iPhone: How to Create Free Ringtones

Any nonprotected audio file can be turned into a ringtone to use on your iphone for free. Here is how to create your own free ringtones for your apple phone. New updates and fixes included.

See Update at bottom for information regarding iTunes 7.4.1.

Although you can buy ringtones from iTunes, you can also make ringtones for your iphone for free. This tutorial will show you how to convert any unprotected audio file (wav, mp3, etc) into a ringtone.

1. Get access to the mp3 or wav file that you want to convert to a ringtone. In my example, I am looking for a rock drummer loop as a ringtone for my friend who is a monkey percussionist.

2. Drag the file into iTunes

3. Select the file in iTunes and then select Convert Selection to AAC in the Advanced menu.

4. Select your new AAC file and select Show in Finder in the File menu

5. In finder, select the file and select Get Info from the File menu

6. Change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r

7. Confirm when the dialog asks if you really want to make the change

8. Drag the new file back into iTunes. The original files will remain but the ringtone will disappear. (It is actually being moved to following location: ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Ringtones )

9. Connect your iPhone and select the Ringtone tab. Select the new ringtone that has been created.

10. Now sync your iphone with iTunes.

11. In your iPhone assign the ringtone to whomever you wish.


If you are having trouble, delete the original m4a files from iTunes (but do not move them to the trash) before dragging them back into iTunes again. This has fixed problems for me several times.

The file must not be copy protected so using a typical song off of itunes will not work. Also, files longer than 3 megs may not work.


iTunes 7.4.1 breaks this little hack but you can fix it again. Goto your ringtone directory (~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Ringtones ). Rename the m4r files back to m4a files and then resync. Your custom ringtones should be working again.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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143 Responses to “iPhone: How to Create Free Ringtones”

  1. October 17, 2008 at 2:02 am, holymoly said:

    In iTunes version 8, they have removed the option to ‘convert to AAC’.

    What to do now!


    • October 17, 2008 at 10:27 am, davak said:

      They haven’t removed the option to convert to AAC. You just have to have AAC selected as your Import method of choice.

      In OS X, you can find this under Preferences ->General Tab->Import Settings->Import Using AAC Encoder.


      • September 21, 2012 at 11:10 am, Tony said:

        > my file dosent say .m4a


    • November 04, 2008 at 1:44 am, Cesar M said:

      Highlight the song u want to convert by clicking on it once and head up to the toolbar and click on advanced it should show up there.


      • August 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm, Monte said:

        Not there in Windows version of iTunes v8.216. Does anyone know of a way to do this now?


        • July 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm, jose said:

          it is on my i got windows also but i have itunes 9


    • April 08, 2011 at 1:09 am, Usstack said:

      Could you not be able to save the sounds on a text message? Soeone sends something with saund and you can save it to ring tone like a regular cell phone?


  2. October 19, 2008 at 12:52 am, pooja said:

    hi….how can i file extension ..i mean from .m4a to .m4r
    tell me in detail….


    • October 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm, KB said:

      If you’re in Windows you must open the folder containing the file…

      Typically My MusiciTunesiTunes Music *THAT ARTIST* *THAT ALBUM*

      Make sure you have your folder options set to display file extensions.

      Rename .m4a to .m4r

      Cut and paste into
      My MusiciTunesRingtones

      Click on the file and drag it to your toolbar into iTunes.

      Sync and enjoy.

      The clip must be under 30 seconds to work, however.


      • November 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm, John said:

        How do you change the file type (extension) from m4a to m4r?


        • November 23, 2008 at 3:06 pm, Daniel said:

          You must find the file you want to change. At the top click on Tools >> Folder Options. Go to the View tab. Under Hidden Files and Folders uncheck the box labeled Hide Extensions for known file types. Click Ok or Apply. From there you can do the simple rename process and change it to m4r.


          • January 16, 2011 at 8:24 am, SunilChand1983 said:

            boss i got the software to convert song to iphone ringtones but i am unable to copy or say transfer it into my iphone 2g using itune…
            plz suggest me what to do

      • December 31, 2008 at 10:44 pm, Valli said:

        Thanks a lot….it works like a charm


      • February 11, 2009 at 3:13 am, Martica said:

        how I can do that in vista?


        • January 20, 2010 at 6:46 am, Anonymous said:

          Find the file. At the top click on ORGANIZE>>FOLDER AND SEARCH OPTIONS. Go to view tab. Under Hidden Files and Folders uncheck the box labeled Hide Extensions for known files type. Click Ok or Apply, Now your can simply rename yor file to m4r


      • September 02, 2010 at 1:25 pm, Passtheduchy said:

        how can you shorten the clip to 30 seconds??


      • November 05, 2010 at 1:43 pm, Stanley-614 said:

        hey thnk u soooooo much it worked oh my god 3 hours of disapointmnt and suddenly it works…im so thnkful to u…my bf is so jelous wth me right now…hahah anyways thx alot n god bless u


  3. November 06, 2008 at 11:44 pm, Lee said:

    didn’t seem to work for me : / apparently i don’t even have a ringtones folder in my itunes folder


    • November 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm, Pnut said:

      do you have the latest version of iTunes?


