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This post describes a quick way to create your own custom iPhone ringtones using iTunes on your Mac …

  • Load your soundtrack into iTunes.
  • Create a temporary playlist to work in and then copy your soundtrack into this playlist.
  • Listen to the track and figure out the in (start) and out (stop) points of the just the part you want to convert into a ringtone — make a note of those times.
  • File>Get Info on the track and switch to the Options tab. Change the Start Time and Stop Time fields to the in and out points you worked out earlier (maximum 45 seconds as a ringtone for iPhone) and then hit the Ok button. Play the track to test that you have specified the right portion. Keep testing and adjusting the Start Time and Stop Time until you have the perfect segment specified.
  • Use Advanced>Create AAC Version to create a copy of just the part you selected for your ringtone. The original track will still be selected in iTunes. Switch to the duplicate. Play it to test it.
  • Hold down the option key and drag a copy of the new track out of iTunes onto your Desktop.
  • Find the .m4a file on your Desktop. Change the track’s file extension from .m4a to .m4r — when asked Are you sure you want to change the extension from “.m4a” to “.m4r”? click on the Use .m4r button. You now have a ringtone!
  • Double click on the track to open and load it into iTunes — where it’ll be stored in your Ringtone Library. Sync up your iPhone to to move the track to your phone where you may choose to use it.
  • If the track doesn’t have both a Name and an Artist listed in metadata, Get Info on the track and write something in both fields — failure to have both may cause the ringtone not to sync up with your iPhone.


Now it’s time to clean up behind yourself …

  • Finder: Delete the .m4r track on your Desktop.
  • iTunes: Find and select the original soundtrack, File>Get Info on it and switch to the Options tab and uncheck the Start Time and Stop Time — enabling the whole track to play from end to end again.
  • iTunes: Find the duplicate soundtrack you made, the short AAC version, and command + delete it — when asked Do you want to move the selected song to the Trash, or keep it in the iTunes Media folder? click on the Move to Trash button.
  • iTunes: Delete the temporary playlist you created to work in. Your original soundtrack should still be in your iTunes Music library and any other playlists you added it to.


The steps given here are somewhat detailed but the process is both easy and intuitive. When you read it through and use it once you’ll likely not need to refer to the instructions again. Enjoy!

Links My iPhone ringtones don’t show in settings, what now?



  1. Great.I have another(simpler?)way.Download the free app.”iRinger”on the computer where you have itunes. Copy your ringtones into itunes and then iRinger will walk you thru to create the desired ringtone.Highly reccomended.

    • iRinger from, an adware (or $10 donation) app for Windows only?

      I guess you could also run it in Parallels on a Mac — and then transfer the files out to the Mac.

      You can’t, however, beat the fact that if you have an iPhone you already have iTunes and the simple process outlined above is absolutely free.

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