How to Add Custom Sounds to an iPhone

By Chris Anzalone

The Apple iPhone is a highly customizable device. In addition to adding music, videos and software applications, you can place custom sound samples on your iPhone, which you can then use for alerts, reminders and ring tones. Each iPhone contains a library of factory sounds located within the "Settings" application, but if you find these sounds insufficient, or if you just want to customize for fun, consider adding your own sounds.

Things You'll Need

  • iTunes software
  • iPhone USB cable

Step 1

Open iTunes. Apple designates this program for all iPhone audio management. If you do not have a copy of iTunes, download the latest version for free.

Step 2

Import any sound files that you want to transfer to your iPhone. These may include songs, song snippets, sound effects and other audio files. ITunes will play AAC, AIF, MP3 or WAV files. To import a file, just drag it directly onto the iTunes window.

Step 3

Open your preferences by clicking "Edit" > "Preferences." If using Mac OS X, select "iTunes" > "Preferences." Click "Import Settings" and choose "AAC Encoder" from the first drop-down menu. Click "OK" to save your changes. This will enable you to convert your audio files into an iPhone-friendly format.

Step 4

Click the "Music" library in the left column, and select your sound file from the list. Click "Advanced" > "Create AAC Version" on the menu bar.

Step 5

Drag the new, converted file to your desktop and change the extension from ".m4a" to ".m4r." This is Apple's official ring tone format for the iPhone. You can also use M4R files for other purposes on your iPhone, such as alerts. After you change the extension, drag the file back into iTunes. You will find it in your "Ringtones" library in the left column.

Step 6

Connect your iPhone to your computer, using your white iPhone USB cable. After the iPhone appears in your iTunes left column, click it once and select the "Ringtones" tab near the top of the window.

Step 7

Check the "Sync Ringtones" box. From there, you can choose whether you want to sync (transfer) all the ring tone files in your library, or just selected files. If you choose the "Selected" options, you can then choose your sound files from the list that appears and click "Sync." The sound files will transfer to your iPhone.

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