Apple iPhone smartphones are media powerhouses which read music, video and image files. However, the iPhone cannot use MP3 files as ringtones directly. The iPhone operating system uses only advanced audio coding (AAC) "m4r" files as ringtones. These files are easily created and converted using the Apple iTunes application to first convert the files from MP3 to AAC format and convert again from the default "m4a" file type to the necessary "m4r" type.
Open iTunes and locate the song you want for a ringtone in the library.
Play the file and listen for the section to be used as the ringtone. Note on the player the time the section you want begins and ends. Make sure that the total time does not exceed 40 seconds.
Right-click the selected song and click "Get Info" from the menu to open the music properties window.
Click the "Options" tab. Enter the noted times into the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" fields. Click "Ok" to confirm the new times.
Highlight the song and open the "Advanced" menu. Click "Create AAC Version" to make a copy of the file using the entered time frame.
Drag the new file from iTunes to the desktop to create a copy.
Right-click the new file and select "Rename." Change the extension from ".m4a" to ".m4r" and confirm when prompted. On a Mac, select the song and click the name once and change it.
Return to iTunes. Right-click the shortened version and click "Delete." Select "Remove" followed by "Move to Recycle Bin." On a Mac, select the song and hit delete.
Double-click the renamed file from the desktop to automatically add the file into the iTunes Ringtones library.
Attach the iPhone to the computer using the included USB cable.
Select the iPhone from the Devices menu and click the "Ringtones" tab.
Check the "Sync Ringtones" box and select either "All ringtones" to sync the entire Ringtones library or "Selected ringtones" to only transfer specific ringtones.
Click the "Sync" button to transfer the ringtones to the iPhone.
Open "Settings" on the iPhone and select the "Sounds" and "Ringtone" menus. Select the "Custom" section and choose your new ringtone.
Remove the start and stop times from the original file in iTunes.
- On a PC, if the file extension is not visible on the end of the file name, open "My Computer," select the "Tools" menu and click "Folder Options." Click the "View" tab and locate the "Hide extensions of known file types" checkbox. Uncheck the box and click "Ok" to confirm.
- If the "Ringtones" option is not displayed in the iTunes sidebar, open the "Edit" menu and click "Preferences." Select the "General" tab and ensure that the "Ringtones" checkbox is checked.