How to Set a Custom Ringtone on iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting a custom ringtone on your iPhone might seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier than you think. All you need is the latest version of iTunes, a song you want to use, and a few minutes of your time. Once you’re set up, you can assign your custom ringtone to any contact you want, so you’ll know who’s calling just by the sound.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Set a Custom Ringtone on iPhone

Before diving into the step-by-step process, it’s important to note that you’ll be creating a short snippet of a song (no longer than 30 seconds) to use as your ringtone. This guide will help you do that and get it onto your iPhone.

Step 1: Choose a Song

Select a song that you want to use as your custom ringtone.

The song you choose can be any song that you have in your iTunes library. It’s best to choose a song with a distinctive chorus or beat that you can easily recognize.

Step 2: Open iTunes

Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer.

Opening iTunes is the first step because you’ll be using it to trim the song to the desired 30-second snippet and convert it to a ringtone file.

Step 3: Trim the Song

Use the Get Info and Options menus in iTunes to select the part of the song you want to use.

In iTunes, right-click (or control-click) on the song and select ‘Get Info’. From there, navigate to the ‘Options’ tab, where you can set the start and stop times for your snippet.

Step 4: Create an AAC Version

Create an AAC version of the snippet using the File menu in iTunes.

With your snippet selected, go to the File menu, navigate to ‘Convert’, and select ‘Create AAC Version’. iTunes will then create a duplicate of the snippet in the AAC file format, which is necessary for ringtones on iPhone.

Step 5: Change the File Extension

Change the file extension of the AAC file from .m4a to .m4r.

Locate the new AAC file in your iTunes library, drag it to your desktop, and change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r, which is the extension for ringtones on iOS.

Step 6: Sync with Your iPhone

Add the .m4r file to the Tones section in iTunes and sync your iPhone.

Drag the .m4r file back into iTunes, drop it in the ‘Tones’ section, and then sync your iPhone. Make sure the ‘Sync Tones’ option is selected in your iPhone’s device options in iTunes.

After completing this action, you will have successfully added a custom ringtone to your iPhone. You can go to your iPhone’s settings, navigate to Sounds & Haptics, and then Ringtones to set your new custom ringtone.

Tips: Setting a Custom Ringtone on iPhone

  • Make sure your iTunes software is up to date before starting.
  • Choose a song with a memorable hook or beat for easier identification.
  • Keep your ringtone under 30 seconds, as that’s the maximum length allowed.
  • If you don’t see Tones in iTunes, you may need to enable it in the preferences.
  • You can assign different ringtones to different contacts for quick caller identification.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any song for my custom iPhone ringtone?

You can use any song that you have in your iTunes library, provided it is not DRM protected.

How long can my custom ringtone be?

Your custom ringtone can be up to 30 seconds long.

Do I need to buy the song I want to use as a ringtone?

No, you do not need to buy the song as long as you already have it in your iTunes library.

Why can’t I find the ‘Tones’ section in iTunes?

You may need to go into your iTunes preferences and enable the ‘Tones’ section if it’s not automatically showing.

Can I set custom ringtones for text messages as well?

Yes, you can set custom tones for text messages using the same process but selecting ‘Text Tone’ instead of ‘Ringtone’ in your iPhone’s Sounds & Haptics settings.


  1. Choose a song.
  2. Open the latest version of iTunes.
  3. Trim the song to a 30-second snippet.
  4. Create an AAC version of the snippet.
  5. Change the file extension to .m4r.
  6. Sync the file with your iPhone.


Customizing your iPhone experience by setting a custom ringtone is a fun way to showcase your personality and preferences. Whether it’s your favorite song, a catchy tune, or something that reminds you of someone special, having a custom ringtone can make receiving calls a more enjoyable experience. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter when your phone rings and people recognize the tune!

With the above steps, creating and setting a custom ringtone on your iPhone is a breeze. Just remember to keep the file short, sweet, and to the point. After you’ve set your new ringtone, why not go the extra mile and assign unique ringtones to your most frequent contacts? This way, you’ll know who’s calling without even needing to look at your phone.

The next time your phone rings, let it be an expression of who you are. Dive into your iTunes library and start crafting that perfect ringtone today. And who knows? Your custom ringtone might just become the next big hit among your friends and family!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy