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How to convert iTunes songs (music) into ringtone for iPhone

Updated on February 23, 2011



To further clarify the process, I have uploaded a video explaining the process.

Follow the appropriate link:


There are two different ways to convert music to ringtone.

Tools needed: iTunes and surely a music file!

OS: Mac OSX, XP and Vista.

1. Music that contains DRM and is bought through iTunes:

-Right click on the music in iTunes and select “Convert to Ringtone”.

2. Music not bought through iTunes:

Note: XP and Vista users click on “Properties” instead of “Get info”

-Right click on the music in iTunes and select “Get info”

-Go to “Options” tab

-Select “start time” and “stop time”

-Input a value for both intervals (Interval should not excede 40 secs)

-Click ok and close “Get info” window

-Now right click on that music again and select “Convert to AAC”

-Now you should find same music name file in itunes but with different length.

-Drag that file on to your desktop

-Delete the new AAC file from iTunes

-On your desktop, rename the extension from “.m4a” to “.m4r” of the file that was just dragged

-Drag the file back into iTunes library.

It should now show up in ringtone section. Just sync your iPhone and voila! If you run into any problems, just leave a comment and I will get back to you.



to chang a file from an m4a to a m4r you have to make sure that it shows m4a in the file name if it does not then do this.

Control panel > Appearance and themes > folder options > view > uncheck hide extensions for known

then click ok

rename file from: FILENAME.m4a to FILENAME.m4r

double click file and it should pop up in the ringtones section. sync your iphone and it should work.

Kevin Haworth

For those who are getting it to show up in iTunes under your ringtones folder of your library and your iPhone ringtones tab in iTunes, but NOT showing up on your iPhone try the following.

1) Go to your ringtones tab in iTunes with your phone plugged in. Select to NOT sync any of your ringtones.

2) Sync your phone (this will remove any current ringtones that might be messing up the process)

3) Next go into your iTunes library and make sure that any .m4a versions of the song are deleted. IMPORTANT: If your original version of the song was an .m4a, create an mp3 version (follow similar steps as in the OP, but convert to mp3 instead). Make sure that when you create the mp3, you create it for the WHOLE song before deleting or else you will lose your song!

4) Once you have deleted all of the .m4a versions, go back to the ringtones tab and select to sync all of your ringtones (or selected ringtones with the appropriate boxes check, however you normally have it set).

5) You should now see the ringtone appear in on your phone.

The issue seems to be that the phone would get confused if there were both .m4r and .m4a versions of a song that you were trying to put on your phone. So my solution is to delete any .m4a versions.


Love it!! Thanks a bunch for this. I followed all the steps and it worked a treat.

To convert the .m4a version to the .m4r version you have to:

1) Change your folder options by going to "My Computer"

2) Click on "View" and then uncheck the "Hide extension for known file types"... apply and ok it

3) Then right click the .m4a version on your desktop, go to "Properties". You should now be able to edit the file.

4) Click Save, you'll notice that the Itunes symbol has now change to ringtone

5) Open up the file from your desktop and DONE!

Now just click and drag it to your Iphone... it comes up in your "Sound Settings" as a "Custom" Ringtone instead of a "Purchased" one.




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    • BenMaximilian profile image

      BenMaximilian 2 years ago

      haven't you tried iOS Transfer?

      Here is the guide: How to Transfer Music from iPhone to iTunes

    • profile image

      Tina Yadav 2 years ago

      Plzz tell me I hv no account to buy a ringtone. And no computer how to set ringtone .i m not lk this type of phones

    • profile image

      Confused. 3 years ago

      Now that I converted it to a ringtone and saved it to my phone it won't let me listen to the full song anymore on my MacBook.

    • profile image

      brett 3 years ago

      hi my names brad lmao this site is so stupid it dont work at all it sucks so much lmao lol

    • davidlivermore profile image

      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Wow, I didn't realize this was a hub when I googled it. Very, very useful. You should write more on Hubpages, I'm sure you would make a killing.

