Make Free iPhone Ringtones from Your MP3s in 5 Easy Steps

iPhone Custom RingtonesOK, so I guess the term “easy” is relative.  But I’m going to layout how I did it and hopefully it will help some people who’ve been wanting to create their own ringtones and not have to basically buy the song twice from iTunes.  It’s really ridiculous that there is no free, easy way to make ringtones for your iPhone.  Not to mention I was getting pretty sick of hearing Marimba constantly.

In order to do this you’re going to need Audacity, a free audio editor, if you don’t have it you should go download it.  The second thing you’ll need is a DRM free mp3, which means you cannot use any song you bought from iTunes (although iTunes is starting to sell DRM free songs).  Basically any song you backed up from a CD or you can also go to Amazon to buy your mp3s, they are all DRM free.  And the Amazon download tool will put your songs right into iTunes with no extra work for you.

So, once you have Audacity, or some other audio editing software of your choice, and a DRM free mp3, you’re ready to go.

Check out the step by step instructions after the jump.

1. Open your mp3 in Audacity and use the selection tool to highlight an approximately 15-20 second block of your song that you want to use for your ringtone.  You can play around with the selection tool and get the exact starting and ending points you want.  Once you have it where you want it go to Edit >> Trim, this will take away everything but your selection.  Once you’ve done that go to File >> Export Selection as WAV.  Make sure you change the name to something like songtitle_ringtone.wav so you can identify it later.


2. Once you have your WAV file you’re going to need to open it in iTunes.  If you have WAV files associated with iTunes then just double click  the file and it should open in iTunes.  If not you can just drag it into iTunes.  When you locate it, right click on the ringtone and choose “Create AAC Version”.  This will convert your WAV file into an iTunes-y file.


3. Once the file is finished converting to AAC drag it back to your desktop.  Now instead of having the file songtitle_ringtone.wav you’ll have songtitle_ringtone.m4a.  All you have to do is change the file extension from “m4a” to “m4r”, so you end up with songtitle_ringtone.m4r.

4. Before you add your ringtone back into iTunes you need to go back into iTunes and delete the original file you converted to AAC.  Once you have done that, double click on your new songtitle_ringtone.m4r to open it back in iTunes, it should automatically open in your ringtones folder.

5. Drag the ringtone from your ringtones local ringtones folder in iTunes to your iPhone, it should sync up automatically (just like dropping a song in there).  The next time you go into your settings >> sounds >> ringtones on your iPhone you should see a new custom setting with your new ringtone.  Enjoy!

I know some of this may seem a little convoluted and redundant but so far it’s the only way I’ve found to make free ringtones for your iPhone.  And, once you get the hang of it, it’s very quick.

If you have any questions or run into any issues, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try and answer your question as best as I can.


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