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Tekzilla How To: Make Your Own iPhone Ringtones in iTunes

Tekzilla co-host Veronica Belmont explains the step-by-step process of converting an iTunes song into a ringtone... right in iTunes.

Check out the video for all the details, and Tekzilla Daily for many more helpful how-to's. Text highlights after the jump!

  1. Go to Preferences (under iTunes on Mac, Edit on Windows)
  2. Set import settings to AAC
  3. Select the song you want to use as your ringtone
  4. Right click and choose "Get Info" (cmd/ctrl-i)
  5. Pick the Option tab
  6. Set the start and stop time for your ringtone (no more than 30 seconds total!)
  7. Right click the song again and choose "Create AAC Version"
  8. When your 30 second extract pops up in iTunes (under the same name, check carefully!), select it
  9. Right click the new 30 second extract and choose "Reveal in Finder/Windows Explorer (cmd/ctrl-r)
  10. Change the extension from .m4a to .m4r
  11. Import or drag and drop it back into iTunes, and voila, you have your new ringtone!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 63 comments. Add yours.

Jordan says:

If you have a mac, Just drag a song into Garageband, crop, and then hit share>Ringtone to iTunes.

ryan says:

on my mac, after i convert it to an m4r and drag it into itunes, it just plays as a 30 second song, it doesn't turn into a ringtone.. help?

Renee says:

@ryan I had the same problem. I deleted the clip, but don't move to trash. Then "add to library".

ryan says:

that fixed it, thanks

Rey says:

Anyone heard of iRinger? Free, easier, and gives you more options like fade in/out, volume boost, etc.

Rey says:

I suck at links. Here it is again:

endrit says:

I've been creating ringtones from iringer for about a year now. LOL it's supper easy. iTunes way sucks. Thanks for another waste of time topic. U guys really suck!!!!!!

MattyFresh says:

Agreed way easier ways to make ring tones this is the Apple way apple u guys are only killin yourselves

AfroCane says:

Pity. iRinger has no mac version

Steve says:

Whenever I hear someone's phone play a song, I usually rip it out of their hands and chuck it into a brick wall. Especially if it's retard sh*t like rap of hip-hop.

MattyFresh says:

Steve ide love to see that lol

Tushar says:

Try audiko.
You can use it on a mac and windows. You can search for ringtones, so if you have a ringtone from a song you don't have it's very easy to do. There is a specific iTunes version. All you have to do is just click on it and iTunes automatically thinks it's a ringtone. You don't have to sign up for anything. It's awsome. If the link doesn't work, just google it but I'm sure it works.

Kevin says:

You said "@ryan I had the same problem. I deleted the clip, but don’t move to trash. Then “add to library”.
When you deleted the file did you keep the file in iTunes or move it to the Recycle Bin? How and where did you find the file after you deleted it?

Jordan says: is amazing!!! So easy it took me like a minute to get 5 free ringtones!

Mike says:

"If you have a mac, Just drag a song into Garageband, crop, and then hit share>Ringtone to iTunes."
Thats the way I make my ringtones to. So much easier.

ethan says:

VERY old news. I could do this back in July. Way to go Tekzilla. Hopefully, this will bring the loophole to light so apple can KILL MY RINGTONE COLLECTION.

imkindaofabigdeal says:

hey, i was wondering if anybody can help. i created the clip and imported it into itunes but i cant drag it into the ringtone section. could it be a problem when i did the conversion? in the step where you press ctrl r the clip pops up but there isnt an extension after the name of the clip so i just renamed it and put m4r after it. what am i doing wrong besides EVERYTHING???? please help.

Joe says:

i dont know how to convert an acc version to a m4a so i can convert it to a m4r... help

Andie says:

Wow this is awsome... I have tried those websites where you make your own. you have to upload a file then save etc. takes forever .. Follow the instrucionts its so easy... Actually after I hit ctr r and renamed it with right file ext. all I did was double click right there and poof its in my ringtones.

Nick says:

I can't change the extension on the file. It wont allow me to do it. what am i doing wrong?

