Setting up a ringtone in iTunes
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I read your article on adding third-party ringtones to the iPhone. I am using an iPhone 5. I added a third-party James Bond theme as a ringtone but it appeared in iTunes under Music. How do I move it to the Tones folder to add it as ringtone and thereafter synchronize it?
A: Unfortunately, even after all of this time, Apple hasn’t done anything to make the process of creating ringtones easier, and adding your own tracks as ringtones still requires a few manual steps.
The first thing to keep in mind is that iTunes and the iPhone only support ringtones in the AAC file format, and a track must be no longer than about 30 seconds or so to be able to be used as a ringtone.
If the third-party ringtone you’ve downloaded is already short enough and in the AAC format, with something like an M4A extension, then all you actually need to do is rename it to have an M4R extension before importing it into iTunes. For example, “James Bond Theme.m4a” becomes “James Bond Theme.m4r.” Upon import, this will automatically appear in the “Tones” section, read to be synced to your iPhone from there.
If your third-party ringtone is much longer than that, or is in another format such as MP3, you will need to trim and/or convert it first so that it meets these requirements. The good news is that you can actually do this using iTunes, although it’s not a simple one-button process. If it’s a longer track, you will basically need to set the start and stop times to select the portion you want to use as a ringtone and then use iTunes’ built in conversion feature to create a new file in the proper AAC format.
Start by going into your iTunes preferences and choosing “Import Settings” from the General screen, and ensure that you’re set to use the “AAC Encoder.”
If the existing ringtone or track is longer than about 30 seconds, you will also then need to choose the track and select Get Info from the iTunes File menu. On the Options screen, select a “Start Time” and “Stop Time” that covers whichever third-second portion of the track you want to use. Note that you may be able to get away with up to 40 seconds, depending on the track, but staying at around 30 seconds is usually a safe bet unless you’re willing to repeat the process by trial and error.
Note that you can use fractions of a second here to get your selection just right, and can simply play the track back to preview it before actually converting. When you’re satisfied, simply choose Create New Version, Create AAC Version from the iTunes File menu to create the new shortened version of the track. The new file should appear in your iTunes library under the same name as the old one.
At this point, you will need to rename and reimport the new file to make it appear in the Tones section. The easiest way to do this is to just drag-and-drop the track directly from iTunes to a Windows Explorer or Mac Finder window, or simply to your desktop. This creates a copy of the file, which will have an M4A extension. Simply rename this to an M4R extension and double-click on it to re-import it into iTunes, where it will appear in the Tones section and be usable as a proper ringtone.
Once you’re satisfied with this, you can go back and delete the converted version from your Music section in iTunes, as this is essentially a duplicate copy. Further, if you started with a normal music track, you will probably want to go back into the properties for that track and turn off the “Start Time” and “Stop Time” settings so that the complete track plays properly the next time you want to listen to it.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Report confirms legitimacy of at least some of the stolen iCloud credentials being held for ransom
- New (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone SE, and 9.7” iPad now available to order
- Apple Store down again ahead of new iPad, Product(RED) iPhone launch
- Apple acquires automation app Workflow
- Nintendo updates Super Mario Run, makes more courses available for free play
- Apple confirms iCloud and Apple ID systems have not been breached in response to hacker threat
- Hackers claim to have access to millions of iCloud accounts, demand ransom from Apple
- Apple’s Siri in the running to voice control room functions at Marriott’s Aloft hotels
- Apple releases iTunes 12.6 with new cross-device movie rental feature
- Apple introduces Clips video app
- ExoLens PRO with Optics by ZEISS Wide-Angle Lens Kit
- Blue Sadie Headphones
- Circle with Disney Parental Control and Internet Filtering System
- Pioneer Rayz Plus Lightning Connector Earphones
- BEEM United BeMe D200 Lightning Connector Earphones
- Jam Audio JAM Xterior Max Rugged Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- HiFiMAN Edition S Headphones
- Divoom Timebox Mini Bluetooth Speaker
- iClever BoostSound BTS-09 Bluetooth Speaker
- Soundcast VG1 Bluetooth Speaker
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10