Owners of the Apple iPhone may be frustrated by an inability to use the songs that so easily play on the device's iPod function as ringtones. The thing that prevents this capability is the special format that iPhone requires for ringtones. Using freeware and native system applications, you can create ringtones for your iPhone out of songs you have stored on your iPod.
Copying your iPod Music to iTunes
Since there is, as of February 2011, no way to move music directly from your iPod to your iPhone, you will have to use your computer as an intermediary for using your iPod songs as iPhone ringtones. There are a number of programs available that let you back your iPod to your computer, including a free program called Expod. The program looks like a stripped-down version of iTunes, where you connect your iPod to your computer, select it from Expod's source panel at the left, choose the music you want to copy from the main library window and click "Extract." Choose your iTunes music folder as the destination for your copied music and your iPod music will appear in iTunes, where you can begin the process of readying it for ringtone use on your iPhone.
Formatting your Songs
Though many smartphones and cellular phones allow you to apply ringtones in the .mp3 format, iPhone requires ringtones to be in .m4r format. You can convert your copied iPod songs to this format using iTunes and your computer's operating system tools. Choose a song you want to convert to an iPhone ringtone from the iTunes library. Make sure your "Import Settings" are adjusted so that the iTunes encoder is set to AAC format. Pick a 40-second maximum sample of the song you want and mark it in the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" fields in the Options tab of the song's info panel, which you can access by selecting "File," "Get Info" while the song is selected. Run the encoder to create a file that consists only of the part of the song you entered in the stop and start time fields. You can run the encoder by selecting "Advanced," "Create AAC Version." Locate the shortened file on your computer's hard drive by selecting "File," "Show in Windows Explorer." The final change you need to make to the file is to adjust the extension from ".m4a" to ".m4r" by right-clicking on it in Windows Explorer, selecting "Rename" and typing in the "r" in place of the "a." Delete the file back in iTunes but select the "Keep File" option from the dialog box that appears, and drag the .m4r file from Windows Explorer into iTunes.
Adding Ringtone Songs to iPhone
Now that the hard part is completed and the song that was formerly on your iPod as a full music file has been converted into a clipped iPhone ringtone, you can connect your iPhone to your computer and add the ringtone to the device by dragging it from the "Ringtones" library in iTunes to the iPhone icon at the left of iTunes. Disconnect your iPhone when the sync has finished.
Setting the Ringtone
Finally, you can hear your iPod song as a ringtone. Open the "Settings" app and choose "Sounds," "Ringtone." From there you can find the "Custom" ringtone heading and click your converted song to set it as your ringtone.