How to Change the Ringtone on the iPhone

by Jeff Grundy
You can create your own iPhone ringtones from AAC- or MP3-formatted audio or music tracks.

You can create your own iPhone ringtones from AAC- or MP3-formatted audio or music tracks.

With over 244 million iPhones sold since 2007 at the time of this publication, it is understandable that many users find themselves in the presence of others that own the device. If you use the default ringtone on your iPhone, you might find yourself reaching for it whenever you hear the familiar tone--even if it's not your phone that's ringing. However, changing the ringtone on your iPhone, or adding a custom one, so that you differentiate it from others in the crowd is relatively simple.

Choosing a Built-In Ringtone

Tap "Home" on the display, then "Settings."

Tap "Sounds," then select "Ringtone."

Scroll down to the ringtone you want to use and tap it. You iPhone now uses the selected ringtone as the default when you receive calls.

Adding New Ringtones with iTunes Store

Ensure your iPhone's Wi-Fi or 3G Internet access is active. Tap "Home," then "iTunes." The Apple iTunes store appears in the phone's browser.

Browse the iTunes Ringtones sections and select one you like. After you find a ringtone you want to purchase, tap its price listing and then tap "Buy."

Log in to the iTunes store with your Apple username and password. After you log in, Apple charges the purchase to your iTunes account. After the site processes your purchase successfully, the iPhone downloads the ringtone and displays a New Ringtone box.

Tap "Set as Default Ringtone," then "Done." The iPhone sets the newly purchased ringtone as the default on your phone.

Creating Custom Ringtones in iTunes

Launch iTunes from your laptop or desktop computer. Click the "Music" library link in the navigation pane to display all of the music in your iTunes collection.

Select an MP3 music track you want to convert and use a ringtone for your iPhone. Right-click the highlighted music track and click "Get Info" on the pop-up menu.

Select the Start Time and Stop Time options and adjust time values in minutes and seconds if you only want to use a portion of the song as a ringtone. Otherwise, simply click the "OK" button.

Right-click the selected music track again, then click "Create AAC Version." iTunes will create a copy of the MP3 track but rename it with the M4A file extension.

Drag the M4A version of the music track to the Windows Desktop. Highlight the M4A music file on the Windows desktop and press the "F2" key. Rename the "M4A" file extension for the track to "M4R." If Windows prompts you to confirm that you want change the file extension, click "OK."

Select the AAC version of the track again in the iTunes Music Library list. Right-click the AAC version of the track, then click "Delete" on the pop-up menu.

Drag the new M4R version of the track to the Ringtones Library link in iTunes. Windows copies the file and it appears in the Ringtones Library list in iTunes.

Connect your iPhone to your computer and wait for iTunes to detect and configure the connection. Click the "Sync" button to transfer the new ringtone to your iPhone. Select the new ringtone by tapping "Settings," "Sounds," "Ringtones" and then selecting the new custom track from the list.


  • You can assign a specific ringtone to a caller on your iPhone by selecting the person's name in Contacts, then tapping "Ringtone" and choosing the tone you want to hear when he calls you. This helps you know who's calling you without needing to glance at the iPhone display screen.

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images