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We saw earlier that you can select from over two dozen ringtones built into the iPhone, but for some people none of these ringtones quite fully expressed the personality and force of character that our ringtones are apparently supposed to express these days. It seems like you can't find a cell phone that has a ringtone that sounds like a phone anymore. Ringtones these days seem to be all about playing clips of your favorite song. If you're one of these people who likes to have music play as a ringtone on your iPhone, you'll be happy to know you can generate a ringtone from any song in your iTunes Library. Now, there are ways to create ringtones with audio editing applications like GarageBand on the Mac and maybe Audacity for Windows.
And while those applications give you a lot more control over the length of the ringtone and the ability to fade ringtones in and out, teaching you how to use those applications would require a different tutorial altogether. And what I want to show you here is a quick way to use iTunes to create your ringtones. So here in iTunes, first locate the song you want to turn into a ringtone in your music library. Now, if you're using a song you purchased off the iTunes Store, see the end of this movie for important information. For now, I'm using a song I imported off a CD. Next, play the song and note the time code for the section you want to use as the ringtone.
(music playing) So, that's the part of the song I want to use as my ringtone, and that's about the first 14 seconds of this song. Now that I know the section of the song I want to use, I'm going to right-click on the file and choose Get Info. And here, I'm going to go to the Options tab. This is where you will find the Start Time and Stop Time options.
This allows you to set the song to only play a specific part. This is normally useful where you have a song that's maybe a live recording or maybe you have 30 seconds of talking or the crowd cheering before the band starts playing. You could click Start Time and set the song to always start 30 seconds into the track. But in this case, I want to start it at the beginning of the song but I want it to stop about 14 seconds in. So, I'll check Stop Time and change this to 0:14. Now, this doesn't alter the song in any way, all I'm doing is telling iTunes that anytime I play this track I only want to hear the first 14 seconds. I'll click OK.
Next, I'm going to save a copy of this clipped version of the song as an AAC file. I can either right-click on the file and choose Create AAC version, or you will also find that command under the Advanced menu. Now, if you don't see Create AAC version, and instead see something like Create MP3 Version, you need to go to iTunes>Preferences, if you're on Windows you'll go to Edit>Preferences, and here under the General tab go to Import Settings. Then make sure the Import Using menu is set to AAC Encoder.
So, with that file selected, I'll right-click on it and choose Create AAC version. It just takes a second and now I have a 14 second version of the song. Now at this point it's a good idea to go back to the original version of the song, Get Info and turn off the Stop Time, because in the future I probably want to listen to the song in its entirety. Next, I want to look at the actual song file on my computer of the shortened version. So, I'll right-click on it again, and this time choose Show in Finder.
If you're on Windows you'll choose Show in Windows Explorer, and that shows me the actual file. Now, I'm going to make some room on my desktop here just by changing the size of my iTunes window, and I'm going to drag that file to my Desktop. So, this is an AAC file which has the extension of .M4A. All you have to do to turn this into a ringtone is change that extension to M4R, where R stands for ringtone. On a Mac I'm going to be asked if I'm sure I want to change the extension. I'll say, I do want to use .M4R, and now it's a ringtone file.
You can even see in the icon here it says Ring. But before I drag this back into iTunes, I'm going to go back and get rid of the short file that's here in my library. Because sometimes when you drag a similarly named file back into iTunes it doesn't import properly. So, I right-click on it and choose Delete. Now drag that M4R file back into iTunes, and you'll notice that it doesn't show up here. Where it did show up is in the Tones section, here is the file right here. So, now I have brand-new ringtone and I can drag this to my iPhone the next time it's connected and then choose it as a ringtone for my iPhone.
I showed you how to change ringtones in the first chapter, so you can check back there if you need a review. Now, if you're a Mac user and you have GarageBand you can create your own ringtones and export them directly into iTunes from GarageBand, so you don't have to bother with this file extension renaming thing. If you're on Windows and using another sound editing program, just be sure to export your clip in an iTunes compatible format, maybe WAV or AIF and then convert it to an AAC, and then find the AAC file and give it that .M4R extension, and then reimport it into iTunes. It takes more steps, but again it's free.
Now, I mentioned earlier that if you want to turn music you purchase from the iTunes Store into a ringtone, you can do this as long as this music purchased from about mid-2009 and later. Music purchased prior to that is protected by DRM or Digital Rights Management Technology that prevent your music from being copied or played on unauthorized computers. Apple has since removed DRM, but if you still have older songs you purchased before DRM was removed you won't be able to use the technique I showed you in this movie, because iTunes won't let you create a copy of protected music. The way you can tell if you have DRM protected music is to go into your Music Library, select the track, right-click on it and choose Get Info.
Under the Summary tab, if it says, Kind:Protected AAC audio file, you'll know that it's DRM protected. More recently purchased music will be labeled Purchased AAC audio file and you're free to copy it as much as you like and you can make it into a ringtone following the steps I showed you in this movie. So, that's a quick and easy method for creating ringtones for your iPhone using only iTunes.
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