Customize your ringtone on your iPhone!

Have you ever wondered how you could customize your own ringtones to be played on your iPhone? Or got too sick of the standard ringtones available? I managed to remember the few easy steps to creating / customizing your own ringtone for my iPhone, taught to me by my friend before he left for Australia. And I’ve heard people complaining about how they can’t set a particular song for their ringtone like how Nokia and other phones allow it…


So here’s how…


Disclaimer: The below tutorial works on Apple’s Leopard / Snow Leopard Operating System. I’m not too sure if it works on Windows as well, but I figure it should – just follow the equivalent steps of what the controls are on Windows compared to a Mac and you should be there!

Step 1: Check your System Requirements

Make sure your iTunes is updated to the latest version – 10.0.1 (22). If you’re not sure what is your version of iTunes, you can always click on Software Update on your Apple taskbar at the top of your screen to update your iTunes. Alternatively, you can download the latest iTunes at the iTunes Store.


Step 2: Select your Song (Shortened Version)

Of course, you can’t expect a ringtone to last for 3 or 4 minutes like a normal song does. So, re-cut your song and shorten it to around 20 seconds, the usual timing a phone will ring before it starts a new ringtone cycle. There are several applications you can use to cut your songs, like GarageBand (which should come standard on all MacBooks now), Audacity, ProTools (if you have it)…


Once you’re done cutting your song, save it as a normal mp3 format and import it into your playlist on iTunes.

It should appear on your main music playlist now… For example, I’ve used the song ‘Shine on Me’ as my ringtone – and used Audacity to cut it to 19 seconds, where the introduction ends…


Step 3: Create AAC Format and Copy to Desktop

Select the newly created mp3 in your music play list, head to the ‘Advanced’ tab, and click Create AAC version. AAC version is Apple’s proprietary system for encoding music files, producing more compact music files with almost the equivalent sound quality. But of course, let’s not focus on the technicalities here – our main focus is to be able to re-format the entire music ringtone selected.

Select your mp3 ringtone, head to ‘Advanced’ tab and create an AAC version of it.


Next, copy it to your desktop – simple as normal Mac functions, right click –> Show in Finder –> Command C –> head to desktop –> Command V and tadah… Ok for those who doesn’t know, here are the graphics…

Select your mp3 ringtone and view it in Finder mode (right click –> Show in Finder)

In your Finder window, select ‘Copy (Ringtone).mp3’ and paste it on your Desktop. You should know how to do this!


Step 4: Re-format it from mp3 to m4r format.

To reformat, select your mp3 ringtone on your desktop, hit ‘Return’ on your keyboard, and rename the extension from mp3 to m4r. You should see a pop up after that – hit Use m4r.

Change your extension from mp3 to m4r.

Click Use .m4r


Step 5: Import back to iTunes and sync your ringtone to your iPhone!

That being done, you’re almost at the end! Import your m4r formatted ringtone back to iTunes using the steps in Step 1. You should notice a ‘Ringtone’ column appearing on the left hand column of your iTunes window as shown below:

If you don’t have it, click on iTunes on your taskbar, hit Preferences and make sure the Ringtone box is checked under the General tab.

If your m4r extension ringtone is still not reflecting in the ‘Ringtones’ tab, find it in your music playlist, hit Copy and simply head to the Ringtones tab to Paste it!

*You must check to see you’ve pasted the correct format! Don’t paste the mp3 because both filenames will be the same! To check, right click on the song and hit ‘Get Info‘. The below dialogue box should show:

There you go – Kind: Ringtone


FINAL STEP: Sync it to your iPhone!

Plug in your iPhone, head to your ‘Ringtones‘ tab in your iPhone folder, check the ‘Sync Ringtones’ box and sync your phone! That’s it!



Your new ringtone should show up under Settings –> Sounds –> Ringtone –>



And you’re good to go!


Hope it helps (:


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