As awesome as the iPhone is, it has a lot of shortcomings. Apple fans would like to claim that Apple doesn’t really play the “features” game and would rather implement a few features well than having a hundred ill conceived features like it’s rivals.
I agree with Apple’s philosophy to a certain extent but when a phone, in the 21st century, doesn’t let a user have their own songs as ring tones, it is taking that philosophy a little too far. That too, when Apple itself sells ringtones through it’s iTunes music store. Thankfully there are ways to make ringtones for your iPhone for free and you don’t have to pay Apple a cent for them. The only limitation seems to be that ringtones for the iPhone have to be approximately 40 seconds in size. I haven’t been able to figure out the exact time restriction so we’ll keep our custom ringtones to about 30 seconds in length.
We’ll be using iTunes for making ringtones so you’ll have to launch iTunes and select the song that you want to use for making your ringtone.
Select and right click the song in iTunes and select Get Info from the context menu. Hit the Options tab.
Now, enter the start and stop time for your ringtone. For example, in the screenshot above, from the song that I selected, iTunes will use the audio from the 43rd second till the 1.10 min mark to make my ringtone. Press the Ok button.
Now, right click the song again and select the Create AAC version option.
The next step is a little tricky and a lot of people do it wrong. It isn’t that difficult, though.
When iTunes has finished creating the AAC version of your song, you’ll see two copies of the same song in your iTunes library. The only difference will be that one will be the full song and the other will be the clipped version that starts and ends at the times that you gave earlier. You can identify the length of the songs with the Time column in your library.
What you need to do is select the AAC version (shorter) of the song and drag it out of your library to the desktop. When iTunes has copied the song to your desktop, delete the file from the iTunes library. This deletion step is really important otherwise iTunes will fail to recognize your new ringtone file.
The file that you’ve copied to your desktop will have an extension of .M4A. Rename the extension to .M4R.
That’s all. All you have to do, now, is to drag this file back to iTunes. iTunes will automatically place the file in the Tones section of your library. Sync your iPhone as usual using iTunes and you should be able to use your own custom ringtone. All without paying Apple a single dime of your hard earned money.