    • July 02, 2010 at 8:08 am, Selia said:

      what you do is you go to edit>preferences>general>(then click the box that says ringtones)


  4. November 12, 2008 at 7:23 am, kricket said:

    is the songs that i can convert to ringtone for iphone only the song that have to be buy from apple?


    • November 28, 2008 at 1:02 pm, Bond said:

      Hi Guys,

      I am also not able to find the ringtone folder inside “MusiciTunesRingtones”

      Please assist.



      • June 05, 2009 at 4:10 am, toni sinatore said:

        I can find the ringtones folder, but I can’t drag it into itunes once I convert it. I tried everything. whats next


        • July 02, 2010 at 8:09 am, Selia said:

          what you do is you go to edit>preferences>general>(then click the box that says ringtones)


    • July 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm, rofes said:

      no, I just converted songs from my normal library and it worked like a charm


  5. November 28, 2008 at 9:25 pm, lupe said:

    How do u make the song 30 sec long?


    • January 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm, Guest said:

      Right-click on the song.
      Select ‘Get Info’.
      Click the ‘options’ tab.
      You’ll see a start time and a stop time.
      Insert the time where you want your ringtone to start (like the chorus) and when you want the ringtone to end.
      Click OK.


  6. December 02, 2008 at 4:44 am, George said:

    Every thing worked fine. The file with extension m4r was in the ringtone tap of itunes and it synced in the iphone ringtones (it was there), but when I went to find it in the phone, it was not in the list of ringtones?? How do I find it???


    • December 03, 2008 at 7:29 am, iKen said:

      this is a mess guys. i wouldnt mind buying an itunes song and making it a ringtone, but i bought a song by a band called “Oh, Sleeper,” and it says its unable to be made into a ringtone. if i get this down, apple im going to have tons of free ringtones , and shove em up your bum.


  7. December 06, 2008 at 9:17 am, vesna said:

    hey i dont have anything in my menu that says showin finder mine says show in windows explorer..please help thanks


  8. December 06, 2008 at 6:10 pm, john ruggiero said:

    sorry but the newest version od itunes 8.????? has figured out your hack and unless the song is bought from itunes it wont upload it to the phone im guessing that it looks at the purchase date


    • July 07, 2009 at 7:51 am, pcl said:

      I dunno… I’m using iTunes 8.2 and it works just fine.


  9. December 06, 2008 at 6:39 pm, john ruggiero said:

    update i found the problem make sure your file sstarts with a letter no *&^%$#@!”‘ no char or it will not show up in the phone


  10. December 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm, TicoDeBladder said:

    Thanx, that worked like a charm


  11. December 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm, intriga said:


    Everything seems to work fine, but when I tried to look for the songs in the phone settings they don’t seem to exist… does not let me check the : Selected Ringtones…
    Let me know..


    • December 15, 2008 at 5:37 pm, spm9999 said:

      Like he said above. Only letters. I found out that numbers or even a period make it not show up.


      • June 20, 2010 at 11:25 am, Peter said:

        The file keeps changing back to putting 01 in front of the text. I Don’t know why. Anyway, I cannot see it on my 3g iphone but it appears in itunes in the main ringtone folder and also the iphone ringtone folder. I am confused.


    • March 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm, leo said:

      i got the same problem. I cant find my ringtone in my iphone.
      please give me some advises


  12. December 16, 2008 at 9:41 pm, John-Eric Debouge said:

    Hello, I did follow your procedure to create ring tones for my new iPhone G3, but to no avail. I picked up an extract of a song I like in mp3 format, converted it to AAC as suggested, selected the AAC version and changed the extension from m4a to m4r and then the song appears with ringtone in tje column kind, but not as a possible ring tone when I try to sync the iPhone… what did I do wrong? Also, I cannot move the song in iTune 8 from the library Music to that name rintones. Thanks for any advice.


  13. January 08, 2009 at 4:06 pm, Marc said:

    I followed your instructions and can see the file in the ringtones section on iTunes and it is present in the iTunes ringtone folder along with my others (created this way) but now my iPhone will not sync the new ringtones – any suggestions?


  14. January 11, 2009 at 7:11 am, noah said:

    when i chane the files i can see them under the ringtones folder in the library but not in the ipos sync options what can i do to fix this?


  15. January 23, 2009 at 5:55 am, Frick said:

    I’ve tried all these techniques multiple times and even placed the song in the ringtones folder under itunes, as well as trying to drag and drop in itunes… nothing works. Changed the extensions from a to r and back again, as well as changing the names so it’s short, only characters without numbers or symbols… anything else? nothings showing up in itunes when i open it up. i have tons of songs, and i only want one song as a ringtone… what the frick??


  16. February 08, 2009 at 10:33 am, Curt said:

    Worked fine for me, but be sure to select “ringtones’ on the left side of itunes instead of ‘music.” That threw me for a few minutes. =P


  17. February 11, 2009 at 3:10 am, Martica said:

    how I can do that in window vista?


  18. February 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm, Hoss said:

    Not working at all… I’m following the instructions but with no luck.


    • March 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm, some said:

      exactly, it either doesent work with vista or doesent work with itunes 8
      HELP AHHH!


