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Creating custom ringtones with iTunes

From: iPhone and iPod touch iOS 6 Essential Training

Video: Creating custom ringtones with iTunes

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.

Creating custom ringtones with iTunes

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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This video is part of

Image for iPhone and iPod touch iOS 6 Essential Training
iPhone and iPod touch iOS 6 Essential Training

129 video lessons · 17409 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 1m 21s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
  2. 45m 36s
    1. A tour around the iPhone and iPod touch
      6m 33s
    2. The Home screen and Home button
      2m 49s
    3. Organizing apps on the Home screen with folders
      1m 10s
    4. Running apps and multitasking
      3m 59s
    5. Choosing and controlling your sounds
      4m 36s
    6. Learning finger gestures
      3m 36s
    7. Connecting to wi-fi networks
      3m 12s
    8. Using the Notification Center
      3m 48s
    9. Using Twitter and Facebook
      4m 37s
    10. Charging the iPhone or iPod touch
      3m 31s
    11. Setting up an Apple ID account on an iPhone or iPod touch
      3m 18s
    12. Printing from an iPhone using AirPrint
      2m 11s
    13. Displaying the iPhone screen on a TV
      2m 16s
  3. 19m 19s
    1. Understanding the keyless keyboard
      3m 10s
    2. Fixing typos and trusting autocorrection
      6m 59s
    3. Exploring Select, Cut, Copy, and Paste
      2m 12s
    4. Hidden shortcuts
      1m 28s
    5. Syncing a Bluetooth keyboard
      2m 9s
    6. Adding international and emoji keyboards
      3m 21s
  4. 37m 35s
    1. Getting the latest version of iTunes
      1m 49s
    2. Connecting your iPhone to your Mac or PC
      4m 27s
    3. Syncing music, movies, and ringtones
      7m 5s
    4. Syncing photos from a Mac
      5m 2s
    5. Syncing photos from a PC
      2m 59s
    6. Syncing contacts and calendars from a Mac
      3m 7s
    7. Syncing contacts and calendars from a PC
      3m 9s
    8. Backup options
      3m 25s
    9. Wireless syncing
      2m 33s
    10. Using iTunes Match
      3m 59s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Basic phone activities
      2m 56s
    2. Adding and managing favorites
      3m 0s
    3. Accessing voicemail
      3m 59s
    4. Receiving calls
      5m 31s
    5. Using the iPhone during a call
      5m 21s
    6. Using FaceTime
      4m 49s
    7. Making conference calls
      2m 52s
    8. Adding recent calls to your contacts
      1m 46s
    9. Sharing contacts
      2m 46s
    10. Assigning specific photos and ringtones to your contacts
      3m 20s
    11. Using the included headset
      2m 42s
    12. Using a Bluetooth headset
      3m 33s
    13. Forwarding calls
      1m 47s
    14. Turning Call Waiting on and off
      1m 13s
    15. Turning Caller ID on and off
      1m 19s
    16. Creating custom ringtones with iTunes
      5m 53s
    17. Texting and using iMessages
      9m 52s
  6. 36m 25s
    1. Importing email accounts from your computer
      2m 0s
    2. Setting up Exchange, iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, or AOL email accounts
      3m 36s
    3. Setting up other types of email accounts
      2m 10s
    4. Keeping your iPhone or iPod touch email synced with your computer
      5m 4s
    5. Composing email
      4m 6s
    6. Receiving and reading email
      7m 4s
    7. Assigning VIPs
      2m 41s
    8. Searching your mailboxes
      2m 56s
    9. Setting mail options
      6m 48s
  7. 31m 42s
    1. Web browsing with Safari
      7m 28s
    2. Saving bookmarks and viewing the History list
      5m 15s
    3. Saving images
      2m 41s
    4. Filling out forms and using AutoFill
      4m 4s
    5. Creating web clips
      2m 30s
    6. Using Reader and the Reading List
      2m 37s
    7. Creating a personal hotspot
      3m 59s
    8. Using iCloud tabs
      3m 8s
  8. 28m 3s
    1. Browsing your library
      2m 43s
    2. Playing and controlling music
      6m 20s
    3. Playing and controlling video
      3m 34s
    4. Using the included earbud controls
      3m 36s
    5. Adjusting your iPod settings
      5m 0s
    6. Browsing and buying with the iTunes app
      3m 37s
    7. Using AirPlay to stream content wirelessly from an iPhone to an Apple TV or AirPort Express
      3m 13s
  9. 50m 59s
    1. Shooting still photos with your iPhone
      8m 0s
    2. Improving your photos using HDR and gridlines
      3m 19s
    3. Shooting panoramas
      2m 54s
    4. Viewing and editing still images
      7m 29s
    5. Customizing your wallpaper
      2m 44s
    6. Shooting video
      3m 5s
    7. Viewing and editing video
      2m 52s
    8. Taking screenshots
      1m 19s
    9. Sharing photos and video
      5m 50s
    10. Geotagging your photos
      4m 45s
    11. Creating albums
      2m 16s
    12. Creating a Shared Photo Stream
      6m 26s
  10. 22m 39s
    1. Getting your location with Maps
      4m 20s
    2. Finding addresses and nearby businesses
      3m 11s
    3. Bookmarking locations
      3m 3s
    4. Getting directions
      4m 35s
    5. Showing traffic and alternate maps
      2m 46s
    6. Using 3D and Flyover views
      2m 31s
    7. Using the Compass app
      2m 13s
  11. 19m 26s
    1. Adding events to your calendar
      5m 35s
    2. Subscribing to calendars
      2m 3s
    3. Setting Time Zone Support
      2m 23s
    4. Using the Clock app
      6m 7s
    5. Setting reminders
      3m 18s
  12. 8m 42s
    1. Using the Notes app
      4m 12s
    2. Using the Voice Memos app
      4m 30s
  13. 12m 29s
    1. Passbook
      6m 35s
    2. Stocks
      3m 6s
    3. Calculator
      44s
    4. Weather
      2m 4s
  14. 17m 8s
    1. Browsing the App Store through iTunes
      4m 50s
    2. Browsing the App Store on the iPhone or iPod touch
      5m 9s
    3. Purchasing apps
      6m 24s
    4. Finding app settings
      45s
  15. 22m 41s
    1. Airplane mode
      1m 42s
    2. Wi-Fi
      3m 1s
    3. Do Not Disturb
      3m 16s
    4. About
      2m 32s
    5. Usage
      3m 52s
    6. Date & Time settings
      1m 30s
    7. Restrictions
      3m 25s
    8. Privacy
      3m 23s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Using Auto-Lock
      1m 15s
    2. Exploring Passcode Lock
      5m 16s
    3. Using Find My iPhone
      5m 38s
  17. 20m 38s
    1. Introducing Siri
      7m 25s
    2. Listening and responding to messages
      2m 37s
    3. Setting reminders
      2m 48s
    4. Dictating in apps
      1m 40s
    5. Voice control for non-Siri-capable iPhones
      6m 8s
  18. 16m 41s
    1. Begin by restarting
      1m 29s
    2. Force-quitting apps
      1m 16s
    3. Rebooting
      45s
    4. Resetting
      1m 47s
    5. Erasing and restoring
      5m 12s
    6. Checking for updates
      1m 27s
    7. Extending battery life
      4m 45s
  19. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

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