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How to Create Free iPhone Ringtones with MP3, AAC Music Files

 
iRinger is our favorite free iPhone / iPhone 3G ringtone maker software...  

Updated September 19, 2010: You can buy ringtones from the iTunes Music Store, but can you make your own free ringtones with the audio and music files you already have?  Yes!  And in this tutorial, we'll show you how.

There's more than one way to convert the music and other audio files you have on your computer to iPhone ringtones, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we're going to use a piece of free software called iRinger (Windows only).

We've chosen iRinger from the various options because if its ease of use, its iTunes syncing capability and its freeware status.  There are visual ads in the free version of iRinger, but you can make a donation (at least $10 U.S.) to rid yourself of them.  Either way, iRinger is our iPhone ringtone maker of choice for Windows users.

 

 

First Things First

Before we get started, you'll need a few things.  First, you must download and install iTunes on your PC.  Second, you'll need a copy of iRinger, which you can download here.

Once you have both applications installed, you're ready to begin.

You'll also need some audio files to work with: iRinger works with several audio formats, but we recommend you use either .MP3 or .WAV formats. 

The method described below will not work with protected, or DRMed, music you've purchased online.  For that, you'll have to use a workaround involving what-you-hear software to record sound from your sound card or the burn-and-rip method for removing the protection from your music. If there's enough interest, we'll cover each of these methods, but for this tutorial, you'll need audio files which are not protected.

 

Step 1: Select an Audio File 

To begin, we need an audio file to convert to a ringtone.  We've selected an MP3 file on our hard drive located in the folder C:\Sound Files\Groove Armada - Hands of Time.mp3.

Open iRinger.  You'll see three primary options: Import, Preview and Export.  We'll first use the Import feature to get our audio file loaded into the software so we can work with it:

 

Once you've selected the audio file you wish to use, iRinger will convert the file into a usable format.  You're now ready to edit the file.  You can see that our .MP3 audio file is 263.34 seconds long:

We'd like to trim that down to 30 seconds (which is the maximum length ringtone iRinger is designed to create; you can also create shorter ringtones using the Length slider bar). 

 

Step 2: Adjust the Audio File for Use as a Ringtone

Now that you've loaded the audio file into iRinger, it's time to trim it down for use as a ringtone.  By default, iRinger creates a 30 second ringtone, so the graphic window showing the audio file you've selected begins by showing you the first 30 seconds of the file:

 

When you place your cursor over the sound image of the 30 second selection of the song, you'll see that it turns to a hand:

You can move the file from left to right to select the exact 30 second clip you'd like to use.  The left side of the window represents the beginning of the clip; the right side is the end of the clip. As you can see from the Length slider, the length of the clip is set to 30 seconds, so from left to right of the graphic window represents 30 seconds of audio.

The section of the song we want to use begins 30.4 seconds into the audio, so we'll move the song until the Starting at [0.0000] reads 30.4000, which means the beginning of the clip will be at 30.4 seconds:

You can listen to your selection by pressing the Preview button.

 

Step 3: Export the New Ringtone to iTunes

Once you have the selection the way you want it, click Export.  You'll be presented with a new screen which allows you to select how you'd like your ringtone exported:

You can choose where you would like the new ringtone stored (C:\My Documents\iPhone Ringtones\ is the default export folder), the title of the ringtone, and whether or not to add the ringtone to iTunes.  Select the values you want, be sure that Export to iTunes is checked, and click Go!.

This will create the ringtone and place it in your iTunes Ringtones folder in the Library:

Once the new ringtone is available in iTunes, you can drag and drop the ringtone to your iPhone, which will add it to the list of available ringtones on the phone.

 

Step 4: Change Your iPhone Ringtone Settings

On your iPhone, tap the Settings icon, then select Sounds

Tap the Ringtone menu item:

Your new ringtone will appear in the Custom section at the top of the screen:

Tap the new ringtone to use it as your default ringtone.  You can also assign the ringtone to a specific contact in the Contacts app if you want to use different ringtones for different contacts.

You're done!  Enjoy your ringtone.

 
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