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How to Use Songs as Ringtones on an iPhone

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the nice things about iPhones is that you can make your own ringtone. Potentially, you could create your own ringtone from any song. The process to make these songs ringtones is fairly simple. Although iTunes will do this process automatically when you buy a song, there is a cost incurred. By following a simple process, however, a person can use songs as ringtones on an iPhone for no charge.

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Open up iTunes and highlight the MP3 file of the song you want to use as a ringtone. Right-click on the song. When the menu appears, choose "Get Info."

After the next window opens, click on the tab that says "Options." In this window there is a "Start time" and "Stop Time" field. Click on the boxes next to each of these fields and put the time in the song that you want the ringtone to start and end. The time between the start and the end of the ringtone created from the song cannot be more than 30 seconds; however, it can be less.

Return to the MP3 file of the song in your iTunes library. Right-click on the song and choose "Convert Selection to AAC." A new 30-second file will be created, which is not the same file as the original MP3. This new file will be 30 seconds long (or as long as the length you made the selection in step 2 was).

Drag this new file from iTunes onto your desktop. Then return to iTunes and delete the file that was just created in Step 3 by right-clicking on the file and navigating to "Delete" in the menu that opens up. Doing this will not affect the original song file or the ringtone file that is now on your desktop.

Move the mouse to the icon on the desktop and right-click on it. A menu will appear. Find the "Rename" selection on the menu and click on it. The file will end with "m4a." Change the file extension to ".m4r."

Drag the .m4r file back into iTunes. Connect your iPhone to the USB port with the USB cord that came with the phone. When the "Sync" button appears, click "OK." This moves the ringtone to the iPhone. You now have used your own song as a ringtone on an iPhone. You can repeat this process to make your own ringtone for as many songs as you want.


Listen to the song and view the counter before choosing the start and stop times. Use the counter to let you know the exact moments when you want the ringtone to begin and end.


If you make the start and end time more than 30 seconds apart, you will be able to continue the process, but the ringtone will not transfer to the iPhone.

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Things You'll Need

  • iPhone
  • Computer
  • iTunes

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