Custom ringtones and system sounds

Updated: October 15, 2009

Yeah, I know. Why can't Apple make this easier? I'm sure there's some el cheapo program out there that would simplify all this for a dollar or two, but I'm going to show you the free method. Got a minute or two?





I am going to demonstrate three methods for putting custom ringtones onto your iPhone, using iTunes version 9.0.1. Apple loves to update iTunes a lot, so if you are using a newer version don't worry, It's all basically the same regardless of version.
  • Method 1: Using an .mp3 (MPEG) or .m4a (AAC) file, already edited to the proper length.
  • Method 2: Using a non-DRM music file, and selecting a portion of it to use (not very precise). If you don't have any non-DRM music, I'll tell you how to remove this with iTunes.
  • Method 3: Using GarageBand to make a new ringtone.
If you like Method 2, but want a more precise technique which can give you a cleaner edit, then read this tutorial.

I will also show you how to replace the system sounds. These are things like the unlock sound, the new voicemail sound, et cetera.



Method 1: Using an .mp3 (MPEG) or .m4a (AAC) edited file

Let's say you have a sound effect file or a piece of music that is already edited to the proper length. Here is how you make it into a ringtone.

Find your file...

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Then drag it into the iTunes library. The file will be placed into your Music directory.

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Right click this file, and select Create AAC Version. Yes, I see the Create Ringtone... option just below this, it won't work. That option is only for purchases made from the iTunes store.

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Note: If you do not see Create AAC Version, then click on iTunes, then Preferences, and you will see this screen. Click the Import Settings... button.

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Then select AAC Encoder, in the Import Using drop down box. There are also many other formats you can select here.

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You'll now have an .mp3 (MPEG), and .m4a (AAC) version of your file.

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Now drag the AAC file out of iTunes and on to your desktop.

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Now click on the file name so that it is editable.

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Change the a to an r, and hit return.

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Click .m4r at this pop up message.

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You should now have this on your desktop.

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Delete both the AAC and MPEG versions of your file that are still in iTunes. Highlight them, then press the delete key. Click Remove, then click Move to Trash.

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Now drag the .m4r on your desktop into iTunes.

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It will be placed into your ringtones folder automatically.

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Go to your Ringtones tab, and make sure you select to sync your ringtones, then click Apply.

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The ringtone is placed in the Custom section.

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Method 2: Using a non-DRM music file, and selecting a portion of it to use.

Launch iTunes and select a non-DRM song to use. Right click the song and select Get Info.

Note: If you purchased music on iTunes, you can remove the DRM by peforming the following: burn a playlist of DRM protected songs to CD. Import the songs from the CD into your iTunes library. Convert these files to AAC format. You can change your sound format import settings by going into iTunes preferences, and clicking the Import Settings... button in the General tab, then select AAC Encoder. Of course iTunes currently is DRM free, but just in case you had old some old purchases.

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Go to the Options tab and specify the start and stop time for your ringtone. Click OK.

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Right click the song name again, and select Create AAC Version. Yes, I see the Create Ringtone... option just below this, it won't work. This is only for iTunes purchases.

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You will now see a second instance of the song you selected. Notice that it is only 30 seconds long (or however long you selected).

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Drag the duplicate of the song out of iTunes.

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Click the file name so that it becomes editable.

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Change the a to an r, and press return.

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Click .m4r at this pop up message.

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Delete the 30 second AAC file that you just made in iTunes. It will conflict with trying to add the .m4r file. Then drag the .m4r file into the iTunes Library

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It will be placed into your ringtones folder automatically.

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Go to your Ringtones tab, and make sure you select to sync your ringtones, then click Apply.

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The ringtone is placed in the Custom section.

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Don't forget to go back to your original song, and erase the custom start and stop times so it will play normally. If you don't remember the stop time, you can just clear the entry field, and uncheck the box, then click OK.

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Method 3: Using GarageBand to make a new ringtone.

Apple has also provided a way to create ringtones via GarageBand. Launch GarageBand and select iPhone Ringtone. Then select either Example Ringtone, Loops, or Voice, and click Choose.

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Name your project, pick your options, and click Create.

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A default loop opened up. The sky is the limit in GarageBand.

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When you are done with your composition, click Share, then select Send Ringtone to iTunes.

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In about a minute, your ringtone will be saved, and sent to iTunes.

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Now go to the Ringtones tab, select your ringtone and click Sync.

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The ringtone will be placed in the Custom section of your ringtones menu.