  19. February 16, 2009 at 7:49 am, Jake said:

    I am BEYOND grateful to you for this!! Thanks SO much and I have passed your article on to many iPhone friends. It’s UNBELIEVABLE that the Apple-fascists (and I did not believe that until I bought my iPhone – having used Macs all my life) want you to pay AGAIN for ringtones of songs you’ve already bought. So you saved a lotta cheddar for a lotta people. You are wonderful and I hope great things come back to you.


  20. February 26, 2009 at 3:14 am, RAY said:



  21. February 28, 2009 at 3:31 am, Rumesh said:

    Hi, This doesn’t sinc the ringtones with the phone…


  22. March 04, 2009 at 11:44 am, Web Design said:

    nice post, this really going to add a new feature into my iphone. I was already wondering, for how long m gonna listen to these simple tones. I’m already working on my mp3, will update you in a moment


  23. March 05, 2009 at 11:24 pm, JP said:

    I got an apple protected song as a ringtone. Here’s what I did:
    1. Burn song to a cd
    2. Import the cd as MP3
    3. Drag the song to audion or editing software
    4. Edit the song to the tone you want
    5. Export to mp3 and burn it on a disc
    6. Change itunes import settings to AAC encoder and import song
    7. Find the file, change extension to .m4r and move it to the desktop, remove the imported AAC file to the trash.
    8. Drag .m4r to itunes


    • March 14, 2009 at 9:57 am, nani said:

      For me itunes 8 did not recognise the file(XX.m4r – as created above) as ringtone. So I uninstalled itunes8, installed itunes 7.4, opened itunes. It recognised the ringtones and I can see them in the ringtones section. But this version doesn’t support iphone. So, with out closing current itunes window, I upgraded it to itunes 8.2 and then the ringtones were still there. :D And when it got upgraded to 8.2, it detected iphone. up on going to ringtones tab for iphone, I saw the ringtones there too. :)

      Thank You guys… Its a great help for me :)


  24. March 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm, Jo said:

    Hello,can someone help me….
    I did everything that you said,the songs appear in the ringtones tab in my itunes library but when i connect the iphone and go to the ringtones tab in the iphone doesnt appear any songs,so i dont even have the option to sync them.
    Is thats because the songs are protected? I mean,i just took any song from my itunes music and transformed to m4r….

    Hope you can help me!



    • March 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm, Happy said:

      Thank you for your blog.

      I recorded a specific 30 second piece (mp3) to use as a ring tone, only to discover that I wasn’t allowed to make a ringtone from it!

      Following the lead here, I rerecorded it but encoded this time in AAC, transfered the file from the recording program (Audio Hijack Pro) to the desktop and changed the extention from .m4a to .m4r. Dragged and dropped the file into the iTunes library, voila, iTunes put it in ringtones. Synced my phone, and it imported. Thanks again.


  25. March 28, 2009 at 1:25 pm, Kath1968 said:

    Still can’t do this. Tried the ringtone website which works fine, but can’t import into the ringtone folder of iTunes. This is immensly frustrating!! Does this only work in the US? Has anyone managed this in the UK?


  26. March 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm, Shane said:

    Awesome thanks!!


  27. April 04, 2009 at 6:27 pm, Josh said:

    I had the same problem as many of the above commenters where I would convert the file, sync with iPhone and it wouldn’t appear on my iPhone.

    What worked for me was to crop the music file to around 30 seconds or less. You can do this by using the “Get Info” option in iTunes, clicking on the “Options” tab, and setting a start and end time. Then when you convert to AAC, it will create a much smaller file using the selected time frame.

    FYI: I’m on Vista, using iTunes 8.1. Hope this helps!


  28. April 06, 2009 at 1:12 am, Jeff F. said:

    As stupid as I feel writing this… I feel the need to confess that although I am fairly tech savvy and a very experienced Mac user, it took me almost an hour of trying different variations of the above instructions before figuring out that I did not have “Sync Ringtones” box checked in the iPhone preference pane…. (idiot).

    For anyone who doesn’t know, it is in itunes.

    1. Plug in iPhone.
    2. Open iTunes.
    3. In the “Devices” list on the left hand column, click iPhone.
    4. Select the “Ringtones” tab near the top of the window.
    5. Check “Sync Ringtones” box.

    Thanks to everyone else that posted instructions!!!


    • April 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm, Anonymous said:

      Thanks, Jeff. Great information.


  29. April 07, 2009 at 10:30 pm, Ross said:

    Thanx guys this is awesome

    but if you find yourself only getting the the start of the c=song as your tone

    1. select file (listen and make note on the times when you want tone to start and end

    2. secondary (right) click the file select preferances

    3. goto option and select start and finish time (fine tune it to hundredths of a sec if needed select ok

    4. secondary (right) click the file again and convert to AAC format (this will only convert the time frame you have selected

    5. follow the above guide to finish the ringtone

    6. Enjoy new custom tones


  30. April 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm, Jackson said:

    I successfully converted it into a .m4r file, but I dont seem to have a ringtones folder in my itunes…I have the latest version of itunes…when i search the file in finder it’s listed as a “ringtone” but there is no ringtone folder in my itunes… any help would be appreciated, thanks…


    • April 24, 2009 at 12:35 am, Nickolas Gray said:

      Jackson, go to Preferences->General and select the ringtones button


  31. April 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm, gavin said:

    ye i can create an AAC version of the song i want but when i find it in finder, there isnt no “get info” what do i do?


  32. April 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm, 8 said:

    I can’t drag it back to iTunes! Help! Help Help! PLEeeeease!


    • June 04, 2009 at 3:44 am, MrW said:

      neither can I


  33. May 27, 2009 at 7:11 am, Ferhan said:

    Ditto.. it works even with but the length of the piece is the key for it to show up in the list for iPhone

    steps are:

    1- in preferences, make sure you checked the ringtones.
    2- plug your phone in and click on it, make sure you select ringtones to be synchronized.

    3- select a song you want.
    4- right click on the song (windows, not sure about mac) and Create AAC version.
    5- the AAC version will be created right there. go into get info menu, clear all song attributes and rename the song. remember which folder this was in.
    6- the song will now show up in recently added list (i used wttj as a name for welcome to the jungle for instance.)
    7- on the newly created AAC format song, which you named to a name that you can distinguish from the original hopefully, go to get info and select options. change the start and end times. close with OK, save, whatever.
    8- when you play this the song will only play the range you want. iTunes has a bug that it still will show the original length of the song in the time column. no worries. make sure your start and end times are what you want. MAKE SURE IT IS LESS THAN 40 seconds. otherwise it won’t show in the synch to the phone list, although it shows up in ringtones.
    9-if you really want to make the time column correct too, once you are absolutely sure, do the create AAC version step above once more. the newly created (hopefully new name) file will show the length you put there.
    10-now using tricks above for mac, or PC, or by simply using a command prompt for a PC, just rename the extension on the file you want to .m4r (it should be .m4a) at this point.
    11- in the explorer in windows, this file is now showing as a ringtone and has a different icon.
    12- click on the ringtones folder under library in iTunes, drag drop the new .m4r extension file into this area. the file will be automagically moved from where you had it to music/ringtones folder (as mentioned above) the music folder location is in your preferences.
    13- now, if you did all of this right, when you click on your phone and to ringtones tab, you should see the file’s name (the new name you gave) in the ringtones list. when you sync it will show up on your phone under custom.


    • June 04, 2009 at 3:54 am, MrW said:

      Doesn’t work for me. I have itunes 8.2 and it will not let me drag or import any file with mr4 extension and m4a will not show up in rintones. Neither will show up in ringtones even if I drop them in the ringtones folder in explorer. I’ve tried everything. Itunes 8.2 WILL NOT LET ME DO IT. What a bunch of CRAP


    • August 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm, Anonymous said:

      Everything here was very helpful, however I have 2 problems.
      1. I do not have a Ringtone folder in the iTunes one to drag the m4r files; but this is not the biggest problem, ’cause I can drag it into the iTunes with the iPhone plugged in;
      2. The problem is that I have made several m4r files that I drag in to the Ringtone section of the iTunes, syncs the iPhone but I have the same ringtone repeated the same amount of m4r files I dragged in, let’s say I created 5 different ringtones different names and everthing, after I drag them to ringtones and syncs with the iPhone, one of those songs repeats 5 times, I don’t have 5 different ones, I only have one repeated 5 times,

      What can I do, what am I doing wrong? Thanks for any advise


    • April 11, 2010 at 12:04 am, dulchevita said:

      you got me up and running. thanks Ferhan. you had the best info.


  34. May 28, 2009 at 10:56 am, chirag said:

    how to creat the rington in 8.1.1 version


  35. June 17, 2009 at 11:07 pm, Janice said:

    I neeed the current 8.2 version of i tunes to get the new update for my phone. Does anyone know how this will effect the ability to make free ringtones?


    • June 22, 2009 at 6:35 am, Mister said:

      I used the suggestion I found on another forum: USE GARAGEBAND. most of you should have this. Open Media, find the song you like and drag it into Garageband, select Share, Save Ringtone to iTunes. If song is longer than 40 seconds, it will warn you that you need to trim it (opens a scale that sets proper ringtone length). Trim it, do the Share steps again, and bam! you have a new ringtone that is the right size.

      iTunes 8.2, by the way



      • July 10, 2009 at 12:49 pm, Iona said:

        thanks so much for this – I have been trying to do this for ages and the Garageband option worked for me.


      • July 16, 2009 at 6:18 am, Anonymous said:

        Mister thank you so much. This is the only thing that worked for it. I appreciate it. Coming from a G1 where I could do anything I wanted, this was a little frustrating. But it works fine now. You RULE!!!


  36. June 27, 2009 at 12:37 pm, Vcool said:

    Excellent! Perfect! Thanks!


  37. July 01, 2009 at 12:04 pm, sifzac said:

    this was a grate help and the coment below explaning how to convert an exicting file to a AAC file helped alot :D :D :D


    • July 05, 2009 at 6:10 am, dofo said:

      I did this in Garage band, but if forced me to trip the song to 8 seconds in order to send it to itunes ringtones – any ideas on this? Using the new 3GS.


