iPhone Life magazine

Create your own ringtones from MP3s

The simple ringtone hack that was discovered almost three years back still seems to work with the latest version of iTunes. It is based on the fact that iTunes differentiates a song and a ringtone by the file extension: the song file extension is "AAC," the ringtone file extension is "m4r." All you have to do is take a music file that is not more than 30 seconds long, change its file extension to m4r, and copy it to the "Ringtones" section of your iTunes library.

Here's how you do it:

In the iTunes music library, right click on the song you want to make into a ringtone and select "Get Info."

  1. Go to the "Options" tab and go down to the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" check boxes. Check both boxes and input the time you want your ringtone to start/stop (it should not be more than 30 seconds) and click OK.
  2. Right click on your newly "clipped" song and select "Convert Selection to AAC" (or "Create ACC Version"). The song will be re-encoded using the start and stop times determined (Note: If "Convert Selection to AAC" does not appear in the menu; if it instead reads "Convert Selection to MP3" or some other format, you'll need modify your conversion preferences. To do this on a Mac, go to iTunes >Preferences >General and click the "Import Settings" button, then change the "Import Using"drop down menu to "AAC Encoder." The instructions are the same on the PC version of iTunes with one exception: Preferences are found under the "Edit" menu.)
  3. After the song is done encoding, navigate to your iTunes "Music" folder, locate your song, and drag it to your desktop. After the song is on your desktop, go back to iTunes and delete the clipped version from you iTunes library (It won't delete it from your desktop, it will only remove it from iTunes).
  4. Go back to the song on your desktop, right click it and choose "Get info." (On a PC it will be "Properties")
  5. Go to the "Name & Extension" section and change the extension from .m4a to .m4r.
  6. After the extension is changed, simply double-click on the file to add it back to your iTunes library. It should show up under the "Ringtones" section.
  7. Finally, sync your phone with iTunes. Select your iPhone from within iTunes and select the "Ringtones" tab. Check the "Sync Ringtones" box and click "Sync" at the bottom of the screen.
  8. You should now be able to change the ringtone to the new one on your iPhone by going to Settings >Sounds >Ringtone. The new ringtone should show up under "Custom." Tap on it to set it as your default ringtone.
  9. Be sure to go back to change your conversion settings when you're done.