The default ringtones that comes with the iPhone are pretty basic. You can use your own piece of music as ringtone on your iPhone. All you need is the iTunes on your computer. Many iPhone users use iTunes mainly for iPhone backup and restore. But iTunes can actually do a lot more then transferring your files back and forth between PC/Mac and your iPhone/iPad/iPod. In this guide, we will show you how you can convert your music to ringtones for iPhone without any fees. For those who do not like iTunes, here is another greater alternative to make iPhone ringtones for free.
Make Ringtones from your music with iTunes on computer
iTunes 12 has changed a lot. If you are using iTunes 12.7 or later, follow below instructions to make free ringtones for iPhone. We use iTunes 12.7 for Windows on a PC, if you are using its Mac version, you may see some difference in appearance.
Step 1. Add the song to iTunes
Run iTunes on your computer. Add the song to iTunes library from File menu >> Add File to Library…., or simply drag the music file from your computer to iTunes library, iTunes will automatically put it under the Music library.
Step 2. Trim your music
As the maximum allowed length of iPhone ringtone should be less than 40 seconds. You may need to trim your source mp3 music. Right click on the music file you like to convert into iPhone ringtone.
You will see a long menu pops up. Click Song Info item from the above menu list. Once the Song Info dialogue comes up, switch to the Options tab.
You can input the music start/stop time into individual boxes. Click OK when you’re ready. If you are not sure of the starting or ending time of the music, you can use any music player to play the music, most music player should display the time when you play a song.
Step 3. Convert iPhone ringtones with iTunes
Go to the Songs library in iTunes to find the source music file you like to convert to ringtones. Click to select the song. Then click File menu, choose Convert from the drop-down menu, choose Create AAC version from the sub-menu. See below screenshot.
Wait for some time for iTunes to convert the source music from original format to AAC version in .M4A format. After that you should find a new music file in the same name but different format in your iTunes music library.
The AAC version of your music will now be generated in iTunes. iTunes does not show “Create AAC Version”? Check out the FAQs at the bottom of this article.
Step 4. Rename File Extension to Ringtone
Once the source music file is converted to AAC version, you get a .m4a file. Drag the file to any folder or location on your hard drive or simply your Desktop. Rename the .m4a file to .m4r file. For example, if it is myringtone.m4a, change it to myringtone.m4r, just to change its file extension, not the file name.
Step 5. Sync Ringtone to iPhone via iTunes
See this step-by-step guide for specific instructions: How to transfer ringtones from computer to iPhone using iTunes?
Free custom ringtone making for iPhone FAQs
- Now you should find the transferred ringtones on your iPhone. You can easily activate the new created ringtones on your iPhone. Tap on your iPhone Settings >> Sounds >> Ringtone. The newly created and added ringtone for your iPhone should be listed at the top of the page under the “Custom” section. Tap on it to activate it as your default iPhone ringtone. Check out details here: activate ringtones on iPhone.
- MP3 is a very important music type. Many iPhone users may want to convert MP3 to ringtones for iPhone if possible. And yes, you can follow instructions above to convert mp3 to ringtones.
- If you have iTunes on a computer, Mac or Windows PC, this is best way to make free ringtones. Another way to create ringtones is to download some ringtone maker app and generate ringtones on your iOS device directly. Since iTunes sync is the only way iPhone users transfer ringtones to their iOS devices. Even if you can make a ringtone on iPhone directly, you won’t be able to activate ringtone on iPhone directly. Still you need to export the ringtone from iPhone to a computer, then sync ringtone from computer to iPhone via iTunes.
- iTunes does not show “Create AAC Version”? Don’t panic! Click Edit from the top menu of iTunes, then select Preference from the drop-down menu. Once the iTunes Preferences dialogue pops up, click Import Settings… from the General tab. You will get another pop-up window, you can see the Import Using there, if AAC Encoder is not set as the default, click the drop-down menu to select the AAC Encoder, and click the OK button to save the change. See bellow screen shot. After this settings update, you should be able to right click on a music or song in iTunes, find and convert AAC version of the selected song.
- You can transfer ringtones to iPhone without iTunes using other iPhone manager tools. Check out these steps to add ringtones to iPhone without iTunes.
Update Oct 2017: this article was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated. In this update, the ringtones making using iTunes 12.7 has been added.