How to Make iPhone Ringtones by Using Audacity

If you're a musician, you can use your own original music in ringtones.
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Unless you fancy hearing a quacking duck or a barking dog every time somebody calls you, the default iPhone ringtones are completely uninspiring. You could buy or download a ringtone based on a popular song, but that brings with it the very real possibility that you will hear the same ringtone coming from someone else's phone. Instead, celebrate your individuality by creating a custom ringtone in Audacity.

Download and install the FFmpeg import / export library for Audacity (link in Resources). This gives Audacity the ability to open and save files in the AAC format, which your iPhone uses for ringtones.

Launch Audacity and open the song you want to use as the ringtone. Ensure the Selection tool is active.

Press "Play" and listen to the song, paying attention to where the tracking cursor is located. When you reach the point at which you want the ringtone to start, press "Pause." Click with the Selection tool exactly where the tracking cursor is located and, without releasing the mouse button, drag to the right to select part of the song. When the selected segment is roughly 30 seconds long, release the mouse button.

Press "Play" again. Audacity will play back only the selected part of the song. Adjust the selection, if necessary. It's okay if the selection is shorter than 30 seconds, but it must not be any longer. If necessary, you can press "Ctrl-1" to zoom in on the track and adjust the selection more precisely.

Press "Shift-T" to trim the song so it only includes the selected portion. Make any other adjustments you want to the ringtone, such as adding a fade-in and fade-out portion.

Press "Ctrl-Shift-E" to export the ringtone. Select "M4A (AAC) Files" from the "Save as Type" drop-down menu, give the file an appropriate name and save it in a location you will remember. If prompted to edit the metadata for the file, modify it to your liking or simply click "OK" to leave it as it is.

Navigate to the location where you saved the file. Rename the file and change its extension from ".m4a" to ".m4r" to ensure iTunes and your iPhone will identify it as a ringtone.

Add the file to your iTunes library, connect your iPhone to your computer and sync.

Laurel Storm has been writing since 2001, and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin.