How to create free ringtones for your iPhone using the Mac Music app

In this tutorial, we will show you how to convert a song or music file into a ringtone for your iPhone or iPad using the Music app on your Mac.

Selecting Ringtone on iPhone

We previously showed you how to create ringtones for your iPhone using iTunes. This iTunes tutorial still works perfectly if you own an older Mac running macOS Mojave or earlier.

But if your Mac is running macOS Catalina or later, then it does not have iTunes. In that case, you will have to use the Music app and Finder to create and add your ringtone to your iOS device. This guide walks you through the entire process from start to finish.

Create a free ringtone for iPhone in Music app on Mac

1) First things first, you cannot create a ringtone using Apple Music songs as they are DRM-protected. So, to create a ringtone, you must have a music file that’s not protected. You can get free tones and songs from a number of websites on the internet. Once you have the mp3 file in Finder, drag it onto the Mac’s Music app to import it there.

2) Next, 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

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

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

5) Check the boxes for start and stop and put the times you picked into the boxes. After that, click OK.

Get Info for Start and Stop

6) Select the clip, and from the top menu bar, 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

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

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

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

Ringtone Clip, Use m4r

10) 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 your iPhone or iPad

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 iOS device to your Mac as you normally would with a USB-C or Lightning cable.

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

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

Drag Ringtone Clip to iPhone on Mac

4) You can check to make sure the file appears on your iOS device and set it as your ringtone immediately. To do that, open Settings on your iPhone or iPad and select Sounds & Haptics or Sounds.

5) Tap 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 the eject icon in the Finder sidebar to disconnect your iPhone or iPad from your Mac.

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

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!

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