How To Convert Your Favorite Songs into iPhone Ringtones [Mac]

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iphone ringtonesPeople love to personalize things that they own to make those items stand out among other similar items that other people have. We can see examples everywhere such as people painting their houses with different colors, styling their hair, using and customizing different themes for their blogs, putting their laptops into colorful cases, and customizing the ringtones for their phones.

If you own an iPhone and you want to use your favorite songs to personalize it, but you don’t want to pay another buck for each song that you already own to have those songs converted into iPhone ringtones; here’s a fun and free way to do it.

The Preparation

For those who love Garageband, you can use that amazing music maker to create ringtones. But for today’s discussion, we’ll use a small free program called MakeiPhoneRingtone.

This program can quickly turn your favorite songs into iPhone-compatible ringtones. However, there are limitations to this feature: you can only use AAC files, and the ringtone duration is limited to 40 seconds. A set of preparation steps is needed prior to the conversion process. But don’t be afraid as we can do everything using iTunes.

  • The first step is to convert the songs from MP3 into AAC. Open “iTunes – Preferences” menu or use “Command + Comma“.

01 iPhone Ringtones - iTunes Preferences.jpg

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  • Open the “General” tab and click the “Import Settings” button.

iphone ringtones

  • Choose “AAC Encoder” from the “Import Using” field, and choose “iTunes Plus” quality from “Setting” for the best quality.

how to make ringtones for iphone

  • Find the song(s) that you want to use as an iPhone ringtone, right click and choose “Create AAC” version from the pop up menu.

how to make ringtones for iphone

  • You can also access this option from “Advanced – Create AAC Version” menu.

how to make ringtones for iphone

  • The song(s) will be converted by iTunes into AAC, and the process will take about several seconds for every song. After that, right click on the converted song and choose “Get Info” from the pop up menu.

iphone ringtones

  • Choose “Options” tab and set the Start and Stop Time to fit the 40 seconds duration. If you want to go the easy way, just choose 0:00 for the start time and 0:39 for the stop time.

03b iPhone Ringtones - Edit Length.jpg

But why go the easy way when you can go the fun way? You can set the start and stop time in the part of the song that you like the most. Play the song and notice the time of the beginning and end of your favorite part.

Even though you can adjust the precision to one-thousandth of a second to get the perfect timing if you want to, my experience has told me that one-tenth precision is enough. For example, you can set the time to 1:12.5 (one minute twelve point five seconds) or maybe 3:42.73 (three minutes forty-two point seventy-three seconds).

This might look tedious, but I personally find the process of determining the perfect beginning and ending of the ringtone fun and addictive. The 40 seconds limit just make the “estimating game” more challenging.

Then repeat the “Create AAC Version” process to the adjusted song, to get the less-than-40-second fragment.

how to make iphone ringtones

The Making Of The Ringtones

  • After getting the perfect slice of the song, right click on the item and choose “Show in Finder“.

how to make iphone ringtones

  • Open MakeiPhoneRingtone and drag that short AAC Version (with the “.m4a” extension) to the app.

how to make iphone ringtones

  • If the edited song is more than 40 seconds, you’ll get a warning (and an offer to try a paid audio editor by the same developer).

how to make iphone ringtones

  • If you do everything correctly, you’ll get your ringtone in iTunes’ “Ringtones” folder in just a blink of an eye.

04b iTunes - Ringtones.jpg

  • Repeat the process for other songs.

Syncing & Using Ringtones

  • To make sure that your newly created iPhone ringtones find their way to your iPhone, go to the “Ringtones” tab and check the “Sync Ringtones” box before you synchronize your phone.

05a iPhone Ringtones - Choose Ringtones.jpg

  • Then click the Sync button.

05b iPhone Ringtones - Sync to iPhone.jpg

  • In iPhone, you can use different tones for different person. You can also use customized ringtones for your Alarm.

06 Changing Contacts n Clock.jpg

  • To assign a ringtone to a contact, select a person and tap on the ringtone option. Choose one of the “Custom” tones and tap “Save“.

06a Changing Personal Ringtones.jpg

  • The same thing goes for assigning custom ringtones to your alarms. Open one, tap “Edit” and slide right. Tap “Sound” and choose your preferred sound.

iphone ringtones

After using the method several times, I began to look at (or listen to?) my song collection differently. Now I always try to find parts of the songs that would make cool ringtones.

What about you? Do you personalize your contacts with different tones? Do you know other free methods to convert your favorite songs into ringtones?  If so, please share using the comments section below.

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Comments (32)
  • OA

    I wanted to know how to convert m4r to mp3? I can’t find the option anywhere and I just got this really cool ringtone(the Farnsworth from the tv-show Warehouse 13! for anyone that knows about it;)) that I can’t use on my BB:(

    • Anonymous

      Maybe you could do the process backward: change the extension from .m4r to .m4a then use iTunes to create the .mp3 version of the song.

  • iphone developers

    Thanks for such a detailed instuction. I guess nobody will have difficulties in this now.

  • iphone developers

    Thanks for such a detailed instuction. I guess nobody will have difficulties in this now.

  • Marsha

    Can we have the howto for adding or changing stock “tones” for SMS messages?

    • Anonymous

      At the moment, I couldn’d find any working method to achieve this. Maybe others who know the method could share?

  • Corey Faibish

    There’s a mac program called “Ringer” (http://www.apple.com/downloads… that does any file type, and has a very nice interface for picking which part of the file you want as the ringtone.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.