How to make custom iPhone ringtones in iTunes

How to make custom iPhone ringtones in iTunes

Last updated: August 17, 2018 

Apple has sold over one billion iPhones. That’s a lot of phones by any standard. With that many iPhones floating around the planet, iPhone owners rarely stand out in a crowd. A great way to distinguish yourself from other Apple customers is by deviating from the standard ringtone path. Using the default iPhone ringtone is a lazy choice, and the other canned ringtone selections are obvious and bland. If you don’t consider yourself a lazy, obvious or bland person, make custom iPhone ringtones to say so.

Making your own ringtones is easy, and requires no special skills or programming. This tutorial shows you how to make custom iPhone ringtones in iTunes from part of a song. It assumes that you already have the most current version of iTunes installed on your computer, and a cable to connect your phone to the computer.  Have a song snippet in mind and the song itself in your iTunes music library.

Step 1. Identify the start and stop times to crop

Listen to the song from which you would like to crop the ringtone. Jot down the start time and stop time for the section you want to use.

Step 2. Open Song Info and set Start Time and Stop Time

In your iTunes library, right-click on the song title and choose Song Info.

make custom iPhone ringtones

In the Song Info window, click Options. Check the Start Time and Stop Time boxes. In the Start Time input field, type the beginning time of the song section identified in Step 1.  In the Stop Time input field, type the end time of the section. When done, click OK.

make custom iPhone ringtones



Now when you play the song in iTunes, it will only play the section between the start and stop times you designated. Play the song to make sure the start and stop times match the song section you want to use as a ringtone. Modify the start and/or stop time if you didn’t get them quite right.

Step 3. Create an AAC version of the song

With the song highlighted in your library, click the File menu.  Choose Convert > Create AAC Version. A copy of the song title displays in your library with the shortened time.

make custom iPhone ringtones

Step 4. Move the file then delete it

Drag and drop the shortened AAC version of the song file from the iTunes library to your desktop. Next, right-click on the shortened AAC version of the file in your iTunes library and choose Delete from Library from the right-click menu.

make custom iPhone ringtones

Step 5. Change the file type

By default, the AAC version of the song file on your desktop has a .m4a extension. To make it a ringtone file, change the file type from .m4a to .m4r. In the Rename dialog, click Yes.

make custom iPhone ringtones

If the file type does not display, and therefore you are unable to modify it, unhide extensions for known file types. To do so, launch the Windows Control Panel. Click Appearance and Personalization > File Explorer Options. Select the View tab, and uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types box. Click Apply, then click OK to exit. Now the .m4a file extension should be visible in the file name so you can modify it.

make custom iPhone ringtones

Step 6. Add the ringtone file to your iPhone

Click the iPhone icon in iTunes.  Under Settings, click Summary and scroll down to Options. Check Manually manage music and videos, then click Apply.

make custom iPhone ringtones

Next, under On My Device, click Tones. Drag and drop the file from your desktop to the Tones pane in iTunes, then click Apply.

make custom iPhone ringtones

Step 7. Set the custom ringtone on your iPhone

On your iPhone, go to Settings > Sounds > Ringtones. Tap the new ringtone at the top of the list to set it as your new ringtone.

make custom iPhone ringtones

While the process to make custom iPhone ringtones is somewhat cumbersome at first, it becomes faster when you have been through it once. In fact, it can become quite addicting, and have unintended consequences. For example, it is inevitable that you will have to share your new skill with others once they hear your new ringtone. You may also hear songs differently. Instead of saying, “Oooo, I love this part,” you will now say, “Ahhh, this part would make a great ringtone.” Have fun creating new ringtones, and don’t forget to hydrate.

Thank you for visiting Tech Help Knowledgebase to learn how to make custom iPhone ringtones in iTunes.