IPhone ringtone: how to set music as a ringtone

Do you like the hit of the moment so much that you want to use it as a ringtone on your iPhone? This is not possible directly in iOS, but a few clicks are enough to achieve it through a PC or Mac.

Tired of the Marimba ringtone - present since the first generation of iPhone released in 2007… - or all the other ringtones delivered in iOS? Do you prefer to use an excerpt from a song that you particularly enjoy? Of course, you can purchase ready-made files right from your iPhone through the iTunes Store. But the price is something to cool off since this extract is sold as expensive (1,29 euros) as the entire title ... 

So why pay when three minutes are enough to take the few seconds you like the most from your favorite piece of music and turn them into a ringtone for your device? To achieve this, you only need two things: a PC with iTunes or a Mac with Apple's Music app, and the audio file from which you will make your ringtone. It can be a file in MP3, AAC, AIFF or even MP4 format. But, in any case, be careful: if your piece of music is protected by a DRM (Digital Right Management, a digital lock that prohibits copying), you will not be able to use it to transform it into a ringtone for your iPhone.

How to make a ringtone for iPhone?

If the iTunes app has bowed out on macOS, it is still present on Windows. It is thanks to it that you will create your ringtone from an audio file on PC. On Mac, the operations are appreciably similar, but they are carried out within the Music app, which partly replaces iTunes. And, rest assured, the operation remains risk-free and does not alter the original music file in any way.

  • If you haven't installed it already, or if you have removed it, recover iTunes and install it on your PC. The app is listed in the Microsoft Store catalog.

Download iTunes for 64-bit Windows

Download iTunes for 32-bit Windows

  • Launch iTunes. If you've never used it, the app displays a welcome panel. Click on Accept. On Mac, the Music app is installed by default. Launch it.
  • Your music library is displayed. If your audio file is not already there, drag it into the central window. The title is then copied to iTunes. Otherwise, choose the title that suits you from your library.
  • Right-click on the desired song. From the context menu, choose Song Information on Windows or Read the information on macOS.
  • In the window that appears, activate the tab Options.
  • Now you need to define the exact excerpt of the song you want to keep as a ringtone. This can only last a maximum of thirty seconds. In our example, we'll use the first twenty seconds of the song. Check the box beginning and leave the field at 0:00. Check the box end and indicate in the adjacent field 0: 20,000 (corresponding to 0 minutes and 20 seconds. Validate by clicking on OK.
  • If the extract you want to recover is in the middle of the song, click Cancel. Start playing the title by clicking on the button Play then note the moment which will materialize the start of the ringing by using the counter nested at the top left of the reading screen. Then repeat the previous step by entering this data in the field beginning. Add up to 30 seconds to the time indicated in the field end.
  • Now select your song in the iTunes or Music window. Then pull down the menu File and choose Convert and Create an AAC version.
  • A new file is created and displayed just below the original song. Right-click on the original file again and choose Song Information on Windows or Read the information on macOS. Go to options and uncheck the boxes beginning et end so that the next reading of this title is not limited to twenty seconds. Validate by OK
  • Now click on the newly created twenty second song with the right mouse button and choose View in Windows Explorer on Windows or Show in Finder on macOS.
  • The new audio file is in m4a format. Ringtone files for iPhone on the other hand adopt m4r format. It is therefore necessary to modify the file extension.

On macOS

  • Just click on file icon to select it, then press the Starter on the keyboard to change it. Replace m4a by m4r and press the key Starter of the keyboard. In the window that appears, click Use m4r.

On Windows

  • From Windows Explorer, click on the menu File and choose Options.
  • In the window that appears, click the tab Displays and Signage. In the list of options below, uncheck the box Hide extensions of files of known type and validate by OK.
  • In Windows Explorer your song now has the .m4a file extension. Select it and press the key. F2 on the keyboard so that you can rename it. Replace m4a by m4r and press the key Starter of the keyboard. Click on Yes in the dialog box that appears. Your ringtone is ready to join your iPhone.

How to copy ringtone to iPhone?

Your ringtone file is ready: all you have to do is copy it to your iPhone to enjoy it. The operation takes place in iTunes on PC and in the Music app on Mac or from the Finder (we will retain the first option here).

  • Turn on the iPhone and unlock it. Connect the device to the PC or Mac using the USB-Lightning cable. If an alert pops up on the iPhone screen, tap To allow.
  • On the PC, switch back to iTunes, on the Mac, switch to the Music app. Your iPhone appears in the left pane of the software. From Windows Explorer or macOS Finder, drag your audio file in m4r format onto the name of the iphone. It is instantly copied to the right place on the device.
  • Disconnect the iPhone from the computer and then open the Settings. Press on Sounds and vibrations then in the Sounds and sequences of vibrations section on Alarm.
  • Your new ringtone is at the top of the list. Press on her name to select it and make it your default ringtone.
IPhone ringtone: how to set music as a ringtone

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