Blog Post

Free Custom iPhone Ringtones Using Only iTunes

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Create free ringtones for your iPhone using only iTunes and songs you already have on your computer (This method only works with songs that are DRM free. To create ringtones using DRM protected songs please use this method). This method has been tested and works with iTunes 7.7.1 and iPhone 2.0.1 firmware.

To create custom ringtones using only iTunes:

  1. Right click on the song you are going to make into a ringer and select “Get Info.”
  2. Go to the options tab and go down to the “Start Time” and “Stop Time” check boxes. Check both boxes and input the time you want your ringer to start/stop. The ringer has to be 30 seconds or less. Click OK when you’re done.
  3. Right click on your newly “clipped” song and select “Convert Selection to AAC.” The song will be re-encoded using the start and stop times determined (If your menu item does not read “Convert Selection to AAC” and reads “Convert Slection to MP3” (or some other format) please go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > Importing and change the “Import Using” drop down menu to “AAC Encoder”).
  4. After the song is done encoding navigate to your iTunes Music folder, locate your song, and drag it to your desktop. After the song is on your desktop go back to iTunes and delete the clipped version from you iTunes library (It won’t delete it from your desktop, it will only remove it from iTunes).
  5. Go back the song on your desktop and right click on your song and chose “Get info.” Go to the name and extension section and change the extension from .m4a to .m4r (or you can just change the extension right from your desktop)
  6. After the extension is changed simply double click on the file to add it to your iTunes library under the ringtones section. Sync your phone with iTunes and you’re done!

Remember to go back into iTunes and uncheck your custom start and stop times for the original version of your song.

Other Ringtone Posts

Here are a few other posts about creating ringtones for your iPhone that you might find interesting.

836 Responses to “Free Custom iPhone Ringtones Using Only iTunes”

  1. angela Stephens

    Great tip. Thank you. If only I could get it to work on my iPhone. I think I’m having sound problems in general because even the default ringtones aren’t working.

  2. If you do this, and the file doesn’t show up in your Ringtones folder, it’s because you didn’t delete the original file you made. Delete it, then try moving the m4r file in, and it should work.

  3. Bigtymer

    Why go through all this hassle when you can use iPhoneRingToneMaker or iToner. Such they cost a few bucks, but they sure save you a lot of time doing these 6 steps over and over

  4. Everything went as described up to getting the file on my desktop. However, when I did the right click on the file, there was no “Get Info” to click on in order to change the extension to m4r. I went into “properties” to attempt to change the extension but was told it was an invalid file and it would not change. What am I doing wrong? Please help. Thanks !!

    On my previous comment, it should have been m4r. Thanks

  5. Everything went as described up to getting the file on my desktop. However, when I did the right click on the file, there was no “Get Info” to click on in order to change the extension to m4a. I went into “properties” to attempt to change the extension was was told it was an invalid valid file and it would not change. What am I doing wrong? Please help. Thanks !!

  6. #16 Earl Hickey

    How many of those free apps are made by Apple?

    And don’t tell me about preloaded apps that come with Leopard or iPhone – you paid for them when you paid for your computer & operating system and or $200 & 2yr contract. Not saying it didn’t worth it – just saying as far as money making apple is worse than MS. At least MS provides lot’s of extra free tools through technet or it’s Express/Student programs.

  7. lok cheung

    whenever you need the original file of any song in your iTunes, no need to locate it yourself in the itunes music folder. just drag the song from iTunes to the desktop, and the file will be copy to. the original file in the itunes music folder, nor the song in iTunes, will not be deleted or modified.

  8. I am having trouble getting the file into the ringtones section. I got the m4r file name, but when I double click it, it just goes to my library, I can’t drag it over, and I can’t find how to get it to the ring tone section. Maybe I am just a tard, but please help.

    • Jennay

      I got all the way to where you put the ringtone on my desktop and when i right-click it, it doesnt have a “Get info” button? what should i do?!
      I really want ringtones for my Phone!

    • Kevin

      I got as far as syncing my phone and I get an error that the file cannot be found. It is in the ringtones folder for Itunes and I can play it from there but I can’t get it to the phone. Can anyone help????????

  9. This rocks. Thanks Jenny.

    RaniLT – to change the extension on your desktop you will have to first configure Windows to show the file extention (it is hidden by default). To do this follow the instructions below:

    1. Open My Computer
    2. In the menu bar, choose Tools and then choose Folder Options
    3. Click the View tab
    4. Uncheck the box for “Hide extensions for known file types”
    5. Click on “Apply to all folders”
    6. Click OK to close window

    Now you should see the file extension of every file. Simply right-click the file and choose rename to change the extension from m4a to m4r. Finally, follow the same instructions to hide the exetensions.

    Hope this helps!

  10. Freakin awesome! My friend on Windows was having a hard time creating ringtones with crappy ringtone makers. Can you believe it? An iPhone ringtone maker outputs the file as an MP3. Geez. Anyway, thanks for this.

  11. I’m surprised someone hasn’t written a simple program to do all that work for you. Wonder how long before Apple shuts that concept down. I smell a new version of iTunes coming out………….

  12. Jas_purdue

    I realized this method a few weeks ago and it has been great making ringtones in a matter of few minutes without paying extra bucks. So far, I haven’t hit any constraints in terms of how long the ringtone can be or how many can we store on iphone 3g… A very useful application indeed.!