Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Make your own iPhone ringtones for free using iTunes

It's Christmas so here's a little gift for you. This is a step-by-step tutorial showing you how to make your own iPhone ringtones for free, meaning you don;t have to pay over the odds prices for expensive ringtone in the iTunes store. All you need is iTunes and your music library.

The tutorial was written on a Mac and the screengrabs refer to a machine running OS 10.6.2 but it's a very similar process for Windows users. You can view the images over on Flickr here. You should also be able to see full size images there if you need them. I start with the presumption tht most people will have their music library setup as .MP3 files. If your music library is mainly .AAC files then this tutorial is not for you. The same method can be employed but there is an extra level of complexity involved which involves converting files to any other format

And so, on we go...

Step 1

Open iTunes
itunes a

Step 2

First thing we need to do is setup iTunes. Go to Preferences. On Windows, select Edit. On Mac select iTunes or hold "cmd+,"
itunes b pref

Step 3

A pop-up should have opened on the "General" tab. Navigate down to the "import Settings"
itunes c pref general copy

Step 4

We need to make sure that files will be imported and encoded as .AAC files (Apple's preferred format for the iTunes store). Make sure the "Import Using" field reads "AAC Encoder" - the "Setting" field can be a number of different settings but the "iTunes Plus" setting is a decent enough quality setting for a ringtone. Select OK and go back to iTunes main dashboard
itunes d pref general import

Step 5

Find a song in your library that you want to turn into a ringtone. Right click the track and select "Get Info" (Mac keyboard shortcut: "cmd+I")
itunes e get info

Step 6

A popup should open
itunes f get info

Step 7

Select the "Options" tab and pay attention to the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" fields
itunes g get info options

Step 8

Ringtones can be up to 30 seconds in length. In the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" fields enter the time frame from your song of choice and ensure the boxes to the left are ticked. I've just selected the first 30 seconds of your chosen song but you can pick the middle or the end - whatever you like. Select "OK"
itunes h get info options 2

Step 9

Back at the main iTunes interface, right-click on your track and select "Create AAC Version". iTunes will now create a 30 second (or whatever time frame you selected) version of the track in the .AAC file format
itunes i create AAC

Step 10

After a few seconds you should see two versions of your track in the iTunes library - one for each file format. The new file will be smaller in file size and shorter in length
itunes j two files
Step 11

Right-click on the new .AAC file and select "Show in Finder". There should be a similar command in the menu for Windows machines.
itunes k show in finder

Step 12

There should new be two copies of the file on your machine, with the one you want being highlighted. They should be distinguishable by their file extension. We are looking for the .m4a file
itunes l in finder

Step 13

Select the file name as we are going to edit the extension. Mac users can just press "Enter"
itunes m change file name 1

Step 14

Change the .m4a file type to .m4r
itunes n change file name 2 copy

Step 15

You may get a popup at this point, asking if you want to change the file type - which you do!
itunes o filen name copy

Step 16

Now, import the new file into iTunes by either dragging or double clicking. The file should now appear and the file kind will read as "Ringtone". Drag the file onto you iPhone or select it as a file to be synched when your iPhone is connected
itunes p ringtone copy

Step 17

That should be it! You might want to do a little bit of house-keeping by going back to the original .MP3 and going into it's "Options" tab and deselect the "Start Time" and "Stop Time". If you donlt do this, you iTunes libraary will only ever play the selected file as an abridged version!
itunes q clean up copy

Hope that was easy to follow. Go and have fun

Merry Christmas!


Van said...

Thanks for the tip. The only problem is now that I have made the ringtone it only shows up as a 30 second version of the song on my phone and I can't assign it as a ringtone. Do you know how to fix that?

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