Mac OS X - Create a ringtone for your iPhone

December 2016



Getting Started


Note that: This procedure is intended for Mac OS X - Not for Windows - some points are not applicable for Windows.
Create a ringtone out of your favorite track of your iTunes library or any other audio file stored on your Mac, simple and fast!
(Tested with an iPhone 3Gs, Mac OS 10.6, QuickTime Player 10, QuickTime Player 7 Pro and iTunes 9).
Several methods are available:
  • Using iTunes only.
  • The other 2 will involve a short preparation under iTunes and then finalizing your work with QuickTime 7 or QuickTime 10.
    • In all cases, we must first import the song into iTunes.
  • Using Garage Band.

Method 1- Using iTunes only

  • Open iTunes and go to /Preferences/General.
  • Set the import preferences to AAC.
  • Select the desired track from the iTunes library.
  • Press Cmd-i to display the info window of the song chosen.
  • Go to the "Options" tab and indicate the "Start"/"end" point of track.
  • Note that:
    • As from the iPhone 3GS, the ringtone can have a maximum duration of 30 seconds.
    • For the early versions of the iPhone, the ringtone can have a maximum duration of 15 seconds.
  • Confirm by clicking on the OK button
  • Back in the iTunes window, convert the song to AAC (right-click on the song >Create AAC version)
  • Then right-click on the newly converted song and select in the menu: "Show file in Finder" *Copy this file to the desktop and close the Finder window.
  • You can now delete the ACC version from your iTunes library and set the source track to normal read mode.
  • Back on the desktop
  • Rename the copied file using .m4r extension.
  • Import the .mr4 file in iTunes and it will automatically be recognized as a ringtone.
  • Sync your iDevice with your Mac.

Using QuickTime 7 or 10

Preparing your track under iTunes

  • In the iTunes menu/Preferences/General/Settings Import ... check that AAC is selected.
  • Choose a track from your music library, right click on the title > "Show in Finder".
  • Copy this file to the desktop, close the folder window (we are going to work on the duplicate file).
    • Note: Use keyboard shortcuts "Cmd-C and Cmd-V" or simply "drag and drop" music file from its original location to the desktop., while keeping the ALT key down (copy to Desktop without altering the original file).

Procedure with QuickTime Player 10

  • Open the copied file with QuickTime 10 (right-click on the file and "Open With ...)
  • Go to Edit menu/Trimming
  • Using the cursors at the left and right, select the portion of the track to be used as ringtone (maximum of 29 seconds)
  • Click on "Trim".
  • Go to menu File/Save As/iPhone Format
  • QuickTime use the .m4v file format by default, simply rename the file with using the .m4r extension.
  • Import this file in iTunes. It will be immediately recognized as a ringtone for iPhone

Procedure with QuickTime 7

  • Open the copied file with QuickTime 7 (right-click on the file and "Open with ...)
  • Using the cursors at the left and right, select the portion of the track to be used as ringtone.
  • Go to the menu "Edit/keep only the selection"
  • Go to menu File / Export / Video to iPhone
  • QuickTime use the .m4v file format by default, simply rename the file with using the .m4r extension.
  • Import this file in iTunes. It will be immediately recognized as a ringtone for iPhone

Using GarageBand

  • Launch GarageBand
  • In the right sidebar, choose "Ringtone"
  • In the right pane, select "Example Ringtone"
  • Click on the "Select" button
  • Give a name to song (filename for the created ringtone)
  • Indicate the destination path to store the new ringtone
  • Click on "Create"
  • A demo track is already loaded, simply delete it using the cmd-del keys.
  • Go to the Control menu/View Multimedia Navigator
  • In the right sidebar, choose iTunes, browse the lists proposed to find the music track of your choice.
  • Drag and drop this track into the workspace
  • From there you can select the part of the music track you want to use as ringtone.
  • Test it.
  • Go to the Share menu/Send the ringtone to iTunes

Thanks to Francis for this tip.

Related :

This document entitled « Mac OS X - Create a ringtone for your iPhone  » from CCM (ccm.net) is made available under the Creative Commons license. You can copy, modify copies of this page, under the conditions stipulated by the license, as this note appears clearly.