How to Use MP3 Message Alert for iPhone

Written by kyle fiechter
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How to Use MP3 Message Alert for iPhone
(Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

If the audio message alert selection for the iPhone is not as extensive as you would like, you can upload your own message alert tones to your iPhone. If the message alert file is in the MP3 format, you will need to change the format using iTunes before uploading the file to your iPhone. Your MP3 message alert should be about three seconds long, though longer alerts often work as well. You will be able to upload the clip to your iPhone with an FTP or SFTP (secure FTP) client after you convert the file.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • FTP or SFTP client

Show MoreHide


    Convert from MP3 to CAF

  1. 1

    Open iTunes and then click "Preferences" to convert file types. In Windows, this is found under "Edit;" in a Mac, this is found under the "iTunes" menu.

  2. 2

    Click "General" and then click the "Importing Settings" button (this is found in the second section of the window.)

  3. 3

    Choose "AIFF" from the "Import Using" pop-up dialogue. Click "OK."

  4. 4

    Select the message alert tone you want to use from your library and then choose "Create AIFF version" from the Advanced menu.

  5. 5

    Locate the newly created AIFF file and move it to your desktop. Rename the file to include the CAF file extension instead of an AIFF file extension. For example, if your file is named "iPhoneAlert.aiff," rename it "iPhoneAlert.caf."

    FTP to iPhone

  1. 1

    Download "" to your iPhone. Then using, install the necessary applications to your iPhone. According to Code Retard, this includes "Launcher," "OpenSSH," "BSD Subsystem" and "Mobile Finder."

  2. 2

    Locate your iPhone's IP address. Tap the "Settings" icon from your home screen and then tap "WiFi." Select your network and tap the blue arrow to reveal "Advanced Settings." Note the IP address that is listed.

  3. 3

    Download and install an FTP client such as FileZilla (open source and free) or an SFTP client such as Cyberduck for Mac or WinSCP for Windows to your computer if you do not already have one.

  4. 4

    Open your FTP client and then choose "Open Connection" or similar. Type your IP address in the "Server" text field. Type "root" as the User Name, "alpine" as the Password and "22" as the Port; and choose "SFTP" as the Protocol. Click "Connect" or similar to connect to your iPhone.

    Transfer the File

  1. 1

    Navigate to "/System/Library/Audio/UISounds" on the iPhone side of the partition in your FTP client.

  2. 2

    Rename the CAF file on your desktop to replace one of the following SMS alerts:

    Tri-tone (sms-received1.caf)

    Chime (sms-received2.caf)

    Glass (sms-received2.caf)

    Horn (sms-received4.caf)

    Bell (sms-received5.caf)

    Electronic (sms-received6.caf)

    For example, if you want to replace the "Tri-Tone" alert, rename the CAF file on your desktop to "sms-received1.caf."

  3. 3

    Delete or rename the file corresponding to the SMS alert you replaced on your iPhone. For example, if you replaced the Tri-tone alert, delete "sms-received1.caf" from your iPhone or change the name to "sms-received_1.caf."

  4. 4

    Locate, drag and drop the CAF file from the "computer" side of the partition on your FTP to the "iPhone" side of the partition. For example, if you renamed the file on your desktop "sms-received1.caf," drag this file from the desktop in your FTP to your iPhone; this will replace "Tri-tone" with your new message alert tone.

  5. 5

    Choose your new message tone in your iPhone. For example, if you replaced sms-received1.caf, then you should choose "Tri-tone."

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