iPhone With HeadphonesI thought I would try something a little different this week. I have been asked a few times how to create ringtones for the iPhone from music that you already own.

It is pretty simple but not all that well advertised how to do. I think the reason for this is that there is so much money to be made from people buying ringtones that they don’t want to make it too easy for the user to create their own…

Anyway I thought I would write down the process so if I get asked again then I can just point them at this post. I am also hoping that at least some of my readers may have an iPhone and so may be interested in this as well.

The only things you will need for this is an iPhone, a computer, Mac or PC, with iTunes installed on it and some music.

Select Your Song

I get all of my music in MP3 format from Amazon.co.uk but as far I know pretty much any music you have bought recently should be fine for this. Some older songs may not allow for copies to be made so just bear that in mind if you are having issues creating the clip later…

All you have to do is listen to some songs from your music collection and find a section that you think will work well for a ringtone. The clip can be up to about 30 seconds long so the intro or the chorus are usually the best places to start.iTunes Music

When you are playing a song in iTunes you can see how far into the song you are at the top of the screen. Try and make a note of the start and end time of the clip you are interested in.iTunes Track Progress

Create A Clip

Next task is to actually clip the song down to the length required for a ringtone.

Simply right-click on the song, in iTunes, and select the Get Info option from the pop-up menu.iTunes Tack Info Summary

Now click on the Options tab at the top of this screen. Enter the start time and end time for you clip of the song in the fields shown.iTunes Track Info Options

Then click on the OK button to save this information. When you try and play the song you will now only hear the short clip you have selected. You can adjust the values a bit if you haven’t quite captured what you want.

Right now you are happy with the clip you need to create an iPhone compatible music file. To do this right-click on the song again and this time select the Create AAC Version.iTunes Track Menu

If you only have a Create MP3 Version, or something else similar then you will need to change your import settings temporarily. I will explain how to do this very briefly as you probably won’t need to change this anyway. If you do need to change it then you may want to note what the settings were in case you want to change them back again afterwards.

To do this find the Preferences… option on the drop down menus then select the General tab from the top of the form, click on the Import Settings… button and then select AAC Encoder in the Import Using selection. Now you should be able to go back to the song and select the Create AAC Version.

This should create a second song in your music library which is just then length of the clip.iTunes Clip Created

One thing to remember to do here is that you want the original song to play in entirety again so you can right-click the original song (you can tell by the length of the track) and the untick the start and stop time in the Options tab and click on the OK button again.

Turn The Clip Into A Ringtone

Now you have an Apple formatted clip of the correct length you just need to drag the file from iTunes to your desktop. This should just copy the clip and still leave two in your library.

You can now delete the clip from iTunes as you have a safe copy of it. Simply right-click on the clip (check the length of the file as you don’t want to delete the original…) and select the Delete option. You will have to confirm you want to delete the track and it is best to actually remove the track from your computer rather than keeping the file.

To turn the clip into a ringtone all you have to do is change the extension of the filename. Simply click on the name just below the file on the desktop. Wait a second then click the name of the file again. This should allow you to change the file name. Simply change the name of the file to end in .m4r instead of .m4a. Simple!

Double click on the new ringtone and it should automatically get copied to the Ringtones section on iTunes.iTunes Ringtones

If you cannot see the Ringtones section in iTunes then make sure it is turned on in the Preferences…. This option can be accessed from the drop down menus then select the General tab from the top of the form and just tick the Ringtones option in the list of items to Show.

Now you can delete the file from your desktop.

All you have to do then is sync your iPhone, make sure that Ringtones are included in the sync, and you should have the new ringtone available.




Very good I’m sure this will be popular.x


Genius! That’s going to save me a load of money!

    Pete O'Shea

    Hi Chris,

    Always nice to hear from someone new. Hope you have fun setting up loads of new ringtones…


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