How to Turn Your iTunes Songs Into Ring Tones

By Jill Scheer

The new iTunes 10 update removed the very convenient option of creating ring tones from purchased iTunes songs. These ring tones would cost $1.99 even if you already paid for the song. However, it is still possible to legally create ring tones from any non-file-protected song in your library, and best of all, you can do it for free. This method works best with songs that you have imported from a CD.

Step 1

Select the song from which you want to create a ring tone in iTunes. Listen to it and choose the clip you want to use as your ring tone. Make note of the start and stop times of the clip. It must be 30 seconds or less.

Step 2

Right-click the song. Select "Get Info." Select the "Options" tab. Check the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" boxes in the center of the window and input the start and stop times of the clip you want. Click "OK."

Step 3

Right click on the song again and select "Create AAC version." This will create a clip of your ring tone. Drag the clip onto your desktop.

Step 4

Go to your desktop and find the clip. Change the file extension to ".m4r." If you have an iPhone, double-click on the clip to add it to your iTunes library. It will import as a ring tone. If you have another type of cell phone, plug it into your computer and drag the ".m4r" clip into your ring tones folder.

Step 5

Delete the AAC copy of your song from your Music library in iTunes. Right-click on the regular version of the song one last time, click "Get Info," and uncheck the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" options under the "Options" menu. This will allow the entire song to play in the future. If you have an iPhone, sync it to add the ring tone.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are not seeing "Create AAC version" when you right-click on your song, but are seeing "Create MP3 version" (or something else) instead, click on "Edit" at the top of iTunes, and then click on "Preferences." Under the "General" tab, click the "Import Settings" button. Click on the "Import Using" drop-down menu and select "AAC Encoder." Click "OK." Now, this method will work for you.