$0.99 iTunes ringtone creator no more?

It seems like only yesterday Steve Jobs introduced make-your-own ringtones in iTunes, where you could take a song you already bought, and pay again just to use it in cut-down form as a ringtone. And -- whoosh! -- now it's gone from iTunes 10?

The recording industry is no doubt to blame for the $0.99 price tag -- they manage to both charge consumers and stiff artists on those, keeping all the money for themselves -- but I'm guessing there were at least a few people for whom the ease of use was worth the price.

You can still roll your own ringtones outside iTunes, or purchase them pre-made by Apple (though reader John shows you may be subjected to a humorous iOS downgrade image, after the break).

I never used the ringtone creator myself, so I won't lament it, but surely someone is going to miss it? Right?


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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I have never paid for a ringtone because I have never actually bothered to set a custom ringtone. But if I did, wouldn't garage band allow me to edit a song down to the part I want for a ringtone? If not then what is the old school method?
  • I used the Ringtone maker, and was willing to pay 0.99 dollars for my own customized ringtone just the way I wanted it. Finally, after visiting this site here, I realize why I am no longer able to make my ringtones. I liked doing and paying for my own because I could decided what was in it, the length, etc etc.
  • I never used iTunes; I just made my own with iRinger.exe for Windows.
  • Yes you can create a ringtone in garage band as long as the song you're using is not a Protected AAC file (DRM protected iTunes Store purchase before the DRM-free iTunes Plus became standard)
  • I tried to create a ringtone in iTunes when I first bought my iPhone 3G a couple years ago, but had no luck. I think it only let you create ringtones from songs you bought via iTunes, and even that was limited.
    I've only bought a few songs through iTunes, one which I bought a few years earlier, specifically to make a ringtone out of it someday. I even "upgraded" the song to be DRM-free for $0.30 or so. When I tried to make a ringtone from that song, though, iTunes basically said "Nope, too late!"
    Apparently you only have a limited amount of time after buying a song during which you can make a ringtone out of it. After that slap in the face, I never tried to create another ringtone through iTunes. Thankfully, there are enough other methods that don't have such bizarre restrictions.
  • Never once made or used a custom ring tone. I can't stand hearing people's lousy music when their phones ring.
  • Probably gone for one reason only: not enough demand.
  • I just use GarageBand to make my ringtones
  • All of my ringtones were created in iTunes for free. On any song that was not AAC protected, you could just go to INFO and adjust the playtime for the song to 30 seconds. Create another ACC version, rename the duplicate from m4p to m4r and it will move it automatically into the ringtone section.
  • Google it - it's easy enough, you can do it with either songs you purchased or loaded from CD...I've created about 10, so saved $10...good luck
    First off, the ringtone cannot be over 40 sec. long.
    In iTunes, select the song you want to have as a ringtone, right-click "Get Info" go to "Options" and change the start and stop time accordingly to what you want to hear (remember 40 seconds) and hit "OK".
    Right-click the same file and "Convert selection to AAC"
    Now, right-click and copy the new file to a folder on your desktop (I created a "Ringtones" folder in the iTunes folder where your library is) and change the extension of the file .m4a to .m4r (which is what iTunes would pick up as a ringtone file).
    Go back to your iTunes and delete the 40 sec file, but make sure you click on "Keep File".
    After that, just double-click on the .m4r file and iTunes should open up and you will notice on the left hand side that it belongs to the "Ringtones" category.
    I confirmed that this still works in iTunes 10
  • Thats how i make my ringtones also. You don't have to make a new folder on desktop though. After you have made the 40 second version just switch your original file back to original times by using the get info function (so next time you play it it doesn't just play 40 seconds for you). The converted file will be in the same folder where original full length file is. The "create AAC version command" just creates a new 40 second clip and does nothing to the full length clip.
    Now when you locate it, just change the extension to .m4r and play it like any other file. It will automatically play it and move it to ringtones folder in your itunes music folder. And will be ready to sync.
    As for DRM protected files, all you have to do is buy a blank CD-RW and use that to burn these protected songs once. Rip those back into your library as unlocked mp3's or AAC's and do whatever you want with them. The CD-RW is perfect because you can re-use it to do that in batches of 10-15 songs.
  • I never Actually created one I just go to audiko.net and get freering tones from there
  • I use Garageband to make my ringtones. Quite easy.
  • Only utter fools would miss it. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would create it themselves for free.
  • @watcher - thanks for confirming you can still create ringtones by your instructions. That the way vie been making my own since I saw the demonstration on a YouTube clip.
    Apple what's the point in trying to take the whole market for yourself, we're always going to find away around you ;-)
  • @ Fizzl
    I hate that I originally copied and tried to correct some mistakes in that How To guide because that part about the folders still doesn't really make sense to me but people still get the gist of it. Thanks for telling people to remember to restore their original songs to the regular length. That seemed to slip my mind. I just figured people would use common sense to figure that one out but alas, common sense is surely not "common" to all. ;)
  • iTunes 10 was suppose to give you 90sec song preview instead of 30 sec, but the music folks via a publishing co stopped that. The music Industry is so far behind technology. It hurts both the user, and artist.
  • We'll just have to figure out another way to make our Lady GaGa ringtones, right Rene??
  • There's plenty of apps you can use to make ringtones, or u can jb and get them in cydia.
  • had to make ringtones myself anyway as we never got this feature in australia
  • I also noticed that when you plug in your iPhone and go to the apps tab and your picking the apps to sync, there is no longer a search bar to quickly search for the newly downloaded apps to sync to your iPhone
  • Phonezoo.com
    Free account and you can upload any song, drm protected or not. Once uploaded you can select the length of the song, the exact section of the song.
    You select your actual phone model and it encodes the file into the right format.
    Quick, easy, and free.
  • Watcher has it right. I made a batch of custom tones that way. Works great. I rarely hear them however as my phone is almost always on silent.
  • @Watcher and Fizzl---I tried this method and was able to easily create the file, but iTunes did not automatically recognize my renamed (switching "m4a" to "m4r") file as a ringtone. I then manually moved it to the ringtones folder, and it still didn't show up in the ringtones section of iTunes. What am I missing here?
  • I also never used this feature in iTunes... i mean on a mac you can make with garageband your ringtones free, and this also with the buyed songs from the musicstore (drm free)
  • I never paid for a ringtone ... why should I ? especially if I already brought the full length version. Ringtones shouldnt cost anything more than 25c if that much ...
  • Your holding it wrong. If youbwanr ringtones get an android phone...
  • Your holding it wrong. If you want ringtones get an android phone...
  • So, I wanna know why we can't make custom text ringtones. I was very disappointed when that wasn't made available with iOS4. Sucks we have to choose from the, what, ten? that are included with the phone
  • I use a tool to make ringtones long than 40 seconds for my iPhone 4. It rocks.
  • We've been creating and selling award-winning ringers for iPhone for over a year (www.iringpro.com). While GarageBand gets the job done, trust me, there's a lot more to it than just trimming a song and exporting it. Optimizing volume to get the best possible performance is tricky, and we've often seen "unpredictable results" when just changing the extension on a file instead of creating a tried and true .m4r
  • I use talking ringtones the tell me who's calling!
  • Have fun trying to sell something you can get for free Jeff. I have never had instability issues from creating my own ringtone or these 'unpredictable results' you speak of lol
  • RMaker from the App Store!