Category Archives: Ringtones

How to Make Custom iPhone Ringtones with iTunes 7.5 and Audacity

Shortly after the release of iTunes 7.5 users noticed that the main difference between ringtones and regular audio files were their file extensions. Regular AAC files have the file extension .m4a, while ringtones use the file extension .m4r.

iTunes 7.5 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. Pick the 20 to 30 seconds you want to use as your ringtone, and save the file as an MP3.

  1. Add the shortened MP3 file to your iTunes library, 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.
  2. Right-click on the AAC converted file and choose “Show in Windows Explorer” to locate the converted file.
  3. 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)
  4. Finally, click on your iPhone in iTunes, and go to the Ringtones section. You should now see your new ringtone.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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