How To Turn Any Song Into A Ringtone For Your iPhone Or Android (For Free)

Nokia may have released a dubstep version of their iconic ringtone, but undoubtedly the coolest ringtone you can have is one you made yourself. Here's how to turn any MP3 into a ringtone for free on both the iPhone and Android.

Bell Icon by Everaldo Coelho via Iconspedia.

Make an iPhone Ringtone with iTunes

While you can convert songs to ringtones in iTunes for $0.99, you can just as easily do it for free with a few more clicks. you'll need an unprotected song in iTunes for this to work (that is, a .m4a or .mp3 file, not .m4p). To turn it into a ringtone:

  1. Find the section of the song you want to use as a ringtone, and mark down the starting and ending time of that section. It should be less than 30 seconds long.
  2. Right click on the track and hit "Get Info". Under the Options tab, set your Start Time and Stop Time to the correct values for the ringtone and hit OK.
  3. Right click on the song and choose "Convert Selection to AAC". If it says "Convert Selection to MP3" or "Apple Lossless" instead, head to iTunes' Preferences, hit Import Settings, and switch it to the AAC Encoder and try again.
  4. You should see the newly converted file pop up in iTunes, and it should be much shorter than the original. Right click on it and pick "Show in Windows Explorer" (or "Show in Finder" if you're on a Mac). Change the extension of the file from .m4a to .m4r.
  5. Head back into iTunes and delete the shortened version of the song you just created. Since you changed the extension, iTunes won't be able to find the file and will just remove it from your library. Then go to File > Add File to Library and navigate to the .m4r file you just created. It should show up in the Ringtones section of iTunes.

The next time you sync your iPhone, your new ringtone should show up in Settings > Sounds > Ringtones. If you want to set different ringtones for specific contacts, you can head to the Contacts app, edit the contact you want to change, and choose a ringtone for them under "Ringtone".

If you want finer control over when your ringtone starts and ends, you can use GarageBand too, but only if you're on a Mac. The above instructions should work for users on both Windows and OS X.

Make an Android Ringtone with Ringdroid

On Android, you can download one of many apps to create a custom ringtone. We're going to use Ringdroid. After downloading and installing it from the Market, the process is simple:

  1. Open up Ringdroid. You'll see a list of every audio file on your device (if the song you want to use isn't on your device, you'll have to transfer it to your device). Pick the song you want to play and let Ringdroid load it.
  2. Tap and drag the two grey sliders to select the portion of the song you want to turn into a ringtone. It can be of any length. You can click Play at any time to hear it from the start of your selection.
  3. Hit the Save button and give your ringtone a name. It will now show up in your phone's ringtone menus.

To set the ringtone for your entire phone, just head to Settings > Sound > Phone Ringtone. If you want to set it for a specific contact, you can just open up that contact in the Contacts app, hit the Menu button, choose Options and tap Ringtone.

There are many ways to create your own ringtone on both platforms, but these are two pretty simple options that don't require paying money. Just make sure that you keep your phone on silent or vibrate when necessary — there's nothing more embarrassing than being the guy who's pocket starts singing Miley Cyrus in the middle of Starbucks. Got your own preferred ringtone creation method? Let us know about it in the comments below.


    how is this possible with WP7?

      You can make ringtones online with, for example.

      thanks so much for the help everyone. :)

    Can't think of a better way to destroy that song you love so much!

      It's definitely an effective way to do that, but I used this method a while ago to get the Power Rangers wrist communicator noise as my ringtone.

      So it isn't always a bad thing.

        Yea i hate having songs because of when other people have the same ringtone so i pick something im sure is very rare as a ringtone. I have the boss theme from sonic 2 as my ringtone and the 1-up from sonic as my messagetone on my iphone (i have a jailbroken iphone hense the changed messagetone). I have never found anyone else who has that those tones plus iv never gotten sick of them

    On SGSII, play the song you want in the music player -> menu -> set as -> ringtone or caller ringtone.

    Up till now I just click-hold on the song and assign it to a contact or whatever.. but I like the RingDroid idea, which I will download right now, because that means I can select just the best bit of the song :)

      Yer this is much better.. the key thing here is that RingDroid allows you select just the "part of the song" you want. I could already make any song a ringtone but only starting from the beginning of the song.

      RingDroid also allows you to save the edited audio clip as a regular audio file or store it in the Ringtones folder, Alerts/Notifications folder or Alarms folder for easy access...

      Sure it's not anything you couldn't do with an old audio file editor.. but it's the simplicity of it all that makes it a winner.

    Or just use iRinger which is a lot easier, works for any song, and puts it straight into itunes...

    Seriously, why not use Been around for ages, and lets you use online songs (from youtube) as well as mp3s.

    Yeah just make it online. Also you can set the txt time in ios5 finally.

    On a PC I use Audacity. It has a display like Ringdroid that lets you see the volume profile of the whole track. It makes it very easy to see and select the start and stop points for the ringtone that you want to create.

    On a slight tangent, does anyone know of an MP3 player (Windows, Android or iOS) that has a display like Ringdroid so you can see the volume profile of the whole track on screen at once while the track is playing?

    As far as I am aware, there are no visualizations in Windows Media Player that do this. They only show what is happening "now" and maybe a bit into the past.

    If I was being really greedy, I would ask for a second display that showed the frequency profile for the entire track.

    I just use audacity and cut what i want into a new one and then make it fade in and then out at beginning and end

    I use a very simple MP3 editor (MP3Trim) to just chop out the section of a song or soundbite that I want, then drag-drop to my phone in Explorer. It's just a Nokia running S60, shame that more technically advanced and capable phones have to go through a more complicated process.

    I followed the exact steps above for the iphone, except it didn't work. It still didn't appear under ringtones. Please help.

    Tried this over and over-- it puts the file in the iTunes "Tones" folder, which plays when I double click on it, but it just simply doesn't download it when I sync. Any thoughts?

    i tried this, but when i synced the iphone and itunes, there was no new ringtone added...

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