Where Can I Get Safe Free Ringtones?
By Brian Jung
Most sources of free ring tones on the Internet offer some sort of risk. Sites like Zedge, Myxer and FunforMobile all host user content enabling people to share ringtones that they've created. While many users freely download from these sites without problems, files on sharing sites like these can host malicious code. The safest way to load up ringtones on your phone is to make your own.
Record on Your Phone
Some phones enable you to record sounds using the phone's recorder and set the recording as a ringtone. You can record your voice, or your child's voice or your dog barking and use that as a ringtone, if you want to make it unique. You also can make low-quality ringtones of your favorite songs by recording them from a speaker. This is legal as long as you don't try to sell or distribute ringtones.
Sound editing software like the free, open-source program Audacity is ideal for creating ringtones. Open up just about any sound file, and using the editing software you can select clips, fade in and fade out and add effects. Save the file as an MP3 -- you may have to install the proper encoder separately -- and then follow your phone's instructions for transferring the file to your phone and setting it as a ringtone.
ITunes has had a rocky relationship with ringtones over the years, first offering them and enabling you to create them, then silently removing those features. With ITunes 10 you can create your own ringtones in iTunes from tracks that you own by selecting "Get Info" for a track. In the Options tab, set the time to play to a specific selection under 30 seconds. Select "Create AAC" from the Advanced menu to create a new AAC file. Finally, change the extension of the created file from M4A to M4R. You can now load the file as a ringtone to your iPhone.
Working directly on a smartphone saves you the step of transferring your ringtones from a computer. Most smartphone apps, whether for Android or iOS, work similarly to Audacity, providing a visual wave form of the song you want to use and enabling you to clip it to select a section for use as a ringtone. Ringdroid, Ringtone Maker from Big Bang, Inc., or MP3 Ringtone Maker from Lucky Start, among many others, help you create ringtones from MP3s you already have on your Android phone. IOS 6 supports a new version of Garage Band that enables iPhone users to create ringtones from both songs they own and compositions they've created themselves. The App Store includes a wide selection of other options including Ringtone Star, which helps you edit your existing music and video library into ringtones, and 1,500 Unlimited Ringtones, which enables you to choose from 1,500 pre-made ringtones.
Brian Jung has been writing professionally since 1991. Currently he works as a software developer for University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, where he also contributes reviews and commentary on children's and young adult literature to his own blog, Critique de Mr Chompchomp, and to Guys Lit Wire. Brian holds a Doctor of Philosophy in English from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.