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I have a .M4A file on my Mac that is like a second long. I want it to play when people text me. How can I add it to my iPhone as an alert tone?

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To make a custom ringtone or text-tone:

  1. Open clip/song/sound using iTunes. Use the Song Info options panel to trim the start and stop time if you would like.
  2. Select the song in iTunes and go to File -> Convert -> Create AAC Version
  3. Right click on the new version and select Show in Finder
  4. Change the extension from .m4a to .m4r
  5. Delete the song from your library. Make sure to not let iTunes move the original version to the trash.
  6. Double click on the .m4r version of the song. It will appear in your ringtone section.
  7. Change your song's start and stop times if you need to reset them to normal.

Since you already have an .m4a, you should be able to make a new copy and change the extension to .m4r and open it in iTunes.

edit It's important to note that to find the Tones section your phone should be connected to iTunes, then go to the overview of your phone, and select the Tones section from the left panel. The Tones section will generally not show up in your normal library.

  • I double click on the .m4r and it opens iTunes but not the file and the file is not in iTunes. Thoughts? – Walrus the Cat Oct 23 '18 at 17:44
  • This is normal. You'll have to navigate to the Tones section of your library and find it. It won't autoplay or autoselect like opening a normal song would. – Unassuming Guy Oct 23 '18 at 19:54
  • i don't see that section (iTunes 12.9)?: postimg.cc/jwLHZKfW – Walrus the Cat Oct 24 '18 at 21:16
  • I believe the tones section doesn't appear until you have at least 1 ringtone. Try the Music dropdown menu and see if it appears there. I imported a ringtone in the most recent iTunes. – Unassuming Guy Oct 24 '18 at 21:19
  • ok i bought a ringtone with my iphone and i get a Tones menu item under the iPhone in iTunes on my Mac but not under the Mac's iTunes library. when i delete the .m4a from the Library and then double click on the .m4r iTunes opens but there is no ringtone on either the Mac's or iPhones library. can you see which step is being implemented incorrectly? – Walrus the Cat Oct 24 '18 at 21:54
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Use this link for all extensions except .m4a (if the extension is already .m4a, then proceed to the next step): https://audio.online-convert.com/convert-to-aac

After converting the file to AAC (extension .m4a), change the extension to .m4r

Then use iTunes to import it to your device.

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