    • profile image

      Allan 5 years ago

      I am havign trouble with finding the new song on my ringtones section. I have Itunes and I cant find the ringtones section in that either, but on my phone the sounds section, the ringtones, the song i have sent there doesn't come up.any suggesttions?

    • profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago

      Never mind guys, i figured it all out and it worked perfectly.

    • profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago

      I have a problem down loading ringtones on my iphone 5. I have followed all the steps, but the problem is that when i double click on the ringtone file, it does not show up in the ringtone section, instead the song starts playing and i don't see the ringtone tab in itunes. Can someone please help me?


    • profile image

      Nick 5 years ago

      Hi guys,

      I have already sync the m4r file into iphone, however, it wont take it to the ringtone library .....what am I doing wrong ?

    • profile image

      sambee 5 years ago

      I have tried the above way to get a ringtone. I cant drag it back onto itunes. It just stays on the desktop

    • profile image

      sonish 5 years ago

      i am not able to click start and stop time on option menu.. is it also needed any extra software for it??

    • profile image

      Fredrika 5 years ago

      HI! I am really confused, I followerd all the steps, and it worked perfectly. But suddenly, when I drag the m4r tone from my ringtone folder from iTunes to my iPhone, it doesn't work. I can get it into my list, but its a bit faded, and it doesn't want to play or show in my phone. Neeed your help!

      Email me;

    • profile image

      Milly 5 years ago

      Hi, this was really helpful. The only problem is that when I get to that particular song on my iphone, it only plays the part selected for the ringtone rather than the whole how do I undo the change of file format?

    • profile image

      jethro 5 years ago

      did all of the above. shows up on itunes and in phone, but does not list it in my ringtones settings. how do i transfer the sound to the settings and ringtone folder?

    • profile image

      Mrs Harland 5 years ago

      massive thank you. I have only just bought an iphone and thought this option wasn't available and that I would have to buy ring tones. Very pleased I dont have to, this is fab cheers

    • profile image

      Minche 5 years ago

      why i cant convert the m4r to the Itunes library?

    • profile image

      jeffers 5 years ago

      I followed instructions, thank you to the poster, and got the bastarding file into my itunes. When I went to sync the tones into the phone, I was warned that syncing tones would delete all my music and photos on the phone. So I backed them all up, and synced it. All pics and music deleted. Apple are a bunch of focks for making this so difficult - I guess this is the way the dissuade people from avoiding purchasing tones. Thanks Apple, my next phone is deffo gonna be a Samsung.

    • profile image

      Clarimundo Bambi 5 years ago

      I tried but I did all as shown on the information on top, but till now I can't change my ringtone. can somebody help me I to change the ringtone on iPhone?

    • profile image

      MC_jessh22 5 years ago

      Hi, i can not rename this file to a .m4r could you please email me at

    • profile image

      chivas 5 years ago

      yey!!! thanks so much for the help :)

    • profile image

      andrew m 5 years ago

      hi .. i have followed the instructions (i think) and I have the music showing as a ringtone in the itunes library, but I can't get it showing as a ringtone in the Iphone folder below it..

      Any thoughts would be much appreciated!!!

    • profile image

      God of Entropy 5 years ago

      This is a lot of hassle. In a non-iPhone mobile, you simply point to your full music as your call tone or message tone and it is simply accepted.

    • profile image

      isabelle 5 years ago


    • profile image

      Marc 5 years ago

      Thanksfor the help guys! this works great!

    • profile image

      Brandon 5 years ago

      I was having the same problem as most. If you get the gray exclamation point (!) in iTunes, double click on the file. When it asks to locate the file, click "locate" and click on the file you just changed that should still be highlighted in the windows box. After you do that, open your iPhone in iTunes, click "tones" in the top menu, then click "sync tones" then click either "all tones" or "selected tones". Select the songs you want, including the ones you just converted, then click "sync" at the bottom. The ring tones should now be in your "tones" folder.

    • profile image

      bob 5 years ago

      super helpful. thanks dude.

