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How to create a ring tone for free using iTunes

You can create ringtones for free with iTunes using the steps outlined below, and can upload them to your cell phone with a USB data cable or a Bluetooth connection.

I'm assuming you already have your song loaded in iTunes, and you can refer to other articles in the iPods and MP3 Players forum if you need instructions for loading songs into iTunes from your iPod or a music CD.

1. Set the song length to about 30 seconds

Right-click on the song in iTunes and select "Get Info" from the pop-up menu. Choose the Options tab and change the Stop Time to 0:30 for 30 seconds of play time.

This won't change or damage the actual file; it just tells iTunes to only play the first 30 seconds of the song (plenty of time for you to answer your phone). You can change this setting back to full length after you create your ring tone.

2. Configure the iTunes MP3 Encoder

Configure the MP3 Encoder built into iTunes to use 22khz and mono encoding (the format used by cell phone ring tones).

Click the Preferences menu and then choose the Advanced tab.

Click "Importing" and then choose "MP3 Encoder" from the Import Using drop down.

Choose "Custom..." from the Settings dropdown, which will display an "MP3 Encoder" dialog like the one shown below.

3. Convert the song to a ringtone

Convert the song to ringtone MP3 format by right-clicking it in iTunes and selecting "Convert Selection to MP3" from the popup menu.

iTunes will make a copy of the song and you'll see that the time will change to 30 seconds.

Send the ringtone to your phone using a usb data cable or Bluetooth.

NOTE: Do not select "Create Ringtone", as this option will charge your account, and also only works with songs you have purchased through the iTunes store.

Here's the finished ring tone I created: ACDC-ringtone-you-shook-me-all-night-long.mp3

4. Transfer the ringtone to your phone

You'll need to download software to transfer your new ringtone to your phone via Bluetooth or a USB data cable, something phone manufactures don't include with their phones.

You'll also be able to use the software to transfer pictures and videos, so it will quickly pay for itself after just a few free transfers.

I recommend a program called DataPilot that works with a USB data cable to transfer ringtones to your phone - it works with all major phone types and lets you transfer multiple ring tones, photos, videos, contacts, etc at a time.

When you run DataPilot, it will open a file explorer window and you'll be able to copy any music files from your hard drive to your phone.

iTunes stores it's music files in your "My Music" folder in Windows XP (under "My Documents"), and in your user folder in Windows Vista (e.g. C:\Users\rickysays\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music).

You'll use DataPilot's file explorer to open this folder and from there you'll be able to select music files and transfer them to your phone.

5. Set your new ringtone as your default ringtone

Now that the ringtone is on your phone, you can set it as your default ringtone.

For the Motorola Razr, this involves entering Settings and selecting Ring Styles.

Choose the second option, which ends with "Detail", and scroll to find your ringtone (hint, scroll up instead of down, since the newly added ringtone will be at the end of the list, and scrolling up will pick up the last item on the list).

Other phones will have slightly different menu selections, but the concept will be the same - find the audio file on your phone and then set it as your default ringtone.

if my phone doesn't have blue tooth and i don't have a USB cable, is there any other way i can download the ringtone in my cell phone?

The other way is to email it to your phone, which is described in this article:

How to transfer photos and ring tones to your cell-phone

Keep in mind though that your wireless provider will charge you for data transfers when you send files via email. AT&T charges 10 cents per KB of file size, so if you send a 75KB picture file (typical size) then you'll be out 75 cents.

I really hope this stuff works! ITs totally awesome that I could turn any of my songs into ringtones...I'm soo sick of ALLTEL making you pay a buttload of money for crappy ringtones that have muffled sound or are like 5 seconds long!! So I guess I'll try this out...wish me luck! There might be some money tricks

I follow exactly what you have said... but when i click options: the only thing that lets me change was media kind: music or audiobook. Is there something wrong?

my phone doesn't have a USB cable or a Bluetooth.how do i download the album as my ring tone.

itunes won't let me convert the files to mp3. it says they can not be converted because protected files can not be converted to other formats. how do i get around this?

Free ringtones yeah but the guy wants a fiver a week off of you an he dont say nothing about this in this page RIP OFF !!!!!

Not sure what you mean here. This is completely free and no payment is required to make ringtones using iTunes and the instructions above.

hello, i have followed you guide exact and i got the 30 sec tune on my phone but it wont let me set it as a ring tone.. please help =D

I have the same problem... i got bluetooth to transfer onto my phone, but to get it as a ringtone, it is having a problem


its pretty much just like the voyager

I just did this and sent it to my lg Touch (VX11000); when I had my computer and phone linked by bluetooth I picked "send file" on the computer bluetooth menu; my phone accepted it and filed it under sounds. Scrolling through the sounds, I found it, and the phone gives you the option to set it as a ringtone or alert.

The first time I did it, I browsed my phone from my mac, then dragged the song file off my mac onto the screen that came up of phone folders. My phone took the file as a song, however, and once it does that you can't make it a ringtone.

I have have the USB cable but I dont have a transfer program and i cant afford to spend the money on one. I also am not allowed to charge to the phone bill for things like e-mail. Any other way?

my plan does not incude web but i have a usb cord and an mp3 cell phone , is there a way i could transfer itune songs as ringtones to my cell phone....

When you run DataPilot, it will open a file explorer window and you'll be able to copy any music files from your hard drive to your phone.

iTunes stores it's music files in your "My Music" folder in Windows XP (under "My Documents"), and in your user folder in Windows Vista (e.g. C:\Users\rickysays\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music).

You'll use DataPilot's file explorer to open this folder and from there you'll be able to select music files and transfer them to your phone.

iTunes won't let me convert my file to MP3. Says I can't convert, "protected files can't be converted to other formats"
...am I missing a step?

