How to Make Custom iPhone Ringtones Using iTunes 12

Creating a custom ringtone for iPhone is little tricky. Check the guide below to make one using iTunes. The process remains same with different versions of iTunes.

There’s something about Android phones that isn’t exactly available with iPhones and my buddies who have an Android phone do make fun of it: you can’t easily have custom ringtones on the iPhone. Now, that’s something Apple should be working on but knowing things, one would judge better.

Apple doesn’t have an easy way out to create custom ringtones. But as the saying goes, it’s tough but not impossible. In this short little post, that’s what we’re going to do: create custom ringtones in iTunes and sync them with your iPhone.

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How to Create iPhone Ringtones Using iTunes

The Thing About Creating Custom iPhone Ringtones in iTunes 12 or Earlier

Okay, you’ll first need to know the thing about iTunes ringtones. Unlike on most other smartphones, you can’t just have any file saved as a ringtone. There are a couple of things to do before:

  • Create an AAC version of the tone that you want as custom ringtone.
  • Change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r so it’s recognized as a ringtone by iTunes
  • It shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds (it’s 40 but having it at 30 makes it safer)

So let’s make some ringtones (follow this procedure if you’re trying to make a ringtone out of a song you have)

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How to Create iPhone Ringtones Using iTunes 12

Step #1. Open iTunes and find that song that you want to make a ringtone out of. For safety, duplicate this and have it so if something goes wrong, you don’t end up losing that song.

Step #2. Now, right-click and select ‘Get Info’

Create Custom iPhone Ringtones in iTunes Step 1

Step #3. Select the Options tab and you have ‘Start time’ and ‘Stop Time’ check boxes.

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Create Custom iPhone Ringtones in iTunes Step 2

Step #4. Check them and enter the desired start and stop time for the ringtone. Make sure it doesn’t exceed 30 seconds.

Step #5. Click OK to apply the settings.

Step #6. Head back to iTunes library and right-click on the song you just edited.

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Step #7. Select ‘Create AAC version’

Create Custom iPhone Ringtones in iTunes Step 3

Step #8. Now you got a .m4a version of the song. It’s time to rename the extension.

Step #9. Go to the folder where the .m4a version of the file is. (Select the file, click ‘File’ menu and select ‘Show in Finder’ (for Mac) or ‘Show in Explorer’ (Windows)

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Step #10. Rename the extension to “.m4r”
(Note: if you don’t see the .m4a extension along with the file, you should make sure it’s visible and then change the extension. Otherwise, you’d just be changing the name of the file and not its extension. (Tools → Options in Windows lets you enable the extensions view).

Step #11. After you’ve renamed the extension to .m4r, head back to iTunes and delete the shortened file from iTunes. Make sure you click on “Keep File” when prompted; else the file will be deleted from the computer.

Delete Ringtones from iTunes

Step #12. You can now quit iTunes and go back to the folder where the custom ringtone is located on your Mac or Windows PC.

Custom Ringtone Location on PC

Step #13. Launch the file from there in iTunes. It will start playing the tone.

Step #14. Check the “Tones” section. Your new ringtone should be out there. Just sync it to your iPhone and you are done.

Check Custom Ringtone in iTunes

Sync your iPhone with “Sync Tones” enabled and your new ringtone should be up on your iPhone too.


In case you already have a ringtone (not longer than 40 seconds), you can do this:

  • Open it in iTunes
  • Create an AAC version of the file (.m4a)
  • Rename the extension to .m4r
  • Now, check the Tones section to find your new ringtone.

If it’s not added, drag and drop the ringtone in iTunes.

Jignesh Padhiyar
Jignesh Padhiyar is the founder of who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around iPhone and iPad.


  1. Hi, I cannot get the m4a to change to the m4r extension. I am on windows 8 and iTunes 11 and this step seems to have disappeared. The ringtone will play in my iTunes but it will not recognize it as a ringtone and I can’t get it to show up in my ringtone section…help! :)

    • Are you sure you’re changing the extension of the file and not just the file name? Check out this one to make sure you’ve changed the file extension to m4r.
      once you change the extn, you should be able to drag and drop the m4r file into iTunes’s Tones.

  2. “Sync Tones”

    Yes, the two little words that created a stretch of time longer than I care to repeat of frustration. Sync tones.

    See kids…. read everything before you yell at technology…..

  3. I have done all of the above steps (I am on Mac/Itunes 11) and my file is still showing as “AAC Audio File” and not appearing in Tones. I never had this problem on my PC, but now I can’t get it to work on my Mac… :-/

    • What I had to do was right click on the AAC version of e the song and then click “view options” which for me using Yosemite on my iMac pops up another screen that shows the extension, then change it there. It will ask are you sure and say yes. I’m still working through this convoluted process

  4. Hello good day,i have a problem installing the ringtone because the ACC did not appear when i press right click even if I’ve done the get info process im so disappointed please help me,i want it back ive done it before but because of the recall in my mobile it disappeared using windows 8.1


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