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If you would also like to replace system sounds here's how


Attention

I will be using Fugu to upload the files in this portion of the tutorial. These instructions can be applied to any files you want to add to your iPhone, provided you already have SSH installed. If you have not installed OpenSSH, or used Fugu before, then you must read this tutorial first.

The method described below is changing the system file directly. You would need to change it each time manually to switch sounds. It would be far easier to use WinterBoard to change your system sounds. To learn how to do this with WinterBoard, click here.

These instructions were contributed by "Christian" "Ksilebo", and "TkN". For the ultimate in customization, you can follow these steps to change your system sounds for new mail, new sms, new voicemail, et cetera. Remember you will be updating the system sounds, you can always restore them with a full restore if you don't back up the original files prior to overwriting them.

These are the audio files in the /System/Library/Audio/UISounds folder on 3.0 firmware:

alarm.caf
beep-beep.caf - is the sound played when docking the iPhone.
begin_record.caf
begin_video_record.caf
ct-busy.caf
ct-call-waiting.caf
ct-congestion.caf
ct-error.caf
ct-keytone2.caf
ct-path-ack.caf
dtmf-0.caf - is the sound played when pressing 0 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-1.caf - is the sound played when pressing 1 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-2.caf - is the sound played when pressing 2 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-3.caf - is the sound played when pressing 3 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-4.caf - is the sound played when pressing 4 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-5.caf - is the sound played when pressing 5 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-6.caf - is the sound played when pressing 6 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-7.caf - is the sound played when pressing 7 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-8.caf - is the sound played when pressing 8 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-9.caf - is the sound played when pressing 9 on the phone keypad.
dtmf-pound.caf - is the sound played when pressing # on the phone keypad.
dtmf-star.caf - is the sound played when pressing * on the phone keypad.
end_record.caf
end_video_record.caf
jbl_ambiguous.caf
jbl_begin.caf
jbl_cancel.caf
jbl_confirm.caf
jbl_no_match.caf
lock.caf - is the sound played when pressing the Sleep/Wake button.
long_low_short_high.caf
low_power.caf
mail-sent.caf - is the sound played when sending an email.
middle_9_short_double_low.caf
new-mail.caf - is the sound played when an email is received.
photoShutter.caf - is the sound played when taking a picture.
ReceivedMessage.caf
RingerChanged.caf
SentMessage.caf
shake.caf
short_double_high.caf
short_double_low.caf
short_low_high.caf
SIMToolkitCallDropped.caf
SIMToolkitGeneralBeep.caf
SIMToolkitNegativeACK.caf
SIMToolkitPositiveACK.caf
SIMToolkitSMS.caf
sms-received1.caf - is the sound called Tri-tone, for text message receipt.
sms-received2.caf - is the sound called Chime, for text message receipt.
sms-received3.caf - is the sound called Glass, for text message receipt.
sms-received4.caf - is the sound called Horn, for text message receipt.
sms-received5.caf - is the sound called Bell, for text message receipt.
sms-received6.caf - is the sound called Electronic, for text message receipt.
sq_alarm.caf
sq_beep-beep.caf
sq_lock.caf
sq_tock.caf
Tink.caf
Tock.caf
unlock.caf - is the sound played when you "slide to unlock".
ussd.caf
Voicemail.caf - is the sound played when you receive a voicemail message.



Choose a file on your computer that you like. Here's my example in iTunes, note it is in mp3 format already.

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The first step is converting your file to aiff format. Click iTunes, Preferences, and then the General tab. Click the Import Settings... button.

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At the next screen make sure you select AIFF Encoder from the Import Using drop down box. Click OK. You may want to switch this back when you are done, just be aware that this is how you change file formats with iTunes.

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Now when you go back to iTunes and right click your file and select Create AIFF Version. Yes, I see the Create Ringtone... option just below this, it won't work.

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The conversion will be made and the sound will be placed in your library. So now I have an mp3 and an aiff version.

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I then dragged the aiff file out of iTunes to my desktop.

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Now click the file name so it becomes editable.

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Change the aif extension to caf.

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You'll be prompted to confirm the extension change. Click "Use .caf".

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There is the properly formatted .caf. Now you need to name the file the same thing as the file on the iPhone you want to replace. In my case I want to change the unlock.caf file with my own. So I renamed it.

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Using Fugu navigate to the location of your new audio file and the /System/Library/Audio/UISounds folder.

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I would rename the original unlock.caf file to something else, before dragging your new unlock.caf file into this folder. That way you can always go back to the original sound. You will need to reboot the iPhone for the change to take effect, or respring the iPhone.







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