Guide To Free Ringtones Using Only iTunes (PC)


Germansuplex

New member
I posted this in another thread, but thought it would be better to have its own for discussion and to be more easily found.

You can still make your own ringtones from within iTunes using any song you want without any other software and, more importantly, free of charge.

Now that you have the ringtone menu on the left where you can view your ringtones, this makes it easy. Here are the step by step directions. It looks long, but it's very simple for people with basic knowledge of iTunes.

1. Make sure that in Preferences -> Advanced -> Importing, you have AAC set as the filetype. 128kbps is perfect, any higher quality probably won't make a difference on the iPhone's speaker.
2. Find any non-protected song in iTunes you want to use for the ringtone.
3. Use the Get Info -> Options -> Start/Stop times to edit the mp3/music file to the start/stop times of your choice. I use 30 second clips or less, though you could probably use longer clips. I have yet to try it.
4. Right-click on the track you edited and choose "Convert Selection To AAC".
5. Right-click on the original song file and clear the start/end times by unticking the checkboxes so they'll go back to playing as normal.
6. Right-click on the new clip you made (it should appear directly under the original song and have the length that you created, i.e. 30 seconds) and choose "Show in Windows Explorer". THis opens a browser window with the new clip you created. Minimize the window.
7. Now, right-click on the file IN iTunes and choose "Remove" then "Keep File". You want to delete it from the library, but keep it on your computer.
8. Bring up the browser window with the new file again, and rename the extension of the file from ".m4a" to ".m4r", i.e. "ringtone.m4a" to "ringtone.m4r". If you don't have extensions showing in windows, you will have to go to tools -> folder options -> view -> and untick the "Hide extensions for known file types box". This will show you the extensions of files so you can rename it.
9. Double-click on the file and it will be added to the ringtones menu in iTunes. Click on the ringtone graphic on the left side of iTunes and you should see the song in the list.
10. Right-click on the ringtone and choose "Show in Windows Explorer".
11. Rename the file's extension BACK to ".m4a", i.e. "ringtone.m4r" to "ringtone.m4a".
12. Double-click on the ringtone in iTunes. iTunes can't find the file because you've changed the name, and will prompt you to take action to correct the problem. Choose to find the song, and show iTunes where it is. It will still be in the ringtones folder and now you can sync it to your iPhone.

If you follow these instructions, they work. This may have been the workaround described by "rename the m4r to m4a" that was out a week ago, but the directions weren't clear. This should help.

Alternatively, you could first use a third-party app to add fade-in, fade-out and effects to your ringtones before importing them into iTunes and following the instructions above.

You can also create playlists with songs from the iTunes music store. Simply make a playlist, and drag songs from the store to the playlist. Export the playlist as a text file, and open it. It will show you links to the clips. Copy and paste the links into an explorer bar in a browser to download the clips, and use the steps above to convert them to ringtones.

To conserve space on your iPhone, especially if you plan on using lots of ringtones, you can striple lyrics, album art, and non-useful tag info from the ringtones to keep the file size down before syncing to the iPhone. Since the ringtones are standard AAC files, the tag info remains intact from the original file you used to make them.

I find it hard to pay .99 cents per ringtone for songs I legally own, especially when they're nothing more than clips of songs I own. I don't blame Apple, as it's obviously the record companies. Whether this workaround will be fixed in future iTunes updates remains to be seen.
 
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alfredog1976

New member
Thanks for the guide Germansuplex!

For those who aren't afraid to use the command line, you can skip steps 8-12 and after you convert your ringtone to an aac file, get the program Atomic Parsley and run the following in the command line:

AtomicParsley <your ringtone>.m4a --stik value=14

You should be able to double click that and it should be added directly to your Ringtones folder in iTunes.

There's an even easier method (for MAC users only at this time) using a program called "Ringtonator". Does the same thing as above, but with a nice GUI.

http://www.tuaw.com/2007/09/13/ringtonator-a-gui-for-the-ringtone-hack/#comments
 

alfredog1976

New member
deftdrummer1 said:
bummer, I was just about to try it too. Good old apple always ruining things for its loyal customers.
Keep or re-install either 7.4 or 7.4.1. I won't be upgrading iTunes anytime soon :)
 

deftdrummer1

The power that be.
alfredog1976 said:
Keep or re-install either 7.4 or 7.4.1. I won't be upgrading iTunes anytime soon :)
yeah if it ain't broke why fix it? Especially when customers know an "update" is really code for "gotchya now!"
 

