Custom ringtones, system sounds and text tones
Updated: January 19, 2014
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I am going to demonstrate three methods for putting custom ringtones (which can also be
used as text alerts) onto your iPhone, using iTunes version 11.1.3. Apple loves to update
iTunes a lot, so if you are using a newer version don't worry, It's all basically the
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
Method 3: Using GarageBand to make a new ringtone.
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... If you have an .m4a already, you can just rename it to .m4r and skip
down a bit in this section.
Otherwise drag the .mp3 into the iTunes library. The file will be placed into your Music
Right click this file, and select Create AAC Version. In this example it says Create MP3
Version. Well I already have an MP3 version. I need it in AAC format. If you imported
an m4a it's already in AAC format.
To get the option to convert to AAC, click on the iTunes menu bar, then Preferences...,
and you will see this screen. Click the Import Settings... button.
Then select AAC Encoder, in the Import Using drop down box. Click the OK button. Then
click the OK button in the General panel.
Now when you right click the audio file you'll have an AAC option. Convert the file.
You'll now have an .mp3 (MPEG), and .m4a (AAC) version of your file.
Drag the AAC file out of iTunes and on to your desktop. Click on the file name so that it
is editable. Change the a to an r, and hit return. Click .m4r at this pop up message.
You should now have this on your desktop.
Delete both the AAC and MPEG versions of your file that are still in iTunes. If you don't
do this then you won't be able to import your .m4r file.
Drag the .m4r on your desktop into iTunes. It will be placed into your Tones tab automatically.
In the iPhone tab go to the Tones tab, click Sync Tones, and click Sync.
Your custom ringtones will be placed toward the top of the list.
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.
Right click your song and select Get Info.
Go to the Options tab and specify the start and stop time for your ringtone. Click OK.
Right click the song name again, and select Create AAC Version.
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). Drag the duplicate song out of iTunes.
Click the file name so that it becomes editable. Change the a to an r, and press return.
Click .m4r at this pop up message.
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. It will be
placed into the tones tab automatically.
Now go to the Tones tab, click Sync Tones, and click Apply.
The ringtone will be placed at the top of the list.
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.