How to Use Songs as Ringtones on an iPhone
By David Weedmark
Using the song editing capability in iTunes, you can transform any song into a personal ringtone for your iPhone. All you have to do is create a copy of your favorite track and then tweak it a bit to make it into a ringtone your iPhone can use. Ringtones have to be 30 seconds or less, so you'll have to pick which part of the song you want to use.
Start iTunes. If prompted, sign in using the same Apple ID and password you use for your iPhone.
Drag a music file into the iTunes Music library, or press "Ctrl-O" to import it. Locate the song in your Music library or playlist. Right-click the file name and select "Get Info."
Click the "Options" tab in the window that opens. Click the check boxes beside the song's Start Time and Stop Time and change the times so the song is 30 seconds or shorter in length. If you want to start the song one minute in, then change the Start Time to "1:00" and the Stop Time to "1:30." Click "OK."
Right-click the song again. This time, select "Create AAC" Version" to create a copy of your song in AAC format. If you don't see this option, you need to change your iTunes preferences (see the next step). A duplicate 30-second version of the song appears in the Music library below the original.
If you don't have the option to create an AAC version of a song, press "Ctrl-B" to reveal the iTunes Menu bar. Then select "Preferences" from the Edit menu and the click "Import Settings" button on the "General" tab. Click the "Import Using" menu and select "AAC Encoder." Click "OK" twice to close the Preferences windows.
Right-click your original song file -- the one that still shows the full time length -- and select "Get Info" again. Highlight and delete the Start Time and Stop Time, then click "OK." This returns your original song file to its normal length.
Open the Windows Control Panel, select "Appearance and Personalization," then click "Folder Options." Click the "View" tab and then clear the check box beside "Hide extensions for known file types." You need to be able to see the song's file extension to make make it a ringtone file.
Right-click the 30-second AAC version of your song in iTunes and select "Open in Windows Explorer." Right-click the file in Windows Explorer and select "Rename." Highlight the ".mp3" extension and replace it with the ".m4r" file extension used for ringtones. Press "Enter."
Click the menu button in the upper left corner iTunes, which should say "Music' and select "Tones." Your new ringtone appears on this page, indicating that you changed the file extension correctly.
Connect your iPhone to the computer using its USB cable. Select your iPhone when it appears in the top right of the iTunes window. Click the "Tones" tab and then click the "Sync Tones" button. Click "Apply" and then "Sync" After the sync is completed, close iTunes and disconnect the USB cable.
Launch "Settings" from the iPhone's home screen. Scroll down and touch "Sounds." Scroll down again and touch "Ringtone." You can now select your custom ringtone from the list of available options.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.