How to Make Custom iPhone Ringtones with Windows 7, iTunes 9 and Audacity 1.2.6

iTunes 9 will automatically create a new folder for storing ringtones in your music library the first time you open a .m4r file, provided you have the “Keep iTunes Music Folder Organized” option checked. This folder is where you’ll want to put your ringtone files, but first you’ll need to edit the song down to a suitable size. The size of an allowed ringtone on the iPhone tops out at around 3 megabytes.

For Mac users, there are several ways to whittle down your tracks. You could use Apple’s Quicktime Pro or Garageband if you have them. You can also edit MP3s in the free Audion 3, which features a nice waveform editing tool. Windows users can edit audio files with the free Audacity 1.2.6Pick the 20 to 30 seconds you want to use as your ringtone, and save the file as an MP3.

  1. Download Lame For Audacity on Windows: Lame_v3.98.2_for_Audacity_on_Windows.exeLAME is a library that allows some programs to encode MP3 files. For more information about LAME in general, click here. LAME is free, but in some countries you may need to pay a license fee in order to legally encode MP3 files.

    Once you have unzipped the archive, you will have a file called lame_enc.dll, LameLib or libmp3lame.dylib. To use it with Audacity, you can put it anywhere you want, but the first time you want to export an MP3 file, Audacity will ask you for the location of this file, so you’ll want to remember where you put it.

  2. Add the shortened MP3 file to your iTunes library/playlist, then right-click on it in iTunes and choose “Convert Selection to AAC.” The clip will need to be an AAC file in order to be used as a ringtone. (The options available in the context menu regarding import format is dictated by the setting in Preferences/General/Import Settings. Choose the AAC encoder to get the option to convert to AAC.)
  3. Right-click on the AAC converted file and choose “Show in Windows Explorer” to locate the converted file.
  4. Change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r, and double-click the .m4r file to play it in the “Ringtones” folder in your music library. This file will be added to your iTunes library automatically. (Some are reporting a size limit for the music file, so if you have trouble, using a smaller file may help)
  5. Finally, click on your iPhone in iTunes, and go to the Ringtones section. You should now see your new ringtone.
  6. If you want to be sure about the sync, feel free to click “Selected ringtones:” and check off the file explicitly, though this shouldn’t be required.
  7. Now SYNC your phone. You’re Done!

Since both Windows and Mac OS X like to hide file extensions, the renaming part can be tricky. Make sure you aren’t just appending a file extension to the hidden one. On a Mac, choose “Get Info” in the Finder and make sure “Hide extension” is unchecked. In Windows, make sure the “Hide extensions for known file types” option in Windows Explorer is turned off.

When you sync your iPhone, you should see the new ringtones displayed in your phone’s sound settings.


Posted on November 18, 2009, in iPhone and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Itunes is very useful and good for this task, I have always used it for my Ipod but now I can use it for my new phone! Although I find it is a little heavy on system resources so a little too bloated for the pro Itunes audience.

  2. Hey Guyz, i’m currently using windows 7 home basic, I followed all instructions the problem comes in when I have to change the extension of the shortened track. It displays the name of the track and when I try changing the extension it writes the name of track.m4r but doesnt change

  3. This is good information, thank you verily. Now if only Apple would make a concession to allow two discrete computers which are authorized to the same itunes account make changes to the files on the iphone.

  1. Pingback: How to Make Custom iPhone Ringtones with iTunes 7.5 and Audacity « hyper-ballad’s blog

  2. Pingback: How to Make Custom iPhone Ringtones with Windows 7, iTunes 9 and … | Xtreme Ringtones

  3. Pingback: Audacity | sam.wells.

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