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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Make Custom iPhone Ringtones for Free

So you bought an iPhone. You love the phone and all its features, but wish you didn't have to pay for your songs twice to get a ringtone. There are plenty of songs in your music library, but no way to make ringtones from any of them. Or is there? Actually, with a little bit of trickery (nothing illegal), you can create ringtones from any one of your non-DRM songs in your iTunes library easily and for free. This works on both Mac and Windows PCs.

*Please note: There may be differences among all the possible combinations of iTunes versions and operating system versions (see Tips for a way to work around the syncing issues).


Things You'll Need:

  • iTunes
  • Mac or Windows computer
  • Non-DRM song (i.e., one not bought from the iTunes Store)
  1. 1
    Open iTunes.
  2. 2
    Find the song that you want to make into a ringtone.
  3. 3
    Listen to the song and find the part of it you want to use. The chorus may be a good place to start.
  4. 4
    Write down the start and stop times of the clip.
  5. 5
    Right-click the song and select "Get Info."
  6. 6
    Click the "Options" tab.
  7. 7
    Type in the start time of your ringtone in the text box next to "Start Time" in the minutes:seconds (i.e., 2:01) format.
  8. 8
    Type in the end time of your ringtone in the text box next to "Stop Time." Make sure the ringtone is no more than 40 seconds long.
  9. 9
    Click "OK."
  10. 10
    Right-click your song again and select "Convert Selection to AAC." Wait for iTunes to convert your song. It will create a duplicate version.
  11. 11
    Right-click the ringtone and select "Delete."
  12. 12
    Click on the "Keep Files" button.
  13. 13
    Find the file. It's usually in your User folder under "Music > iTunes > iTunes Music" and under the band's name. It will have an extension of m4a.
  14. 14
    Replace the m4a extension of your ringtone with m4r. You can either double-click slowly to rename your file, or right-click and select "Get Info" on a Mac or "Rename" on a Windows PC.
  15. 15
    Click "Use .m4r" or the PC equivalent when the system warns you that the change may affect the use of your file.
  16. 16
    Double-click the ringtone file. ITunes will automatically add it to your ringtones folder in your iTunes Music Library.
  17. 17
    Connect your iPhone and sync your ringtones.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are having trouble syncing the ringtones to your iPhone, find the ringtone in your Ringtones folder and change the extension back to .m4a; then attempt to sync again.
  • Instead of deleting it, you can also drag the newly converted ringtone to your desktop from iTunes and follow the rest of the steps.
  • There may be some problems with the latest version of Leopard; renaming the file may not work properly, and you won't be able to add it to the Ringtones folder.
  • This will not work with songs bought at the iTunes store or that have DRM (copy protection). Your best bet is to use a song that you have imported from a CD.


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