Best Ways to Save Money on iPhone Ringtones

Top up your iPhone's ringtones with these tips

Free iPhone Ringtones
Source: Pixabay

Apple makes it easy to buy and download songs for your iPhone. And if you've done this before then you'll already know that this facility is conveniently built right into the iTunes Store app. The process of getting tones is very similar in fact to buying digital music and other audio products like audiobooks.

This might be fine for the occasional ringtone you want, but what if you want ones that are just shortened versions of songs that are already in your iTunes library?

You've already purchased these full songs from Apple, so why should you have to pay a second time just for a portion of one? Normally, you need to pay a fee for every single ringtone you get from the iTunes Store. But in this guide, we'll show you some great alternative ways that won't cost you any money at all -- only your time of course.

One way that you'll probably want to try first is to create free ringtones using the songs already in your library (providing they are DRM-free). In the first section of this guide, we'll show you how to use the iTunes software to generate M4R files that you can sync to your iPhone. You'll also discover several other methods you can employ that don't even involve Apple's store or software.

No Need to Buy Ringtones, Just Use the iTunes Software

iTunes Create AAC Version

As previously mentioned, you might have been under the impression that the only way to get ringtones on your iPhone was to purchase extra ones from the iTunes Store. But, in this section, you'll discover how to easily create them from the songs you already own using Apple's own iTunes software.

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC and go to your music library.

  2. The first thing you'll want to do is preview a song to identify the part you want to use as a ringtone. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to listen to a track and identify a section which would make a good audio loop. Note down the start and end point (in minutes and seconds), making sure the overall time is no longer than 30 seconds.

  3. To start creating a ringtone from the selected song, right-click on it and then select Song Info from the pop-up menu.

  4. You should now see a screen showing you information about the track. Click on the Options tab.

  5. Next, to the Start Time and End Time fields place a check mark next to each one. Now, enter the values you noted down earlier in steps 2. Click OK when done.

  6. Now you need to create a ringtone file. Do this by selecting the song with your mouse, click the Advanced tab at the top of the screen, and then choose Create AAC Version from the menu. For Mac OS X this option will be via File > Create New Version > Create AAC Version.

  7. You should now see a shortened version of the original song appear in your iTunes library. Before continuing to the next step you'll need to clear the modifications you made earlier in step 5 so your original song plays all the way through.

  8. For Windows, right-click the music clip that you have created and choose Show in Windows Explorer. For Mac OS X use Finder. You will notice that the file you have created has the .M4A extension. In order for it to be correctly identified you need to rename this extension to M4R.

  9. Double-click the renamed file and iTunes should now automatically import it into the Ringtones section.

If you have problems getting the ringtone into iTunes then first drag the music clip to your desktop and rename it with the .M4R file extension. Delete the music clip in iTunes and then double-click the file on your desktop to import it.

Websites That Offer Free and Legal Ringtones

If you want to venture beyond your music library and the limits of the iTunes Store, then a good source of ringtones are websites that allow you to download for free. But, often the problem with this is that it can be hard to find ones that are both free and legal at the same time.

You might have already visited countless websites that seem to offer free tones until you try to download them. After this, you might find yourself having to pay a subscription, or even find yourself directed to another unrelated site full of advertisements.

This section highlights websites that genuinely offer content which is free and legal to download (or send to your phone in some cases). Some of the following services also offer other content which you may be interested in such as videos, games, apps, wallpapers, etc.

Point to remember about ringtone websites:

When downloading from any website, it's best to keep in mind the legality side of things. The content that is offered usually gives you a clue. If a site hosts free ringtones from the latest chart-topping songs, then it's probably best to keep well away.

Creating Ringtones Using Audio Editing Software / Apps

You can do a lot with audio editing software, but this tool is also great for making ringtones. Using them can look complicated, but all you need to do is import a song from your library and then export a small 30-second audio loop

One of the most popular audio editors to use is Audacity. In fact, if you want to learn how to use this then we've written a guide on how to use Audacity to create free ringtones. There are also other free audio editors out there too -- it's just a matter of finding one you feel comfortable with.

Splitting Songs into Ringtones

You might feel that using an audio editor is overkill just for creating ringtones. So, if this is the case then you might want to consider an audio file splitting tool. There are quite a few free ones to choose from and perhaps the biggest advantage is ease of use.

There are also apps you can use that feature an audio splitting option. GarageBand, for instance, might be an app you associate with creating music, but you can also generate ringtones too.

 If all you want to do is make short audio loops then this type of tool is worth considering.