      • July 13, 2009 at 8:37 am, Vcool said:

        Unfortunately all ringtones have to be no longer than 40 sec


      • December 07, 2009 at 10:40 pm, Anonymous said:

        let garage band auto adjust and that yellow bar at the top appears.. stretch this to you whole clip as long as it under about 40 secs i kept mine to about 28secs tho to be sure. hope this helps


  38. July 22, 2009 at 11:25 am, pokerking said:

    What a waste of time, all worked fine for me but while the hell cant they just let you drag a file into the ringtone tab and let u use it that way, every single thing to do with itunes is a pain in the ass! thanks for the information tho, worked a treat for me


  39. August 03, 2009 at 12:42 am, Anonymous said:

    You have to make the song 30 seconds or less for it to work. Under: File – Get Info – Options tab, change the start and stop times to make it 30 seconds or less BEFORE you make the AAC file. Then when you convert it to AAC, you’ll see that the clip is 30 seconds or less. After you’ve made the AAC file, don’t forget to go back to the original file and remove the start and stop times, then follow the above instructions. I like to drag the AAC file to my desktop before I change it to .m4r and then I delete the AAC file from iTunes before I drag the .m4r file back into the Ringtones window.


  40. August 06, 2009 at 7:02 pm, The Dark lord said:

    Super helpful, it worked great for me. Thank you very much for sharing this info …


  41. August 17, 2009 at 12:25 am, Anonymous said:

    yeah this doesn’t work, I have a PC and when I edit the song, I convert the ringtone to AAC. Then I double click it on my desktop and it gets added to iTunes, but not to the ringtone section, it gets put back in the My Library. Any ideas on how to get it to go to the ringtones section?


  42. August 21, 2009 at 8:38 pm, Anonymous said:

    I’ve followed your steps and still get no where.
    When I go to my iPhone and the Ringtones tab nothing even shows up for me to Sync.


  43. August 24, 2009 at 10:42 pm, Anonymous said:

    1. Turn iTunes Application. First make sure in iTunes > Preferences > Import Settings > Import Using > AAC Encoder.
    2. Then in iTunes select the song or music you want to make in to ringtones. (I’m using iTunes 8.2)
    3. After selecting the song. go to File > get info. Or Command “i”
    then on the option tab keep start time 0.00 and end time 30.00 or less.
    (the file has to be 30 seconds or less)
    On Mac computers, you can also edit song on Garage Band application to customize the way you want as long as it’s 30 second or less then “share song to iTunes.
    4. Then on the selected song go to Advanced > Create AAC Version
    This will make a duplicate of the file 30 seconds or less.
    Note: make sure you go back to the original song and in info change the end time
    back to original.
    5. Drag your new edited song to your desktop. (You are very close)
    6. On the desktop select the music file this should be a .m4a file. command “i” once more and on the pop up window click the “Name & Extension: Tab.
    You will see song name .m4a file change the extension to .m4r. then click the triangle tab or click on the desktop to deselect. A pop up window will appear asking you if you are sure that you want to change file extension name.
    choose .m4r.
    7. In iTunes go to your Ringtones folder probably the 7th one from the top left.
    and drag your song.m4r file there from the desktop.
    8.Connect your iPhone to your computer. when it shows on iTunes go to Ringtones tab. make sure to put a check mark on Sync ringtones. Click on Selected ringtones you will see your song or songs you converted to ringtones there.
    After that click Apply and let it Sync.
    9. Now on your iPhone Settings > Sounds > Ringtone > choose your ringtone
    Viola! you have your custom made ringtones. Your mom will be proud! Enjoy!


  44. August 28, 2009 at 7:42 am, Morten said:

    Just did this with my new iPhone on the latest version of iTunes.
    Worked like a charm.

    Thankyou! :D


    • September 03, 2009 at 1:55 am, Name said:

      It says the ringtone is on my phone but when i go to sounds ringtone its not there


  45. September 24, 2009 at 4:12 am, Anonymous said:

    I am not able to see the convert to AAC. I am using windows xp, anyone know why?


  46. September 29, 2009 at 6:36 am, Anonymous said:

    I am using the Iphone 3G and Itunes 9.0 on Windows Vista

    WOW! I tried and tried but could not figure out how to change formats!!! My screen looked NOTHING like the windows shown here. I found a website that explains it differently and it worked for me! Yayyyy!

    Here’s the link. Also, one step that is missing that unlocked the whole process for me was located in one of the comments… I’ll copy and paste that first. Good luck! And I am pretty non-technical and brand new to itunes and I figured it out, so I’m sure you will too. :)

    FIRST – Go to Control Panel………dbl click on Folder options……..click View tab………..uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”………… (This allows you to see what kind of file it is and be able to change it).


    Also, after step 10, just click and drag the clipped song onto your desktop. From there you can right click it and rename it changing only the end part. This is easier than doing steps 11-13.

    Hope this helps some of you that were not being able to change it in Vista or with the new Itunes.


  47. October 08, 2009 at 3:43 pm, Anonymous said:

    it works but when I sync ringtones I lose all my songs in my iphone .


  48. October 09, 2009 at 11:46 pm, ik said:

    Ok everyone. Windows Vista, and iTunes 9.

