Can You Send Ringtones Via Bluetooth on iPhone?
By John Lister
Transferring ringtones via Bluetooth is technically possible on an iPhone though arguably not worth the effort. As long as you have the relevant song, you can simply create the ringtone yourself; alternatively you may be able to buy the ringtone from the iTunes store. If you do decide to make the transfer you will need to jailbreak your phone and install third-party software that isn't authorized by Apple. This is legal but technically unwieldy and could increase security risks.
IPhone ringtones are in a special format with the file extension m4r. This is similar to the m4a format used for music sold in the iTunes store but is limited to 30 seconds. You can create your own ringtones by converting a music file to the m4r format, subject to local copyright laws.
Bluetooth is a way of wirelessly connecting two devices, such as smartphones, in order to transfer data wirelessly from one device to the other. While the iPhone supports Bluetooth connections for direct file transfers, the built-in operating system and applications do not support the transfer of ringtone files. This means you must use a third-party application that is not available through iTunes such as iBlueooth, AirBlue Sharing or BlueTooth ToolBox.
Jailbreaking means to alter a device such as a smartphone to remove technical limitations imposed by the manufacturer. In the case of an iPhone this specifically means allowing the phone to run software that has not come through the iTunes App Store. Jailbreaking is not illegal but it is a decision you should not make lightly as there are consequences. For example, the iPhone will no longer fall under its Apply warranty. Furthermore, jailbreaking your iPhone may increase the likelihood of your iPhone developing technical faults or receiving a virus, partly because you will be running software that hasn't been verified through Apple, and partly because you will have removed some restrictions on how the software can interact with and access the operating system. Business analyst Corporate Insight warns that using non-verified software could be a particular risk for smartphone owners who use mobile banking, while security firm Sophos noted in January 2012 the only two known major viruses on iPhones only worked on jailbroken models.
Using a jailbroken iPhone, you can install an application such as iBluetooth for direct transfers of ringtone files. This application is not part of the iTunes store; do not confuse it with "iBluetooth for Photos," which is in the store. You will need to install iBluetooth using a non-Apple file manager designed for jailbroken phones such as Cydia. When you run iBluetooth you will be able to select the file you want to transfer from the "Ringtones" section under the "Library" option. The person who is receiving the file must also have iBluetooth running. He or she can then accept the file transfer and save the file to the same "Ringtones" section on his or her phone. Other iPhone Bluetooth applications will work in a similar way, though check each app's help section for precise instructions.
When you have finished using iBluetooth, you should press the red "X" button to close it completely. This will then prevent any unwanted attempts at file transfers. You should also switch off Bluetooth on the phone to prevent unnecessary battery use.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.