iTunes Hack – Turn Any Song Into Your iPhone Ringtone for Free

Published on April 20, 2015

There's something fun about customization. Personally, I know I was always trying to personalize my ol' flip phones with decorative hard shell cases back in the day, and I still enjoy customizing backgrounds and arraging apps on my iPhone to make things more enjoyable.

But one thing that has always gotten me a little miffed is Apple taking the cornerstone on the ringtone market, charging $1.29 per ringtone in the iTunes store. The horror!

Luckily, Business Insider recently published a sweet iTunes hack that allows you to turn your favorite song into your ringtone, free of charge. So whether you're a Bohemian Rhapsody, Smooth Criminal, or Yellow Submarine kind of person, this trick has got you covered.

Here's how to do it.

How to Create A New Ringtone From iTunes:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Select the part of the song you want to use for your ringtone. (Tip: This is usually somewhere from 20-30 seconds depeding on your provider.) (And yes, I am using N*Sync's Bye Bye Bye for this demonstration. 'Cause that's how I roll.)

    iTunes Hack - Turn Any Song Into Your iPhone Ringtone
  3. Right-click on the song you want to use, select "Get Info" and select the Options Tab from that window
  4. Enter Start and Stop Times here and click "OK" (example above)
  5. Right-click the song again and select "Create AAC Version." You should now have 2 versions of the song in iTunes - the original, and your shorter selection

    iTunes Hack - Turn Any Song Into Your iPhone Ringtone
    Important Note: If this is not showing up for you in your right-click menu, go to iTunes > Preferences. Under the "General" tab, click "Import Settings." In the "Import Using" drop down menu, you need to select "AAC Encoder." Now "Create AAC Version" should appear in your right-click menu.

    iTunes Hack - Turn Any Song Into Your iPhone Ringtone
  6. Rickt-click the new/smaller file, and select "Show in Finder" (for Mac users) or "Show in Windows Explorer" (for PC users)
  7. Rickt-click the new/smaller file, select "Get Info." Under the "Name and Extention" drop-down, rename it to end in .m4r (instead of .m4a which it should be currently), and hit Enter

    iTunes Hack - Turn Any Song Into Your iPhone Ringtone
  8. Now, copy the .m4r file to your desktop, and then drag the .m4r file back to iTunes. (This new file will now appear in "Tones")

How to Install Your New Ringtone on Your iPhone:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer, and open up your iPhone settings within iTunes
  2. Select "Sync Tones" > "Selected Tones" > and select whatever new file you just created. Sync your iPhone

    iTunes Hack - Turn Any Song Into Your iPhone Ringtone
  3. On your iPhone itself, open "Settings" > "Sounds" > "Ringtone" > and then tap your new song

Finishing Up:

To make sure your original song will play properly in the future (and that your iTunes isn't getting cluttered) make sure you finish up your ringtone building with these steps.

  1. Open iTunes Back Up
  2. Delete your shortened version of the song
  3. Right click the original song, selecting "Get Info," selecting the Options tab from that window
  4. Uncheck start and stop times

That's all, folks! Enjoy your new (free) jams.

For more help, be sure to check out the original Business Insider video for a visual walkthrough.