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Friday, October 09, 2009

How to create ringtones for iPhone (m4r) for free

I wasted so much time and money on creating ringtones for my iPhone from iTunes. It's so frustrating to pay $0.99 for each ringtone that you create from the song that you already purchased. And the worst part is iTunes will not let you create ringtones from songs that you have already owned since forever. It only lets you create ringtones from the songs you bought in iTunes. This is a major problem I had with Apple. I mean, I have the best mobile in the whole world and I cannot create ringtones for it unless I buy the song again and pay $0.99 again to create a ringtone from it. To add to that, iTunes will only let you create a ringtone for 15 sec. Ideally, it's ok but what if I want it to be 20 secs. And you cannot cut and paste different sections of the song you love. It has to be a continuous segment of 15 seconds. That's lame so I decided to venture out and find a free solution. As always, there is an open source (FREE) alternative to this craziness. Once you go through the following steps, you will never pay a single penny to anyone for ringtones. It's quite simple really. Just follow the instructions and Enjoy!

The Software
1. Download Audacity -The best Open source Sound Editor (version 1.3.9 beta or greater) NOT THE STABLE VERSION i.e. 1.2.6 currently from the Site. Remember this does not work with 1.2.6 or older.
2. Install Lame MP3 encoder library (Needed to work with mp3 files) (Instructions here)
3. Install FFmpeg library(Needed to convert to m4r) (Instructions here). NOTE: I am guessing you need ffmpeg installed already on your Mac/PC to use this plugin. Google it!

The Actual Creation of Ringtone
4. Open a mp3 file you want to create ringtone from in the Audacity application.
5. Select the part you want and copy it.
6. Create a new file (Ctrl + N)
7. Paste the copied part onto the new file.
8. Export the new file as m4r by clicking (File -> Export)
9. Select the format "M4A (AAC) Files (FFmpeg)"
10. Save as "somefilename.m4r"

Now, import this ringtone into iTues (Ctrl +O). And Sync your iPhone to get the new ringtone. That's all there is to it. Hope you will find it easy. Let me know how it goes!

NOTE: If you wanna check out the ringtones I created, here are some :

1.Eye of the Tiger

2.Chris Brown - Forever Ringtone

3.Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA

4.Natasha Beddingfield - Pocketful of sunshine

5.Micheal Franti - Say Hey I Love You

6.Summer Overture

7.Venessa Carlton - Thousand Miles

All in one zip along with some more - Click Here


vnessinfurs said...

Thanks for these instructions. Two problems with the process you described.
1. Audacity seems only to convert 30 seconds of a given .mp3
2. Export to .m4r isn't a listed option in Audacity even +plugin. I exported to .mp3 and changed manually.
The end result was a file that iTunes wouldn't recognise.
(3.) I have iTunes 9. Does this exclude me from being able to use this program?

John Jimmy Dondapati said...

Here are my comments on your problems.

1.You have to use Audacity 1.3.9 (beta now) instead of the stable version 1.2.6(current) to be able to do export to m4a. I forgot to mention that in the instructions. My bad!

2. Audacity can convert any file to any length but the maximum length that iPhone allows for a ringtone seems to be 33-35 secs. So, it's not actually Audacity limiting it.

3. When you exported to mp3, You seem to have created a shorter mp3. Even if you change the file extension, the file is still not m4r (file has a different format than mp3) and hence iTunes didnt recognize it as a ringtone.

4. I tried and tested it on iTunes 9 and it works perfectly for me.

If you want to check out some of the iPhone ringtones I created, Click on the link below

vnessinfurs said...

Hi again

Following your beta correction the files are successfully copying and I have about 35 seconds of music as opposed to 5 seconds of squall.

Unfortunately, it's telling me I don't have the correct ffmpeg plug in for conversion. I have no idea what this program wants from me. I downloaded LAME, went through the install prompts & ended up with a .dylib file. I went into Audacity preferences & directed the Library & ffmpeg preferences to this file. Audacity won't recognise it. I don't know what I can do save downloading everything again, & I would prefer not to. Help please?

Sorry for taking up your time again. You have a definite virtual cookie basket coming your way.

John Jimmy Dondapati said...

Sorry for the delay but unfortunately I do not have a solution for you.

I am no expert in this - it just worked for me on my mac. I donot have a PC at disposal to try it and see what the issue is exactly.

Sorry that I could not be of much help. But I am sure if you uninstall and re do the whole thing then it might help. But then again, there's no gaurantee with Windows software. ;)

Harrison said...

This worked perfectly for me, and was fairly easy to find. I spent about 30 minutes total including research and downloading on a slow connection. Thanks for the post!

Ashley said...


This is truly fantastic! Thankyou for this excellent solution, I now have instant access to ringtone versions of all my favourite songs!

vnessinfurs - your problem may be that you're directing the FFmeg to the LAME file - try directing this to the FFmeg file, worked for me, on a PC...


My column said...

This works perfectly for me. Thanks a million. Regards / Lafaz

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

Thank you so much for your advice for a student like me it saves me so much :D thank you again

Yours Sincerely,

Anonymous said...

Works perfectly. About the slickest free way to create ringtones. Thank you for the information.

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