    • profile image

      Danyalenee 5 years ago

      Thank you so much! It worked... !

    • profile image

      Mayer 5 years ago

      Just wanted to say thanks- this is super helpful.

    • profile image

      brittah 5 years ago

      my itunes wont even let me change my stop time, everytime i change it it goes bck to the original time

    • profile image

      Daryl 5 years ago

      hi, currently, when i load the this particular ringtone into my iphone, it shows the name, but does not play the tone. yet on itunes itself, it is able to to. how do you solve such a problem?? help!!!

    • profile image

      Edie Campbell 5 years ago

      I did everything like you said and when I dragged the converted .m4r back to my itunes and it didn't show up so I double clicked it and in itunes the full song started playing from the beginning... thanks!

    • profile image

      Bluenote 5 years ago

      Cheers worked a treat.

    • profile image

      misty 5 years ago

      on my itunes it doesn't say ringtones how can i get that i have an iphone 3 gs

    • profile image

      adam 5 years ago

      I don't ever sync my iphone. I like manage my music/movies manually. Is there anyway to manually manage ringtones as well? I got it to show up in my tones folder but it is greyed out. Is a sync absolutely necessary in order to have the ringtone show up?

    • profile image

      dharmam@india 5 years ago

      thanks a lot guys...

    • profile image

      Dominique 5 years ago

      I was able to go through everything, was able to sync it to my just doesn't show up under ringtones....i can search it on my phone but it comes up under

    • profile image

      bernie 5 years ago

      i had same prob as above ringtone would apear in itunes under i phone but not in ringtones in iphone.this worked for me when you cut the song down to 40 seconds it dont work try 30 seconds. hope this helps

    • profile image

      Callu 5 years ago

      Was going well till changed to m4r said wont be able to use file and when right click and go to properties can't edit file. So doesn't work for me, if can offer any help pls email on why do IPhones have to be so complicated just to get a ring tone! Grr x

    • profile image

      James 5 years ago

      Another one thing to make your own free ringtone from mp3 files

    • profile image

      Derek R. 5 years ago

      or you guys can just go here... its kinda like youtube to mp3

    • profile image

      ben 5 years ago

      wtf all yoyu guys are of your nut thats if you have one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    • profile image

      rahul 5 years ago

      hey mates please i need help in changing the ringtone so can any of you message it to me on my id

    • profile image

      Yesim 5 years ago

      What ever I do I cannot erase the .m4a versions. Delete buttons are inactive, right clicking does not even offer a delete or an erase option. Can anybody help me with this?

    • profile image

      Adib 5 years ago

      I converted the file to m4r

      It is in the ringtone on iTunes, but cannot find it on the phone after I synchronize

    • profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago

      Hello, I have managed to rename my extention file,but it came up with a message that it might become unsuable, I went ahead anyway, and when i come to add the file to my itunes playlist - it wont transfer (or drag into it) please help -

    • profile image

      Brittany 5 years ago

      I got it to the M4A step... when i sync everything... i dont have any "ringtones" file or whatever in my itunes on my computer.... how do you get it to the ringtones tab?? or where do you get it.. help!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks!!!! im using iphone4S

    • profile image

      niti 5 years ago

      hi there, i followed all the steps above, but the ringtone didn't change in my iphone 4s. please can you help?

    • profile image

      Cryssieb 5 years ago

      this sure did help! thank you so much

    • profile image

      Paulina 5 years ago

      at first I couldn't get the ringtone to show up on my Iphone, and it would only show up on the computer. So, I just dragged the song from my itunes ringtone library onto the my "iphone" on the itunes menu.It finally worked. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH EVERYONE! THIS IS EXCELLENT!!!!!

    • profile image

      Lucy 5 years ago

      When I go to drag the m4r file into iTunes nothing happens? What do I do?

    • profile image

      rollin 5 years ago

      it should be 30 seconds or shorter to make it appear on iphone

    • profile image

      ARNIE 5 years ago

      this page is AMAZING iv'e been trying to make a ringtone for hours and hours and its all easy to say rename the mpa to mpr but mine didn's show, it only showed the song tittle name. but reading this showed me how to display the mpa at the end


    • profile image

      Bappy 5 years ago

      great job.....

