I love my iPhone.  Let’s start with that.  I find I listen to a lot more music when I’m walking around town than I did before just because I’ve now got an iPod in my pocket too.  I take more pictures because I have a camera too.  But that doesn’t mean the iPhone doesn’t have its limitations.  One of the biggest ones for me is the fact that you can’t use the songs that are already on your iPhone as a ringtone.  Of course Apple doesn’t want this because they want you to create your own ringtone for $0.99 on iTunes.

Well, I went on a personal mission to figure out how to create a ringtone and many failed and frustrated attempts later I think I’ve got it down.  The instructions below are for a Mac, but I imagine they’re fairly similar on a Windows.  Here’s what you need to do:


  1. Trim out the part of the sing you want to use as your ringtone.  I use a freeware program called MP3 Trimmer.
  2. Fine tune your ringtone (about 10-15 seconds is ideal) and then save it as an mp3 on your desktop
  3. Open the ringtone mp3 with iTunes.  Double-click the mp3 file or from iTunes go to ‘File’ and choose ‘Add to Library…’ (thanks Ed)
  4. In iTunes, right-click the ringtone mp3 and choose Save As AAC.  (if this option doesn’t appear, open up iTunes preferences and change the importing options to be AAC).
  5. A new song will appear in iTunes.  Right-click it and choose Show in Finder.
  6. Rename the song in Finder, changing the extension from .m4a to .m4r.
  7. Copy the .m4r song to your Ringtones folder under where iTunes saves your music.  (This can usually be found by opening Finder, clicking Music in the left folder column and then scrolling down to the Ringtones folder).
  8. Open the .m4r song from the Ringtones folder using iTunes.  It should automatically be recognized as a ringtone.  You will know this because iTunes will display it in the Ringtones folder.
I hope that helps and that you finally make that “Who Can it Be Now?” ringtone that you’ve always wanted.
You can find the ringtones I’ve made in the right column of my blog.  Download the ringtone you want and start with step 7 of these instructions, copying it into your Ringtones folder.