How to create free ringtones for your iPhone using Music on Mac

Several years ago, we showed you how to create ringtones for your iPhone using iTunes. And if you own an older Mac that still uses iTunes, this tutorial still works like a charm. But if you have a newer version of macOS without iTunes, you’ll need to follow somewhat of a different process to create and use your ringtone.

This how-to walks you through creating ringtones for your iPhone using the Music app. The steps are similar for making the ringtone but getting it onto your device differs. So, here’s the entire process from start to finish.

Create a ringtone in Music on Mac

Open the Music app on your Mac and select the song you want to use for the ringtone. You’ll grab the snippet of the song you want to use with a 30-second or less clip. So you may want to listen to the song first and jot down the start and end times you want to use by viewing the song at the top of the Music app window as it plays.

Music Song Look for Start and Stop

1) Once you have the start and end times noted for the clip, right-click the song and pick Get Info.

2) Select the Options tab in the pop-up window.

3) Check the boxes for Start and Stop and put the times you picked into the boxes.

4) Click OK.

Get Info for Start and Stop

5) Select the clip and click File > Convert > Create AAC Version. (Note: If the song is protected, you’ll receive an alert that you cannot convert it. In this case, you may want to use a different tune).

You’ll see a copy of the song title in the Music app with the Time marked for what you selected.

Ringtone Clip in Music on Mac

6) Right-click that song clip and select Show in Finder.

7) Rename the file extension from.m4a to .m4r.

8) Confirm this by clicking Use .m4r in the pop-up window.

Ringtone Clip, Use m4r

9) Go back to the Music app, right-click the song clip, and choose Delete From Library. Confirm the action with Delete Song but in the subsequent pop-up asking if you want to move it to the trash, pick Keep File.

Delete Clip Keep File

Add the ringtone to iPhone

Now that you have your cool new ringtone ready, it’s time to put it on your iPhone! Keep the Finder window that contains the song clip/ringtone open and do the following.

1) Connect your iPhone to your Mac as you normally would with the Lightning cable.

2) Open a new Finder window and select your iPhone from the sidebar.

3) Drag the ringtone from its location in Finder to your iPhone in Finder.

Drag Ringtone Clip to iPhone on Mac

4) You can check to make sure the file appears on your iPhone and set it as your ringtone immediately. Open Settings on your iPhone and select Sounds & Haptics.

5) Choose Ringtone and you should see the song title for the ringtone you created. Tap to pick it as your new ringtone and listen to the preview if you like.

Select New Ringtone on iPhone

6) Click Eject to properly disconnect your iPhone from your Mac.

That’s it! It is a lot of steps, but once you do it the first time it goes quicker if you continue to create more ringtones.

Wrapping it up

Along with using the Music app, you can use GarageBand to create an iPhone ringtone too. So you have a couple of great options for making ringtones out of your favorite tunes. Let us know if you plan to create your next iPhone ringtone!