    First, get yourself an audio converter that can convert between m4a and mp3. (there are many free ones out there, try download.com)

    Next, get yourself an audio editing software (ex. Audacity, again download.com)

    Next, make sure you can change file extentions on your files. many ppl have already posted how to do this so i wont.

    Next, find the song you want and open it in your audio editor and crop off approx 30sec of the part you like. If you have a good editor it will be able to export to m4a if not then just export your selection to mp3.

    Next, convert the piece of your song that you exported from mp3 to m4a using the audio converter.

    Next, rename the converted piece of your song so that its filename beguins with letters, no charachters or numbers, and change the file extention to m4r. your pc will automatically recognize it as a ringtone file type.

    Next, if there’s no Ringtones folder in your iTunes/Media folder then just create one make sure you spell it correctly, then put the file in there.

    Next, open iTunes and make sure you SIGN OUT of iTunes Store (on the top menu bar of iTunes go to Store then Sign Out) once youre signed out drag and drop your file from the Ringtones folder into iTunes, anywhere in your Music Library screen, iTunes will recognize it as a ringtone.

    Next, connect your phone, make sure you’ve selected Manually manage my music and videos on the bottom of the Summary screen. then go to the Ringtones tab and select your file and sync.

    Next, without disconecting your phone from the pc, go into your phone and make sure you can see the ringtone in settings sounds rintones, it should be under custom. set it as a ringone and then eject your phone from you pc.

    Next, drive by the Apple HQ while sticking a giant middle finger out the window and laughing b/c you can now have watever song you want as your ringtone for free. Its not enough that the iPhone and your plan/data usage charges, and your iTunes Store purchases cost so much, but you gotta pay to enjoy what you bought and is by all means entirely yours.


  49. October 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm, Anonymous said:

    my itunes doesnt let me convert it, only lets me convert it to MP3 how can i make that work for me ?


  50. November 17, 2009 at 1:40 am, Anonymous said:

    after i have converted it to aac version the system wont allow me to edit the path or the m4 what can i do?


  51. December 03, 2009 at 1:38 am, Al said:

    I am not having luck with these directions. My iTunes is 9.4 and i have new iPhone and been trying since yesterday to get this to work


  52. December 04, 2009 at 12:12 am, Anonymous said:

    ok used the instructions, had the same problem with others that couldn’t find a ringtone folder. Found another blog with the solution. Once you have created the m4r file, drag this file to desktop (or cut and paste). Double click on the file and itunes will automatically put it in your ringtone folder in itunes. Phew… took me ages to work it out and was getting frustrated but seems to work now..
    Using windows…
    Also it actually let me create a ringtone longer than 40 secs… not sure if the ringtone actually worked though cause I’m at work and can’t put up the volume, but it seemed to pop up in the ringtone folder in itunes as 3.35


    • January 03, 2011 at 4:38 am, Joelwongjy said:

      wow. now i have the ringtones folder. thanks a lot.


  53. December 29, 2009 at 10:12 am, Anonymous said:

    every time i try to sync ringtone, it tells me that my music, movies and everything is going to be removed…what do i do?


  54. December 31, 2009 at 4:56 pm, Anonymous said:

    Only issue is with this, once you sync yr ringtones, you can’t manually manage music and films. Ggrr! Any ideas


    • August 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm, Amit said:

      Having same problem… If u have any solution then please tell me..


  55. January 09, 2010 at 1:37 pm, Anonymous said:

    These options are no longer available in the new version of iTunes 9. Is there a new way to get ringtones now??


  56. January 09, 2010 at 11:30 pm, Anonymous said:

    I have itunes 9, i have created the ringtones easily enough, but when i connect my iphone 3G S they don’t appear under the ringtones tab, but they are under ringtones in my itunes library?!?!!?!
    I then tried clipping the tunes to under 40secs as suggested, and still not working. Some songs won’t drag back into itunes, but some will…. not sure what thats all about!?


  57. January 10, 2010 at 6:48 pm, Anonymous said:

    Could not create an iPhone ringtone using iTune 9.0.2 version for my new iPhone 3G S


  58. January 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm, Anonymous said:

    How does all of this work with iTunes 9.0?


  59. January 26, 2010 at 4:34 am, Anonymous said:

    Tried it on the current version 9.0.2 and works great! Thanks

    edit: Not sure what the problems the users above were having, but remember when you first make the .m4a file, and drag it into your music folder, if that doesn’t work, go to the folder were the file is, and rename it to .m4r, and drag that file into your music folder. This song should now appear in your ringtones for syncing. Worked for me at least.



  60. February 01, 2010 at 1:27 am, lenyama235 said:

    Another easy way to do it is to go to mobilespin and use their free online ringtone tool. After you use the tool to create your ringtone (in only 3 steps), it gives you a .m4r file which you put in iTunes and sync and you are done! You can create as many ringtones as you want! Remember if you have iTune songs (which are M4P format), convert them to MP3 first, there are many free tools to do this


    • February 26, 2010 at 10:02 am, Anonymous said:

      Hi, I can see the rintone I want in my I phone, when I click on it, it plays.. but when someone rings my phone it doesnt… wahts going on there ..l. Help


  61. March 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm, Name said:

    mobilespin sux. It didnt create my song it made a rigntone of another song and listed it as mine…. ex. I uploaded on to the next one – Jay-Z and when it was done coverting I had “she’s my cherry pie” 80′s rock song….


  62. March 23, 2010 at 8:19 pm, Anonymous said:

    How do i create an iphone ringtone using a .caf file? do i need to convert it to an .m4a file first?


  63. April 22, 2010 at 9:18 am, Anonymous said:

    I cant remove the aac vertion from my itunes
    any advice?


  64. May 02, 2010 at 3:51 pm, Name said:

    i have itunes version 9. I only have the option ‘Show in Windows Explorer’. Then it showed the location of the file in the folder. But I can’t convert using a Windows computer. Can I have some help please?
    btw, this guide is the most precise I can find. So thank you.


  65. May 18, 2010 at 9:20 pm, Iphone Jailbreak said:

    is it true that iphone 4G will be release on july ?


  66. June 05, 2010 at 3:35 pm, Kendra said:

    How do I do this with Windows 7?
    I just can’t find the thing where you can also change the extensions, because I can’t do that in iTunes or in the folder.


  67. June 13, 2010 at 12:03 am, Eb said:

    I have ITunes version 9.1 and i cannot seem to do the function of changing it the format to a .m4r. what can i do


    • July 26, 2010 at 10:00 am, Deb said:

      Ok I have the ringtones folder being displayed within iTunes, the file has been renamed to the .m4r and it is showing up in iTunes music folder, the location of the file on the HD is under Musicunknown artistunknown album.

      I can see the file that I have convert (3gp) and the one m4r that we need. I am using itunes 9.02 BUT for some reason when & dragged the file to Ringtones folder it will not move. Please help.
      ALSO the Option to select Ringtones on the ringtones tab is greyed out.


  68. July 28, 2010 at 11:53 am, happy markie said:

    iTunes Custom ringtone notes
    1. Open itunes on macbook.
    2. Select iTunes drop down menu at top left of screen, click preferences, select General, click Import Settings, then in Import Using box select AAC encoder. Then click OK, OK.
    3. In iTunes library, select Music then highlight song you want to use as a ringtone.
    4. Drag and Drop song onto desk top to create safe MP3 original version. Note you will have to import it back into music library at very end.
    5. Back in iTunes library, select Music then highlight the song again.
    6. Right click or select File from drop down menu.
    7. Select Get Info, Options, tick start time ie 0:00 and tick stop time as 0:40. Note a ringtone must be no more than 40” in length. Click OK
    8. On iTunes bar select Advanced, then choose Create AAC version.
    9. A new 40”AAC version of the song is created in the library music next to the original. Important that the new time is shown.
    10. Delete original MP3 song from library.(move to trash)
    11. Drag and Drop new 40” AAC version onto desktop.
    12. A new icon version appears. Highlight its label and change the last letter from “a” to “r”. It should now appear as m4r. Pres enter then select Use as m4r. This is now a ringtone version of the song.
    13. Back in the music library, delete the new 40”AAC version. There should now be no record of the song left in Itunes. This is very important because the computer will always search for the original song within the library and will not accept the new ringtone version if it locates the original.
    14. In library select Ringtones, then drag and drop new 40”m4r version from your desktop into ringtones.
    15. Connect your iphone4 to your mac, select iphone from your devices click sync, and your new ringtone will automatically be transferred across into your iphone4 ringtones.
    16. Drag and drop the Original MP3 song version back into the music library.
    17. END


    • August 03, 2010 at 11:01 am, Charwhite79 said:


      I have tried everything here. I’ve managed to convert the file to a ringtone no problem. However, iTunes does not seem to recognise it as a ringtone, even though it is listed as one in the Finder.

      When I try to drag it to the library, it doesn’t accept it in the ‘Ringtones’ section, and therefore won’t sync either. I’ve tried exprting it and re-importing it using Audacity, that made no difference.

      I then tried the Garageband option, although my Garageband has no option to export to iTunes as a ringtone, perhaps I have an earlier version.

      Can anyone help?

      I’m running iTunes 9.2.1
      Garageband 3.0.4


  69. July 30, 2010 at 6:45 pm, jefferson said:

    it wont let me sync my newly convert ringtones because the files are too long. how can i change my file size or length of the song?


  70. August 04, 2010 at 9:24 am, Pankaj said:

    I managed to get the file transferred as it appears on the phone through itunes – it is under the header ringtones – the file exists on the phone according to itunes but I cannot find it on the actual phone – I looked under ringtones – only the default files are shown – please advise


  71. August 05, 2010 at 1:15 am, Danlfly said:

    This worked great importing a wav ringtone in iTunes 9. Thanks!!


  72. August 11, 2010 at 9:09 am, Penny said:

    I do all the steps, yet when I connect my iPhone 4 to my Macbook Pro and sycn, I cannot find the ringtone on my phone – so I am not sure it has synced?
    Also, if I cannot click the option to sync ‘Selected Ringtones’ – how do I do that?
    Another problem is, when I add the files I have changed into ringtones, and altered times for (to be the correct length) into the ‘Ringtones’ folder, they are back to their original length: how do I stop this?!