Eddy says:

go to control panel,then Appearance and themes, click folder options, then hit file types, scroll down to the m4_ section and hit advanced for each, then check the always show extension option. you should be able to see the extensions after that.

V says:

Selfish little prick.

Matt Huk says:

if you can not change the file extension in windows because it is not shown, here is the solution. you have to tell windows to always show file extensions. to do this, go to my documents or any other folder. go to tools>folder options. click the view tab. untick "hide extensions for known file types." after you do this you will be able to view the file extension and change it.

J says:

Selfish little prick.

ipodtransfer says:

I ever wanted to create iTunes songs as our unique iPhone ringtone, but I can not know how to do.
A friend recommend me a best iPhone ringtone maker, which really let me create ringtone for iPhone from almost all popular video and audio. Moreover, it can create iPhone ringtone from iTunes protected songs.
Very supernatural!

Chet says:

Used Tekzilla directions. I'm on Windows Vista. I'm unable to change extension from .m4a to .m4r in Windows Explorer. Any suggestions? Please help!

Chet says:

Please disregard my earlier Q! I found my answer after reviewing Eddy's message above.

Claire says:

I followed the instructions, and Voila! I got 5 new ringtones added to my iPhone. Here's the thing - I came back a few days later and did the exact same thing and CAN NOT get the damned iTunes to take the new RT. They are no longer in lenght than the 'older' RT, and no more megs either, but no dice. Anyone have any ideas?

Adam says:

This doesnt work for me at all....i get my 30 second clip and then when i convert to AAC i try to rename it and it isnt in a .m4a file like it says it will be?.... any help is much appreciated

masterlymac says:

free ringtones for your iPhone

Rachael says:

Maybe I'm trying too hard...I just bought my 3G today and I'm overwhelming myself. I'm a brand new I-Phone user...
I followed all of the steps, sync'd with my laptop and it's showing as a song, not a ringtone. How do I fix that?

Kate says:

Anyone heard of ImTOO iPhone Ringtone Maker? My friend said it can create iPhone ringtone from many files.

Michael says:

I have got my ringtones on to my iPhone and selected them, but the phone defaults to the first standard ringtone (Marimba). I can hear them as a guide, but the phone doesnt seem to accept them as it should. Any suggestions?

yamy says:

Im doing all those steps, but im using windows vista, and doesnt give me the option to change the m4a to m4r.....
how do i do that?

reeesy says:

ahhh i love you guys haha im a bit computer illiterate still trying to work out the phone...thanks so much for your help!!

dudude says:

The best, easiest and fastest way to make custom ringtones for iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS. Use iPhone ringtone maker to turn any of your favorite music or sound into iPhone ringtone.

Roxi says:

I still have the AAC version on the computer, and I have double clicked the renamed version on the desktop. The ringtone is in the ringtone file, but when I go to transfer them to the iPhone, some of them are not listed in that list. When I sync, they don't sync to the phone. I must be leaving out a step, but which one?

kc says:

wow i was going to get an iphone but i believe it is going to be way to complicated for me. i guess i will stick with my instinct.

buddy lee says:

i used to convert an mp3 to an m4r, since the "renaming as .m4r" technique won't work for me(running windows xp). iringer wouldn't convert m4a's smoothly though, so try mp3's if that's not working.

OkieDi says:

Ok, I follow the instructions all the way to the very last one. When I drag and drop it into my iTunes folder, nothing happens. The file is there, but it doesn't magically appear in ringtones on either the iTunes in my computer, or on my phone. And I realize I've not synched, so, I'm not really expecting it to be on the phone. However, I would expect it to be in the iTunes program somewhere that would be a ringtone...I don't think we are to "Viola" yet. So, what do I do next??
Thanks in advance for the help!!

iPhoneRingtone says: is the can pick the clip of the song you want and make it fade in and out. and theres even more optionss!

smith says:

hi, someone recommend me iPhone Ringtone Maker. I used it to create ringtone clip from any video/audio and turn it into iPhone ringtone. works excellent. you can have a try.