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      suzymourrrrr 5 years ago

      hey this helped alot thanks ! but my file doesn't seem to appear in the ringtone file on itunes when i drag it.. and the file name isn't even ringtones, its simply tones ? is that normal ?

      email me please if you have the time asap! :)!

    • profile image

      FYTL 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot!! it helped a lot!!

    • profile image

      shane 5 years ago

      this was super helpful thank you veay much

    • profile image 5 years ago

      How do you convert it over after it is on the desktop

    • profile image

      rich 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info man! Appreciate it!

    • profile image

      hilary tan 5 years ago

      how to change the extension from m4a to m4r?

    • profile image

      xxxx 6 years ago

      none of these work on ma mums iphone

    • profile image

      Simon1985 6 years ago

      Any answers to my above question? I still can't find my ringtone on my iphone 4. email me at

    • profile image

      Simon1985 6 years ago

      Hi, I have followed the steps and succeeded in getting the music I wanted as a ringtone into the ITunes menu "tones" under My device on the ITunes page. I synched my phone (4S) and maybe it's somewhere on my phone but it's not in the listed ringtones, so I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. Can anyone help?


    • profile image

      rebecca 6 years ago

      thanks you are amazing!!!!

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      thomas 6 years ago

      everything worked perfectly for me except one thing. the songs that i used for the ringtones are messed up now. i can only listen to the part that i used for the ringtone even though its the origional and i set the start and stop back to normal. what should i do?

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      Michele 6 years ago

      So I was able to convert the file and add it to my itunes. I deleted the original version of the file, then tried to synch my iphone, it's still not showing up when I go to change my ringtone. Any ideas on what to do?

    • profile image

      ANGIE 6 years ago

      Sorry, I'm having the same trouble. Could you please email the dummy directions please. I'm not very good with computers at all.

      Thank you so very much.

    • profile image

      iphone user 6 years ago

      It is very helpful. Thanks a lot.

      Here I suggest a professional budget iPhone ringtone maker software as bellow:

    • profile image

      Erin 6 years ago

      I have an I phone 4 S and am trying to get my music from my mac computer as ringtones onto my cell phone. I am still trying the above methods but am not having much luck. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      diana 6 years ago

      hi so i did everything nd i see the ringtone in the ringtone section on itunes, but somehow i cant find it on my phone.. please help

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      Joemandango 6 years ago

      Sweet, worked a treat, had to go back and open the filename in folder options but apart from that is worked great, cheers folks, thank :))

    • profile image

      Finally! 6 years ago

      This drove me nuts, but it finally worked!

      For those that go through all the steps, but then cannot access the ringtone on the iphone after you try to sync:

      Hook your phone up to your computer. Open the iPHONE folder, then RINGTONES folder (within iphone folder) copy m4r ringtone from desktop and paste it into iphone ringtones folder (not just iphone, and not just the regular itunes ringtone folder. Hope this makes sense. There are two ringtones folders once you hook up your phone. Regular itunes, and iphone. You want the iphone ringtone.


    • profile image

      Kristin 6 years ago

      You guys are so smart. Thank you so much. Called the apple help line via ATT and they told me to Google it, thanks for your help!

    • profile image

      Chriz 6 years ago


    • qeana profile image

      qeana 6 years ago is the best free online ringtone maker. No registration.

    • profile image

      PRASHANT POPAT 6 years ago

      i m unable to tranfer it the song gets converted into rinf tone it shows me but when i sync it for transfer it shows that the file is not found

    • profile image

      GK 6 years ago

      Just looked around and solved the problem

      "I noticed that in itunes under DEVICES/RINGTONES when I had me phone hooked up,that the ringtone would not play, however it did play in LIBRARY/RINGTONES. So I deleted the ringtone in devices and drug the piece from Library into the devices, synced and Bay-yam! there it was. Happy Days"

    • profile image

      GK 6 years ago

      I have followed all the steps, and the song comes up as a ringtone on my itunes, and when i sync my iphone it comes up on tones, but it never appears on my sounds on my phone.

