[How To is a recurring feature in which we demonstrate techniques designed to improve your game, and make your skill set more than a little bit awesome. This time out, we’ll help you create iPhone ringtones.]
So you’re tired of that really annoying generic ringtone that comes with your iPhone? Do you want to express your love of gaming through your text message notification? It’s not as easy as dragging-and-dropping. Here are the steps to create iPhone ringtones.
1. First, you need some ear-tingling audio. They can range from songs you downloaded from iTunes, Amazon, wherever. If it’s a song, however, we will need to shorten it, which I’ll show you how in the next step.
2. Your iPhone can’t have ringers longer than 30 seconds, so if you have a song it’s going to need to be shortened. For that, we have to edit it down. If your file is already shorter than 30 seconds, skip this step and go directly to step 8.
3. Now, let’s shorten your song. Open GarageBand.
4. Click “iPhone Ringtone” or “Loop.” The difference between these two project settings is that under “iPhone Ringtone” tracks have 30 seconds restrictions and a fade out at the end. You’re completely able to edit or add fades under “Loop” as well.
5. Drag ‘n drop your file into the timeline. It’ll take a second to load, but then your song will be on display as an orange blob. Select which 30 seconds or lower you want using the trim tool (command+T) where you want your ringer to begin and to end. Click the excess parts and press delete.
6. If you want to add a fade – or make your ringer have a higher volume – click the triangle button to the left of the L/R adjuster. This brings up the ability to manually adjust the track’s volume, represented by a blue line. Click where you want to begin your volume adjustment on the blue line and it will be represented by a blue dot on the line. If you want the entire thing to be louder, put the blue dot at the beginning and drag it to the highest decibel, read as ‘dB’ in GarageBand. OR you can simply drag the volume icon all the way to the right. To add a fade, add a second blue bubble and drag that to the lowest dB.
Now you have a calming fade at the end of your ringer.
7. Click “Share.” There’s a button that says “Export to iTunes” and “Export as Ringer to iTunes,” but I’ve never been able to get it working properly, so if you get it that way, more power to you. Until then, save it as a high quality AAC or MP3 file.
8. Now, go to Finder and locate your file. Click on it, then click on it again. This will allow you to change the name. Change the extension of that bad boy to “.m4r” Apple will be like “DUDE YOU SURE?” and press “DUDE TOTALLY. Keep .m4r.” Basically.
9. Go into iTunes and import your .m4r file into your library. It’ll automatically be put into your “tones” part of your library. Also note I’m using iTunes 11.02. By the time this is article is up, though, I’m sure an update will be available because they seem to come out every twelve seconds. It should work either way.
10. Connect your iPhone to your computer, and then to iTunes like you would when you upload music. Click on your phone’s name, go to the “Tones” tab, and click the box that says “Sync Tones.”
Now after your phone has synced, click the “On This Phone” tab, and then the “Tones” tab in the left column to see all the ringers you’ve made. If you double-click on them and they play, it’s pretty safe to say it worked.
Now if you want to check your phone for the ringers… I’m going to hand that info to my friend, the handy-dandy infographic.
NOW. If your ringer isn’t getting onto your phone, you should check a few things:
1. Your computer’s iTunes library successfully imported your .m4r file. If you don’t see it under the “Tones” tab, it won’t sync to your iPhone.
If you see it under the tab, but it doesn’t play when you double-click it, then there’s probably something wrong with the file. Make sure it plays in Finder. It’s easiest when you’re in Icon or Columns view mode, because you can listen to it straight from Finder. If it doesn’t play in Finder, go back to GarageBand, re-save the file as an .AAC, rename that file to .m4r, reimport to iTunes, and try the whole thing again.
2. Make sure “Sync Tones” is selected from your Tones tab on your phone. If it’s not selected, iTunes will totally ignore all the tones in your library.
3. iTunes is a bitch and kind of a pain to work with. This is true. If you have any problems, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try my damnedest to help you.
If you actually have a Samsung Galaxy Note II, check out Jeff’s guide to adding ringtones to it here.
And for those of you without the money-consuming powers of a smartphone, I totally suggest Myxer for putting ringers on your dumbphone. I used it for my LG V, LG enV, and Samsung Rogue with all great results. Basically you upload a song, select which chunk you want, and it sends it to your phone through text message where you can save it and use it as a ringer. Now before you cry foul, I was never charged a monthly fee. And trust me, I’m poor and paranoid enough to be very careful about that sort of thing and to scour my bill every month to confirm Myxer was totally free. Just typical message fees apply. But this was at least a year to two-years ago. If things have changed, don’t burn down my house, k?