I don’t pay for ringtones… ever. Why should I when it is so easy to turn my favorite song or other sound file into a ringtone using tools that are readily available on the internet for FREE? So, why are you paying for ringtones? Because you don’t know how to create them yourself. Well, I am going to teach you how to create ringtones in MP3 format. Then, I will show you how to convert them for use on an iPhone. It’s simple, it really is!

What You Need:

  1. A song or sound file on your computer. It can be in WAV or MP3 format. You cannot create the ringtone directly from a CD. You will have to rip the file(s) to your computer first.
  2. An audio editing program. If you don’t have one, Audacity is a really excellent program and it is free. If you will be working with MP3 files, you will also need the LAME MP3 encoder.
  3. If you want to create ringtones for the iPhone, you will also need iTunes.

What You Need To Do:

  1. Launch Audacity and open the song/sound file you want to make into a ringtone.
  2. Select a segment of the file you want to make into a ringtone. Your selection should be 30 seconds or less since your phone will stop ringing after about 30 seconds anyway. There is no need to take up any extra memory space and some phones require that the file be smaller than 300KB before it can be used as a ringtone.
  3. From the file menu, select Export Selection.
  4. When the save window comes up, click the Options… button. To create a file less than 300KB, set the Bit Rate Mode to Constant and the Quality at 80 kbps. You will only ned to do this the first time. This setting stays until you change it.
  5. Save the file to a folder on your hard drive. I recommend creating a folder specifically for your ringtone files. I also recommend naming them in such a way that they can be identified as a ringtone by the file name. I use the format RT-Title.mp3.
  6. When you click Save, a Metadata (ID3 tag) window will open. You can leave it as is but I usually add (RT) to the front of the track title and set the Genre to “Ringtone.” That way, it’s identified as a ringtone file all the way around and you won’t accidentally add it to a playlist and be surprised later.
  7. Once your file is saved, just transfer it to your phone and select it as the ringtone.
  8. I told you it was easy.

If You Have an iPhone:
The iPhone doesn’t use MP3 files as ringtones. There are a couple of extra steps you need to take to create a ringtone for an iPhone. In Windows, you will need to unhide known file extensions. To do so, open the file manager/my computer. Click on Tools (or Organize in Windows 7) and select Folder and Search Options. Click on the view tab, then uncheck the box next to “Hide extensions for known file types.”

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Open your file manager and navigate to your ringtone folder.
  3. Drag your ringtone file(s) into iTunes.
  4. Locate it/them in the songs list.
  5. Right-click (or the Apple equivalent) the file and select Create AAC Version.
  6. In your ringtone folder you will now have a file with the same name as your mp3 file but with an m4a extension.
  7. Right-click the m4a file in the file manager and select Rename.
  8. Change the file extension to m4r (change the a at the end to an r). Accept any warnings about changing the file extension.
  9. Double-click the file and it will be added to your available ringtones in iTunes. Now all you have to do is sync it to your phone and it will be available as a ringtone.