How to - Free ringtones for your iPhone using iTunes & GarageBand

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by LimeiBook86, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    Hello everyone,

    I created a little tutorial about how to use iTunes and GarageBand to create a ringtone for your iPhone - free of charge. I've seen some people having issues trying to figure this out, but keep in mind this tutorial is for Mac OS X users only. Here's a link to the HTML version of the tutorial which includes some helpful images. So let's get started...


    What you need:
    iPhone with software version 1.1.2 or higher
    iTunes 7.6 or higher
    GarageBand 4.1.1 or higher
    Mac OS X - 10.5.2 recommended

    Believe it or not there is a free and relatively simple way to create iPhone ringtones from any iTunes song using Garageband. Of course for a simpler route you can use the popular shareware program iToner, however for this tutorial we are going to cover GarageBand. Your only limit is a 40 second time restraint and the inability to use a purchased iTunes song with Apple’s DRM on it. (You could remove the DRM by burning the track to an Audio CD, but we won’t cover that here. ;)) To get started you need a Mac, the most recent version of Mac OS X is recommended. You also need the latest version of iTunes and GarageBand - and of course you should make sure your iPhone software is up to date.

    1. Open iTunes and search your Library for the song you wish to create as a ringtone. Make sure that your selected song is not in the protected AAC format which has Digital Rights Management imbedded in the file. If you try and import this type file you will get an error message in GarageBand. To check if your song format right-click or control-click on the file and select Get Info, the type will be displayed in the Kind field under the Summary tab.

    2. Open GarageBand and create a new document, the default settings will do for what we want to work with. Switch back to iTunes, drag the song file from your iTunes window into the main gray area in GarageBand. The song will be imported and will be ready for you to edit.

    3. In GarageBand select the Share menu and choose ‘Send Ringtone to iTunes’ - a dialog box should appear warning you that your song needs to be 40 seconds or less, so click the Adjust button. A yellow bar will appear at the top of the screen in GarageBand by the time. Drag the yellow bar to the 40 second mark to help you remember where your song will cut off. Also, in the digital measurement/timer display (directly between the main play button and the main volume display towards the bottom of the window) choose the clock icon to show the time of the song.

    4. Now we want to arrange and edit our song. In our situation our song starts out fine for us, so all we are going to do is add a fade out at the end of the 40 second mark. However, if you don’t want to start from the beginning of the song you can go into the Track Editor panel and adjust the starting point of your song.

    Go to the end of the song at the 40 second mark, we’re going to start a Fade Out and then adjust it, so you don’t have to be exact on your selection just yet. Select your track and from the Track menu select Fade Out. You will now see a purple field toward the bottom of the screen to the right of the Master Volume bar. This is where you want your editing to be as close as possible. Drag the red slider mark to a point where you want to start the fade. I recommend 2-3 seconds before the 40 second mark (the end of the ringtone). Now click once in the purple line directly where your red slider is marked - this will create a purple dot. Try not to move your mouse up or down as this will effect the volume. Now do the same at the 40 second mark, except this time when you click to make a new purple point you want to drag the point down to the bottom, which will silence the volume. Your fade out is complete.

    5. Rewind the track or drag the slider to the beginning of the track. Playback your ringtone to make sure you are satisfied with everything. If not, now is the time to go back and do some editing. If you're all done once again go to the Share menu and select “Send Ringtone to iTunes” This time we won’t see a dialog box, instead we will see GarageBand converting the file for iTunes. After this is done iTunes will show the new Ringtone in the Ringtone section and play the song.

    You’re all done! :) Now depending on your iPhone setup you can sync your new ringtone to your phone or add it to the list of ringtones you manually manage. I hope this tutorial has been helpful to you. :D If you have any tips or comments to add feel free to post them.

    Note: If you have the Get Info window (Song Summary) window open in iTunes while GarageBand is trying to export the ringtone it will appear to freeze. If this happens just close the window in iTunes to resolve the problem.
  2. cupofjoe macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Great tutorial, Lime!! :) Thanks for all the hard work!
  3. gyumilly macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2007
    Super! Screenshots would be nice too, but won't be necessary!
  4. LimeiBook86 thread starter macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    Thanks everyone.

    The HTML version linked above has some screenshots which may be helpful, however I can always add more if need be. :)
  5. amsgator macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2009
    I followed this and many others, my song clip is only 32 seconds and when I export ringtone to itunes it isn't showing up in itunes at all...not sure why, anyone have an idea?
  6. TSX macrumors 68030


    Oct 1, 2008
    Ok, now show us how it's done on a PC please. :D
  7. scottuf macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2009
    NPB, FL
    i had the same problem, at 31 seconds it won't show, same song trimmed to 30 works just fine.
  8. amsgator macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2009
    nothing is working for me, not even 8 seconds worth
  9. mojo8472 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2009
    Swansea, Wales
    PC Solution:

    First of all in iTunes, set the import settings to 'AAC Encoder' (Edit -> Preferences -> Import Settings)

    Now, right click the song you want as a ringtone in iTunes, Get info.

    In the Options tab, click the Start Time and the Stop Time checkboxes and set the times upto 30s apart (ringtones can be upto 30s long). Click OK

    Right click the song and do 'Create AAC Version'

    When the converting has finished, right click the new (<30s) song and 'Show in Windows Explorer'

    Rename the file's extension from .m4a to '.m4r' If you don't see the .m4a bit, go here:

    Drag the .m4r file into iTunes and Voila! the song should appear in the ringtones section and can be sync'd to the iPhone!

Share This Page