Geebs says:

Hello all.
I've had no problems creatingand inputting the clip of the tune I require and also setting it as my ring tone. The only problem I am having is setting one ofr my message and another for an alarm.
I am presuming only one can be on 'custom' within ring tones at any one time.
If anyone knows how to upload more than one even just in ring tones so I can swap around, please enlighten me!
Have fun!!!

Singapore Ringtone says:

Hi, I found this page when i was searching for sites related to ringtones. I must tell you, your site is good. I like the logo too, its pleasing. I don't have the time at the moment to slowly read your website but I have bookmarked it and I also signed up for your RSS feed. I will return in a night or two. Thanks for an useful blog.

SockMonkey says:

Please help! After I convert the file to AAC and drag it to the desktop, ONLY the file name shows, not the .m4a. How do I make it show the .m4a to change it to .m4r? The only way I can see it as a .m4a is when I look in Properties, but I can't change it. Thanks for any help!

drake258 says:

The easiest way I've found so far is to use free online ringtone tool

Heather says:

I did all that up to step ten, and then when I locate the file, it is the same. It has no extention. It only says (inser sone name), and that's it. I have Windows Vista, and when I go under properties, it says it is an .m4a, but I can't figure out how to change it to an .m4r. Any help would be great.

Mandell Conway says:

@OkieDi im having the same problem u were having did u get it to work for you?

Viola says:

Why pay every time you want a ringtone when you already have songs in your music library? Making iPhone Ringtone has never been so easier with iPhone Ringtone Maker.This iPhone Ringtone Maker will help you to make your own . Key Functions:
Convert music or audio files of any format to iPhone ringtone- Almost all audio formats are supported including MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, OGG, M4A, RA etc. You can easily make your own ringtone for iPhone.
Convert videos to iPhone ringtone-It helps extract music from videos to M4R ringtone. The video formats supported include AVI, MPEG, WMV, MP4, FLV, MKV, H.264/MPEG-4, MOV, RM, M4V, VOB, ASF, 3GP, QT, MPV, etc.
And there is a Mac version for you also. iPhone Ringtone Maker for Mac. iPhone Ringtone Maker heples you make ringtone from your favorite video and audio collection and even music form library. This iPhone Ringtone Converter helps you set exact start time and end time of the segment you want and transfer it to iPhone ringtone without iTunes.
Designed for iPhone users, M4R Converter is currently the best Music to M4R Converter. Various formats supported, you can convert files to M4R from AVI, MPEG, WMV, DivX, MP4, WMA, WAV, M4A, MP3,etc. M4R Converter is easy to use for both veterans and beginners. It allows you to choose any part you want , convert to M4R and transfer the converted M4R ringtone to iPhone directly without iTune.

pattilemo275 says:

or you can do it the easy way. Go to and use their free online ringtone tool. After you use the tool to create your ringtone (in only 3 steps), it gives you a .m4r file which you put in iTunes and sync and you are done! You can create as many ringtones as you want! Remember if you have iTune songs (which are M4P format), convert them to MP3 first, there are many free tools to do this

lenyama235 says:

Another the easy way to do it is to go to mobilespin and use their free online ringtone tool. After you use the tool to create your ringtone (in only 3 steps), it gives you a .m4r file which you put in iTunes and sync and you are done! You can create as many ringtones as you want! Remember if you have iTune songs (which are M4P format), convert them to MP3 first, there are many free tools to do this

drumsergeant says:

When I right click the second time. There is no opton to create AAC version. I'm using OSX 10.4.11. I al;so have the newest version of iTunes. Any ideas?
Bill WIlson

elaina says:

i had this problem to... just click the song... go to advanced at the top of the screen and you should see the option to change it to ACC. :)

Ken Beckman says:

I am unable to change the format on my xp windows files. I don't see where I can change the .m4a to .m4r. Also, the control R command does nothing for me. It all seems to simple, it just won't let me change the file. I can only rename the song title. Help! Thanks!

Dan says:

ring.tone app makes your custom ringtone then e-mails it to you. Check it out.