Yesterday I spent a few moments creating a ringtone from the Salve Regina for the community iPhone. It occurred to me that others might like to do the same; so, if you don’t know how, here is a simple method using nothing but iTunes.
1. Choose your music and make sure that you have the legal right to copy it. Load the mp3 into iTunes.
2. Ctrl-click (right click) the file and select Get info.
3. Go to the options tab and look at the Start time and Stop time boxes. To work on an iPhone, your ringtone must be 30 seconds or less; so if the mp3 has a longer duration, set the start time at 0:00 and the stop time at 0:30. (If you want to use a section of the mp3 rather than just the beginning, use Audacity or Garageband to get the section you want to use and load that into iTunes.) Click OK.
4. Ctrl-click (right click) your newly-clipped file and select Convert to AAC. (If your menu item does not read Convert Selection to AAC but says Convert Selection to mp3 (or some other format), please go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > Importing and change the Import Using drop-down menu to AAC Encoder).
5. From your iTunes music folder, drag the AAC file to your desktop. Then go back to iTunes and delete the item from your iTunes library. N.B. This is essential: it won’t delete the file from your computer, just from iTunes. To find out why, read on.
6. Ctrl-click (right click) the file on your desktop and select Get info. Go to the Name and extension tab and change the extension from .m4a to .m4r. (Alternatively, you could just retype the name on the desktop file, but this is the fool-proof method.)
7. Now double-click on your newly renamed file, which will automatically bring it into the Ringtones section of iTunes. If you don’t see it in the menu, go to iTunes preferences and make sure that you have checked Show ringtones.
8. Sync your phone with iTunes (make sure you have sync ringtones selected) and go on your way rejoicing.
9. Remember to uncheck the start and stop times on your original mp3 file, or it will only ever play the first 30 seconds of the recording.
There is another method using just Garageband, but the above is fine for all DRM-free files.