How to Set an MP3 As a Ringtone on an iPhone

Looking for a unique ring tone for your Apple iPhone? Here's a quick hack to change any MP3 into a custom ring tone file that is accepted by iOS 8. All you need is iTunes and the USB cable that came with your iPhone.

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Transfer custom ring tones from iTunes to your iPhone.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Download the most recent version of iTunes if you don't have iTunes 12 or higher. Click My Music and then select Import File from the File menu. Locate your song in the navigation window and click Open. This imports the MP3 to your iTunes music library, converting it to an M4A file.

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Locate the MP3 and import it to the Music library.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.
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Change the start and stop times to trim the music to ring tone length.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Right-click the imported MP3 and select Get Info. Click the Options tab. Trim the song down to the portion you want to use as a ring tone by changing the Start and Stop times. Ring tones must be shorter than 40 seconds.

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Create an AAC version of the song.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Right-click the MP3 title and select Create AAC Version. This creates a copy of the song in the music library, however its length is reduced to the playing time you specified.

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Reveal the shortened song in Windows Explorer.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Right-click the shorter version of the song and select Show in Windows Explorer. A new Explorer window opens with the file already highlighted.

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Copy the file to the desktop.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Right-click the new song file and drag it from the Windows Explorer window onto the desktop. Select Copy Here.

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Change the file extension to M4R.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Right-click the song file on the desktop and select "Rename." Change the three-letter file extension from M4A to M4R. This changes the file from a normal audio -- A -- file to a ring tone -- R -- file that iTunes can recognize.

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Delete both versions of the imported song.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Delete both versions of the imported song from the iTunes Music library by right-clicking each and selecting "Delete." This step is necessary in iTunes 12 so that iTunes won't mistake the ring tone as a duplicate of the song file that you already have.

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Drag the ring tone file into the Tones library.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Click the bell-shaped Tones icon and then drag the M4R file from the desktop onto iTunes. The song is imported as a ring tone.

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Sync the new ring tone to the iPhone.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Connect your iPhone to your computer using its the USB cable. Click the iPhone icon in iTunes and then click Tones. Click the Sync Tones check box if it's not already checked and then select the ring tone you just made. Click Apply to sync the new ring tone to the iPhone.

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The new ring tone appears on your iPhone.
credit: Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Step

Select Settings on the iPhone once the sync is complete. Tap Sounds and then select Ringtone. Your new ring tone appears near the top of the screen. Tap it to use it as your Phone's ring tone.