Create custom ringtones from mp3s in iTunes
You might think that creating ringtones from imported music in iTunes is complex. It’s not. It’s pretty simple and it’s free. Assuming that you’ve imported your music from CD as mp3, it’s easy. Note, this doesn’t work for AAC files (files downloaded from the iTunes store). For this reason, it’s really a better idea to rip your music as mp3 format. I recommend this anyway strictly because not all mp3 players can play AAC. Yes, AAC may be a slightly better format, but it’s less compatible across the board. There are no digital music players that I’m aware of that don’t understand mp3 files. Should you decide to get rid of your iPhone or iPod and go with another digital player, your AAC files may not work on your new player. Worse, if you’ve purchased any DRM protected AAC files, these definitely won’t play. So, buying music from the iTunes store basically locks you into an Apple music player. Anyway, I digress.
Steps to creating ringtones
- Identify the music files you want to convert and ensure they are not in AAC format (use right-click Get Info and look at Where under the summary tab)
- Listen to the track and determine the start and end points you want for your ringtone. You might want to choose the chorus of the song, but make sure it totals less than 40 seconds.
- Use right-click Get Info and then under the Options tab, type in the start and end times. Times are mm:ss.frame format. If you supply mm:ss only, it assumes the frame is 0 (zero).
- Click OK to save your start and end settings on the song. Double click the song to ensure proper start and end.
- Right-click the song again and this time choose ‘Create AAC version’. If this option is missing from the menu, you will need to change your import settings to import as AAC (to allow creation of ringtones) through the iTunes’ Preferences menu (Edit->Preferences).
- Once iTunes is done creating the AAC version, drag the song from iTunes and drop it on the Desktop
- Now, rename the song from song.m4a to song.m4r
- Move song.m4r into a ringtones folder somewhere on your hard drive where you remember. Place all your created ringtones here. From that folder, drag and drop ‘song.m4r’ onto iTunes.
- A ‘Ringtones’ folder will now appear in iTunes. This ringtone will now be available on your iPhone or iPod Touch under ‘Custom’ once you sync.
For example, to create Aqua’s Barbie Girl ringtone, you would set the start to 0:26.2 and ending to 0:41. Note the .2 frame. The frame part allows you to fine tune exactly where the ringtone begins and ends. This part is a little bit fiddly if you want an exact start and end. Note, after you have set the start and end times, you should double click to listen to ensure the ringtone is starting and ending exactly where you want before you convert and rename the file and before syncing with your device.
When you’re done creating the AAC file, renaming it and dropping it on iTunes, be sure to right-click the original song (not the ringtone) and choose ‘Get Info’. Under options, uncheck start and end so the track goes back to the song’s real beginning and ending. You’ll want to do this before syncing your device again. Otherwise, your music will end up clipped on your device as well. So, don’t forget to reset the start and end times. Yeah, there’s more than a few steps, but it’s easy once you’ve done it a few times and it’s also a whole lot cheaper than buying ringtones.
If you import CDs regularly, don’t forget to change your Preferences back to mp3 when you go to import. Otherwise, the music will import as AAC.
That’s pretty much it. If you have questions, please leave a comment below.