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      Jules 6 years ago

      Hello . i'm late to this thread . i got the ringtone into my itunes ringtone library, but it won't let me put it onto my iphone ? please help . thank you .

    • profile image

      leeee 6 years ago

      please send me an email : answering my question !

      - i did all the steps and got it to work on my itunes, but when i go to my phone ringtones on my iphone it doesn't show up?

    • profile image

      lyss 6 years ago

      Thanks Heather! Found the app and was able to make all my ringtones with the app! Awesome!

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      Devi 6 years ago

      Is this only applicable for iphone 4s or i can also use this on my phone 4?

    • profile image

      lyss 6 years ago

      Hi - Needing help - I read all the comments and my problem doesn't seem to be here (I could have missed it) but I was able to go through all the steps but once I put back the file into iTunes, it's greyed and when I synch and ensure it says to synch tones, I don't think it's doing it as it's not on my iPhone 4s. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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      darootah 6 years ago

      its not working

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      CLARISSA 6 years ago


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      Nadira 6 years ago

      Thank you :)

    • profile image

      Leets 6 years ago


      I have followed all the steps, but once I have renames the file I cant get it to go from my desktop to my Itunes... A little red circle with a line pops up and wont let me copy it back into my Itunes... Help! I used to be able to do it all the time :( But something has changed!


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      Ramabile 6 years ago

      Got all the way through every step without a problem. Moved ringtone back to the "tones" section in iTunes, and synced my phone but it did not show up in my ringtones under tones in settings, what do I do, help!?!?

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      Jane 6 years ago

      Hey I did every thing and it worked-but now I can't listen to the full song on my iTunes. It says its the full 5 min but then I go to listen to it and it oh plays the 40 seconds I chose... How do I fix that?

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      lu1$k 6 years ago

      exec post took me 5 min, i'm running windows 7 and i didn't know where to change the extensions, so i search on the search bar for extensions duhh i change that, then went to the file rename it and double clic on it and it appeared on the tones tab in itunes,

      THANKS for the info

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      kalyan.a 6 years ago

      thankx for the details its working

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      Carly 6 years ago

      Why is it that i cant find a tones or ringtones on my device folder or itunes? am i being really thick??

    • profile image

      bapu kalai 6 years ago

      but how do set it up?

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      jaycan 6 years ago

      Hi, after i set the start and end time and click ok, i right click on the song again and it doesn't give me the option to “Convert to AAC”. can you help me?

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      Quindaka 6 years ago

      Hi, I have followed the steps and succeeded in getting the music I wanted as a ringtone into the ITunes menu "tones" under My device on the ITunes page. I synched my phone (4S) and maybe it's somewhere on my phone but it's not in the listed ringtones, so I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. Can anyone help?

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      big hug 6 years ago

      omg thank you so much. i was getn a little depressed about the my phone.. seems like apple wants you to buy EVERYTHING!

    • profile image 6 years ago

      In order to change the file from m4a to m4r you must go to control panel, folder options, view, then uncheck hide extensions for know file types. Then this will allow you to change the file.

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      Jason 6 years ago

      Oh yeah, I thought it may be due to my phone having the latest software or something, as I had the issue of the ringtone was in itunes but no matter what I did it would not sync to my phone- then I just read the solution for this again and and untick tones and sync -nothing, then sync it again. I was doing 2 songs and only made sure 1 of changed in my music from m4a to mp3. but the resync created them both.great stuff your a legend

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      Carrie 6 years ago

      thax so much, i got it~!!

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      Chizzy125 6 years ago

      hi i have followed all the steps and have the tone saved in my itunes under tones and it even comes up on my phone on itunes in tones but i crnt access it on my iphone itself to select it any ideas? cheers

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      Pgold 6 years ago

      Wonderful. works great for me. thanks