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I received an iPhone 7 from my employer. I am traditionally an Android user and have never used iPhone before. I have Linux running on my PCs at home.

How can transfer ringtones from PC to iPhone easily? I have read scattered posts about this, but most people seem to be doing this via Windows or macOS. I am using Linux Mint. I have Audacity installed on my Linux computer, and I am quite comfortable working with audio files.

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Getting ringtones onto an iPhone is one of those things that's never been as easy as you'd expect.

Might be because Apple never thought it was important. Might be because Apple also sells ringtones in the iTunes store. Whatever the reason, fact is, there aren't a lot of ways to do it.

I don't know of any Linux way of getting them on the iPhone directly.

I believe that the iOS app GarageBand is the only app on the iPhone capable of adding a custom ringtone. Therefore, if you can get your ringtone from your Linux machine onto your iPhone (perhaps by emailing it to yourself and then using the "Share" feature on the iPhone to send it to GarageBand, that might work.

GarageBand is a very large app, but it's free, so worth checking out, I'd say.

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Unfortunately, transferring audio files to an iPhone isn't an easy process and requires jumping through a few hoops. I'm going to assume that the audio you currently have is stored on your PC as an MP3, as this is the de-facto standard for audio, though the steps should be similar for other audio formats like FLAC.

The first step is to take your media file and convert is to the AAC format; this can be done with FFmpeg, which you should be able to install from your package repository, though there are also GUI tools available if you're unfamiliar with the command-line. Once this is done, the conversion can be performed by:

ffmpeg -i [file-to-convert].mp3 ringtone.aac

This will spew out some text about the file, but afterwards, you will be left with a converted audio file. However, before it can be put on your phone, you need to rename the file so that its extension is .m4r and shorten it to under 40 seconds, otherwise iTunes will not recognise it as a ringtone.

Transferring the ringtone to your phone is the more difficult part - iTunes is not officially supported on Linux and doesn't appear to work too well with Wine (though there's no harm in trying this out). Therefore, instead you may have to get access to iTunes through:

  • An old laptop or Apple desktop you might be able to run iTunes on
  • Access to Apple or Windows devices at your local library
  • A friend or colleague who would be willing to yet you borrow their device for half an hour
  • An old copy of Windows you could load up in a virtual machine

Once you do have iTunes up and running, you should be able to connect your iPhone to that device and simply drag and drop the ringtone.m4r file you created earlier onto the Tones tab under your phone on iTunes. After the file transfers, it should appear in the list of ringtones on your phone.

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    The converted file should be small enough to be able to be sent in an email to the phone, where you can save it to archives. Then you can use Garageband to use it as a loop in a song you can save as a ringtone. See quora.com/How-do-you-send-a-ringtone-to-an-iPhone – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jun 9 '19 at 11:43
  • @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen Oh, that's neat, I've never heard of doing it that way before. Does it still need the ringtone to be stored as an AAC file before transferring or does it work on MP3's? – Daniel G. Jun 9 '19 at 11:47
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You'll need a computer running iTunes desktop app to transfer custom ringtones to your iPhone. Currently, iTunes desktop app is only available for Windows and macOS.

It is not possible via any means to transfer an iPhone compatible ringtone file to your iPhone via a computer running Linux.

If you do not wish to use any of the stock ringtones built into iPhone, you can purchase one using the iTunes app installed on your iPhone.

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You don't need iTunes.

I can't stand iTunes on OSX or Windows. I've been successful running a Windows program called CopyTrans Manager (copytrans.net) that lets you add and delete music, audio books, and ringtones on your iPhone, or iPod for free. Their paid versions allow you to copy music FROM your iOS device to a computer, and other things. Upon installation, CopyTrans does ask for the location of the iTunes installer (or it will download it for you). CopyTrans doesn't install iTunes, but it extracts several necessary files and drivers from the installer to work.

Not sure if CopyTrans Manager will install via wine since it also dependent on iTunes installer, but it's worth a shot. If successful, then it's the usual drill of converting the source ringtone file. Use a program like Audacity or just command line to convert .mp3 to .m4a and then rename the .m4a file .m4r. Run CopyTrans Manager and drop the .m4r file on it and it will automatically recognize it as a ringtone. Then just sync, which only take a few seconds for a small ringtone file, and then eject the phone. Done. Select the new ringtone in iOS settings.

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