Germansuplex

New member
Yeah, this guide is now null and void. I was digging my ringtone too. I only made three because I'm not too big on having all kinds of ringtones, but I used the opening bars to "Superstition" and it made a great tone.

I'm sure someone will come out with another way around the update soon enough.
 

deftdrummer1

The power that be.
I think iphoneringtonemaker is the best right now. But I just can't bring myself to pay $15 for a program that only does ringtones. maybe if it were like $8 instead.
 

Hennessy206

New member
hey i tried this but i have windows vista and step 8 is confusing me because i dont have
tools -> folder options -> view -> and untick the "Hide extensions for known file types box". This will show you the extensions of files so you can rename it.
i cant do that for some reason
 

Germansuplex

New member
I don't have Vista, so run a google search on how to show the extensions. Basically, an mp3 file is usually named something like "Song.mp3". Windows has an option to turn the extension off so novices don't mess things up by renaming the extensions by mistake, so all you will see is "Song", and not the ".mp3". You need to turn the oprion on to see the ".mp3". With iTunes ringtones, the AAC file will be "Song.m4a". Then you'll turn the ".m4a" to ".m4r", add it to iTunes, then rename it back to ".m4a" and tell iTunes where to find the missing file.

Of course, if you're running the most recent version of iTunes, this is all futile because they've eradicated this method.
 

lpdude

New member
does anyone know how to do this with the latest version of itunes? it worked fine on the last one, but not the newest one. Or does anyone know how to revert back to the previous version?
 

Germansuplex

New member
I've tested a lot with the new version, the only thing I'm able to do is get a non-purchased song into the editor. Nothing after that. I haven't seen any way of doing it for free now without a third party app, and you have to pay for most of them I think.

Try running a google search for older versions of iTunes.
 

alfredog1976

New member
I was reading over one of the MacRumors forum threads and someone there (on a Mac of course) was able to upload custom ringtones by first adding .m4r file to iTunes (in Ringtones tab), sync it to iPhone (the ringtone will be listed in the iphone but won't work), then renaming the file extension to .m4a, then running an app called MakeiPhoneRingtone using the .m4a ringtone , where the program automatically adds the .m4a to the iTunes Ringtones tab (so I guess both the .m4a and .m4r show up on the Ringtones tab). With the latest firmware and iTunes 7.4.0. (not sure if it works on later versions), he was able to sync his own custom ringtones using this method. I'm guessing the MakeiPhoneRingtone app adds the atom=14 hack (which can be done with AtomicParseley). Anyone try this on the Windows side? I haven't had the chance to try this yet.

Edit: Well, using iTunes 7.4, I was able to add both a .m4r file and .m4a (using the Atomic Parsley method) to iTunes (both appear in the Ringtones tab for my iPhone). Both ringtones are the same name ("WhipIt") I can't update my iPhone to 1.1.1 firmware here at work so I haven't been able to confirm whether or not the ringtone syncs with the iPhone with the new firmware.
 
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choitoy57

New member
To confirm, the rename trick (for Windows users) is only working up until iTunes 7.4.1 (current Windows version is 7.4.3), and only on iPhone firmware 1.0.2 (current version is 1.1.1).

There are rumors that someone out there using iTunes 7.4.1 for Windows Vista was able to retain his rename extension trick ringtrones with firmware 1.1.1, but he seems to be the exception to the rule. There are others on other forums that state that upgrading to firmware 1.1.1 will have their rename extension trick ringtones work initially, but as soon as they enter the "Select a Ringtone" menu on their iPhones directly, their ringtones at first show up, but upon trying to select another ringtone, their custom ringtones dissappear.

I for one don't care about hacking/jailbreaking/unlocking my iPhone. I just want some music that is not offered on iTunes US as my ringtones, and closing this loophole (which is valid without hacking into the phone's OS) was one of the most annoying things Apple could do.

If anyone happens to figure out how to get custom ringtones without third party software via iTunes 7.4.3 (newest Windows version), and iPhone firmware 1.1.1, it would be much appreciated (I wish I had an extra phone and computer to play with so I could try my hand at workarounds without messing up my main phone).

I guess for now, I'll be sticking with 7.4.1/1.0.2
 

choitoy57

New member
If you check out Engadget or The Unofficial Apple Webblog, there are some ways to downgrade from firmware 1.1.1, but it involves a couple of lengthy looking hacks themselves, and rumor has it that it may turn off phone functionality (but leave everything else). You may want to check those out.
 

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