For music that you buy on iTunes, they lock it with DRM protection that keeps you from converting it to an mp3 format (which would allow you to play it anywhere, and I really don't understand why they're so concerned about that - after all, it's music that you paid for, so you should be able to play it wherever you want to play it).

I recently wrote an article that covers how to bypass the DRM protection. Give it a try, and you'll be able to listen to your itunes music on your cell phone or anywhere else.

And what program is there comparable to Ringtone Media Studio 2 for those of us who are on a Mac platform? Since the RMS page shows it is only a PC program...

SO, what software is out there for Mac that is comparable to Ringtone Media Studio???
Did we ever find out?

Hope this works! I'm sick of ALLTEL making us pay a buttload of money for crappy ringtones that are muffled or are 5 seconds long!! I'll try this itunes thing out! wish me luck!

really cool walkthrough!

one thing to add: to have the new 30 second mp3 show up in iTunes as a ringtone, right click -> show in finder -> change file extension to .m4r -> reimport that into iTunes. It should now show in the ringtones section to sync from iTunes -> iPhone.

I haven't tried it recently (i will when i get home from work :) ), but this should still work.


You're awesome, thank you!! This worked perfectly, if I only found this article earlier. I've been trying to do this for some time now and was only successful after reading your article. Again, THANK YOU :) Me love you long time ahahah

You are a genius. Thanks so much! Followed your instructions and it worked like a champ.

i was at Best Buy today buying a bluetooth adapter for my computer and i asked the guy there if i was able to use it to send ringtones to my phone and he told me it will work as long as i'm able to send a ring tone to someone elses phone using my phone, which i can't, so will this still work even though i can't send a ringtone to another phone?

What type of phone do you have, and which service provider are you using?

The Sanyo SCP-7050 supports Bluetooth, so you should be able to transfer ring tones to it from your computer using Bluetooth.

hey Ricky! it still won't send through bluetooth using my pc, does it have to be a certain format for it to work?

does charging the ipod by usb will weaken the power of the computer as the same need to be charged by only computer.

No, charging an ipod by usb doesn't weaken the power of the computer.

If you're charging an ipod from a laptop that's not plugged in, your laptop battery will drain much faster, but if it's plugged in then both will charge normally and the laptop's power will not be depleted.

i went to "edit" then "preferences" then "advanced," but i don't have an "importing" option?!?!?! please help. i have the latest -itunes 8.0.2.

Apple changed the location of the import settings in version 8 of iTunes. You still get there from the "Edit" -- "Preferences" menu, but then look under the "General" tab instead.

You'll see an option for "When you insert a CD", and an "Import Settings" button that will let you choose the mp3 encoder.

I can't seem to get to the iTunes MP3 Encoder built into iTunes to use 22khz and mono encoding (the format used by cell phone ring tones). I followed your directions & in my advanced tab I don't have the option "Importing" therefore can't choose "MP3 Encoder" from the Import. I have saved a 30 second file & it worked on my blackberry curve, however it is full of static sounds and not very clear. I am using a PC, w/iTunes 8.0.2 and I can't find the encoder....please help...thanks!

Hey! It's because the newer versions of iTunes moved it! I was wondering the same thing, but quickly found it.

It's under the General tab. Somewhere in the middle it says:

"When you insert a CD:" blah blah blah.

To the right of that you should see a button labeled:

"Import Settings..."


Hope that helps =)

thanks so much for the help with making the rigntone. but i have one problem, i need to put the ringtone on my phone fo free. i have a usb cord for my phone, and a memory card adaptor. but, i don't know what file to drag the ringtones into. help please!

Hey so I have the Pantech Duo, it runs on Windows Mobile I can transfer files and everything... What seems to work only is when the file is

Hi Rick, everything worked, transfered the file via bluetooth to my lg env2, but the ringtone is in my sounds and wont let me use it as a ringtone, what did i do wrong or how do i get it to be my ringtone, there is no option to ad as my ringtone, thanks!

Hey! So I just wanted to thank you because everything worked great! As for the person above, I too have the env2. Just attach the sound file to a text message to yourself, and when you open the file it will let you save it directly as a ringtone. Anyways, thanks again! Worked perfectly!

So, so far, everything worked until I had to reimport the song back into iTunes after converting it to a .m4r so that I could put it on my iphone. I can add other music to the library, but iTunes won't add the homemade ringtone to my itunes library. Any ideas on how to get through this?

how do you import it so it goes into the ringtone selection on itunes to you can sync it to your iphone? (newest version of itunes)

ok i followed the first step going to the info box and setting the time but after that im lost can you send me a break down of what you are talking bout i cant find the prefrences that you speak of dont know what this conversion process you speak of is im just completly lost after step 1 if you can help that would be great thank you and have a blessed day

Hey I operate on windows xp and my preferences page looks different do you know how I would go about this from that step on using windows xp


I have a plan through alltel. I have been making and using my own songs as ringtones for a while. I have just recently signed up with alltel and none of my techniques have worked. i have the data cord, and it won't recognize any of my person audio files as ringtones. i can play them and listen to them, but when i got to change the ringtone it says i have no audio files on my sd card. i went to myxer.com and they sent me a text message with a link that i follwed and when i went to click on the link from my phone it didn't do anything. I'm just starting to think that Alltel won't let you do it for some reason. which is fucked.

if there is a way to get around it, i'd sure like to know. email me plz


This dosen't work on PCs! Please figure out a way to do it on a PC! Please?

I tried to send it to my phone via email because while my phone has bluetooth, my laptop doesn't. However, the phone won't let me open the messege. It's an Alltel Hue. Is there anyway to fix this? Am I send the email wrong, or something? I attached the file like I would for any other.


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