use it and like it. Although I wish I knew about the GarageBand method before. :-)

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The easiest solution is to get and use it to crop the tracks (as ringtones can only be up to 40 seconds long) and export it in .m4r ringtone format. is not free, but there’s a trial version.

That said, if you’re looking for a solution that doesn’t require third-party software, see your own answer.

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You can create a song in the IOS version of Garageband directly on your phone, and then export it as a ringtone which will appear in the ringtone list under Settings.

Once you have created your song by using any of the virtual instruments or importing an actual song:

  1. Go to My Songs (the top left icon), and long-press on the song your created.
  2. A Share menu will appear which contains among other options an item named Ringtone.
  3. Enter the ringtone name and save it.
  4. Go to Settings > Sounds and assign your new ringtone.

No need to pay anything, you don't need a Mac or iTunes, and you are only using free Apple software.

There is a more detailed tutorial here.

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I haven't used it recently, but in the past I've had good results with this website:

Assuming it still works with the iPhone 4, it's rather an easier process: you just upload your MP3, trim it to your liking using the flash interface, download the ringtone file, and drag it into iTunes. Good luck!

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For those of you with jailbroken iOS devices, there are at least three paid Cydia apps that can do both the ringtone conversion and adding (the adding part is not allowed for App store apps) directly on the device: AnyRing, Bridge and AudioExplorer+. (Disclosure: I am the developer of AudioExplorer+). You would of course still need to transfer the audio file to the device, but jailbroken devices also offer more ways to do this (like scp for example).

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I always use to make free ringtones for my iPhone. It's completely free and easy.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Welcome to Ask Different! Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. Please take a look at the FAQs for more info. Thank you :) – gentmatt Nov 5 '12 at 13:34

I've used this method before, and I find it very reliable. I didn't create it though, and I don't want to take credit for it (plus I don't have the required pictures to match) so here is a very useful link that you can use to learn how to make your very own ringtones, using iTunes!

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Hi, welcome to Ask Different. Your answer has a link that's potentially good but we like to encourage people to write out steps in the answer. Links can rot and you lose the information when that happens. Consider summarizing what's behind that link in your answer and you might find upvotes are more forthcoming. – Ian C. Apr 26 '12 at 19:06

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