  73. August 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm, Steven said:

    I uploaded 4 ringtones onto the ringtone library in iTunes, They all appear in the ringtone library but only the last one I uploaded to the library shows up on my iPhone. I have a 2G now, I had a 3G earlier but I swam with it and destroyed it, When I used my 3G, every ringtone I uploaded into the ringtone library would appear on my iPhone. Now my temporary 2G only shows one, the last one I uploaded, how do I make the phone show all of them?


    • September 20, 2010 at 9:21 am, fadz said:

      you are a dumb idiot, u wanna show us that you have 2 iphones? ha h a , stupid you have a 2G and you are experiencing problem with that. stop showing off you freak!!!!!!!


  74. August 24, 2010 at 4:58 am, anonymous1 said:

    Thanks. Its 2010 and I’ve got the latest iTunes and with a few mods to your post still got it to work. Thanks again.


  75. August 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm, Lisa said:

    Great it really worked reverting it back to m4a this working on my iphone 4,


  76. September 02, 2010 at 10:52 am, Lutekat Usagi said:

    Hey i cant find it in my iphone even though i sync it. i have done everything the correct way and it works, until after sync is finished i should be able to see the ringtone in my sounds folder rite..? But unfortunately i cant… can you help someone help me with that…


  77. September 14, 2010 at 9:13 pm, Matt said:

    Awesome Thank you I was running around in circles wondering why my ringtones weren’t coming out. I didn’t know you couldn’t use music located within Itunes.


  78. September 25, 2010 at 6:23 am, louis said:

    ha h a , stupid you have a 2G and you are experiencing problem with that. stop showing off you freak!


  79. September 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm, maggie holliday said:

    it wont let me change the name and extension . what do i do now ?


  80. September 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm, Julienp974 said:

    I found an application that allows users to create their own ringtones. It is simple and effective. I tried and I just find enormous


  81. October 24, 2010 at 11:35 pm, Jonagold said:

    this is simply radiculous, that you cannot have your favourite ringtone on the phone. I have paid already buying iin the shop cd for 15 or more £. I have alredy paid for these songs I am not distributing I am using them for myself why I should pay additional money??! this is con! The whole registration on apple I tune is also under susspicion as they keep all these credit and debit cvard detels even if you are not going to buy anything. I am surprised that none have made closer look on apple and i tune from legal perspective and consumer rights


  82. November 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm, Rainmac80 said:

    Hi all,
    I’ve just created the file in my folder but it won’t accept my dragging into itunes or just opening it so isn’t showing in itunes under ringtones. Is this a know problem with the latest version? (


  83. November 14, 2010 at 2:52 am, Noall666 said:

    my ringtones show up in my itunes 9.2 but when i sync they do not transfer to my iphone, 4.1

    any help?


  84. November 23, 2010 at 7:33 am, sarah said:

    PLEASE HELP!!! I have been trying all night to get my song as a ringtone on my iphone. I converted it to AAC but when i pressed “show in windows explorer” the song that i cutted short to 20 secs had an ending with .mp3. I then changed it to .m4r and tried to drag it into my itunes but it wouldn’t go. It had a + when i tried to drag it over the left side bar where it says library/music/movies/tvshows/etc. PLEASE HELP!!! Thankkkksssss :)


    • December 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm, marius said:

      you were suppose to make a AAC file first.
      do that and only after rename it.


  85. January 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm, Pax said:

    Thanks. Now, how do I make a text-tone?


  86. February 08, 2011 at 10:18 pm, AnnaMaria said:

    i would like to know if its possible to change/ make a txt tone??


    • February 15, 2011 at 4:24 am, renée said:

      i would also like to know this.


  87. February 15, 2011 at 4:22 am, renée said:

    I have the 4G with the latest software, latest itunes (mac), and i believe because i had selected to manually manage my songs, itunes made me erase my songs and movies (and JUST those, i didn’t have to add my saved apps etc back on or anything) before i could add the ringtone. it’s under its own heading at the top under custom ringtone, so don’t panic because you can’t find it in your list at first.

    i could only select sync ringtones, was not able to select sync selected ringtones, so therefore could not see the tone i was actually adding. perhaps another reason that itunes was being difficult.

    I was able to reselect manually manage songs without any problems, however. besides the pain of havinh to wait until all my songs were back on my phone before i could go back to my angrybirds game, this works great :) thanks!


  88. June 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm, Johncalberg said:

    I cant move the r files to the phone all though it says its synchronized. Have the latest version 10xx. Guess Android is a better choice… or does any kind person have a clue to why it doesnt synchronize the ringtones? Even tried the iRinger no works :-(


  89. September 24, 2011 at 8:58 am, altyeb said:

    my phone 3gs can not bee open ay thing what ido he is drop is totche the land


  90. March 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm, JoeCool said:

    Works great on my iPhone 4s, thanks!!!


  91. July 23, 2012 at 12:44 am, apple iphone 4s accessories said:

    well, i did that all steps will be the very same, it showed up T-mobile far too, but
    when it showed up T mobile in the exact same time it restarted to activate once again.
    sometime, i saw full signal but however restart.
    How i solve my problem?


  92. October 20, 2012 at 2:54 am, Ann @ apple battery said:

    Very useful post. I was able to get this to work fairly easily.


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