How to Get Free iPhone Ringtones

Create ringtones using iTunes or find free ringtones online

Woman using iphone in city downloading free ringtones
Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Ringtones let you customize your iPhone with tunes and sounds you like, even letting you assign specific ringtones to your various contacts.

The easiest way to add a ringtone to your iPhone is to buy it on the iTunes Store, usually for 99 cents or $1.29. But if you'd prefer not to spend money, create free ringtones using songs you already own, or visit a website that offers free, legal ringtones for download.

The information in this article applies to any iPhone.

Make Ringtones From Songs You Own With iTunes

While it takes some effort, it is possible to create a new ringtone from a song you already own in your iTunes library. To do this, select a song you own that is saved to your local hard drive; your song can't be in the cloud or streamed from the internet.

It's not possible to create ringtones from songs in your library that were downloaded with Apple Music; the song must be purchased from iTunes or imported from a CD you own.

  1. Decide on a song in your iTunes library.

    The maximum length of a ringtone is 40 seconds; for text message tones the maximum length is 30 seconds.

  2. Mac users: Select iTunes > Preferences > General.

    Windows users: Select Edit > Preferences > General.

    At the bottom of the window, click Import Settings.

    Import Settings in iTunes on macOS
  3. In the Import Settings window, go to the the Setting dropdown. (Note which setting is currently selected so you can go back at the end of this process and restore it to your original choice.)

    Select High Quality (128 kbps) from the menu, and then select OK.

    High Quality (128 kbps) option in Import Settings

    Make sure you also have AAC selected as the import format, if it isn't already.

  4. Locate your song in the iTunes library. Listen to it and note the start and end times of the clip you want to make into a ringtone.

  5. Right-click the song and select Song Info.

    Song Info in iTunes for macOS
  6. Select the Options tab. Enter the start and stop times you noted in the available fields. Select OK.

    Options tab in Song Info window for iTunes
  7. In the iTunes menu, select File > Convert > Create AAC version. This will create a new file with only the clip between the start and stop times you set.

    Create AAC Version menu item in File > Convert in iTunes
  8. Find the newly created music clip file in iTunes (it'll have the same name as the original song but with a short time length). Right-click on the new file and select Show in Finder.

  9. In the Finder window, right-click the new file and select Rename. Change the extension from m4a to m4r (m4r is the file extension for ringtones) and press Enter.

  10. You have now created a new ringtone!

You won't need the clip in your iTunes library, so you can remove it. In iTunes, right-click the new file name and select Delete from Library. When asked if you want to delete this song from your iTunes library, select Delete Song. When asked if you want to move the song to the Trash, click Keep File.

Reset Start and Stop Times and Restore Changes

When you're finished creating your ringtone, go back and remove the start and stop times on the original song and restore the initial import settings.

  1. In your iTunes library, select the original song file. Right-click the song and select Song Info.

  2. Click the Options tab and uncheck the boxes next to start and stop.

  3. Click OK.

  4. Next, restore the changes on your import settings. Select iTunes (on a Mac) or Edit (on a Windows PC) > Preferences > General.

  5. Select Import Settings.

  6. Select the Setting dropdown and choose your original setting.

Add the Ringtone to Your iPhone

Now that you've created your ringtone file, add it to your iPhone.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer. (Unlock your iPhone if prompted.) At the top of the iTunes window, select your iPhone.

  2. In the left sidebar, under On My Device, select Tones.

    If the left sidebar is not visible in iTunes, select View > Show Sidebar.

    Tones tab in iTunes
  3. From the Finder window, drag the new m4r ringtone file to iTunes and drop it in the Tones folder.

  4. At the bottom of the iTunes window, select Sync. When syncing is finished, your new ringtone will be alongside all the other ringtones on your iPhone.

Websites That Offer Free and Legal Ringtones

If you want to venture beyond iTunes, there are websites that offer ringtones for free. The problem, however, is making sure your source is truly both free and legal (not restricted for use by copyright).

Here are a few websites that offer legitimately free ringtones. These sites also offer other content, such as videos, games, apps, and wallpapers.

Zedge

The Zedge website offers a wide range of ringtones, including songs, tones, and other random sounds and effects. (Wallpapers are mixed in with the offerings.)

There is a Zedge app for Android users on the Google Play Store, which offers ringtones and wallpapers. Zedge's iPhone app, however, offers only wallpapers.

Zedge free ringtone download screen

Tones7

Tones7 has a nice range of ringtone types and a sizable list of categories to make browsing for that perfect ringtone easier. Still, these are not going to be top Billboard hits.

Tones7 ringtones website

Notification Sounds

Notification Sounds provides ringtones created on synthesizers. If you're looking for bleeps, twoops, and Martian ray guns, this is the place for you.

Notification Sounds ringtone website

When downloading files from any website, keep legal considerations in mind. The content itself usually provides clues. For example, if a site hosts free ringtones from the latest chart-topping songs, then it's probably best to stay away.

Have Fun With Your Ringtones

Ringtones allow you to express yourself beyond the normal chirps, chimes, and radar sounds everyone else is using. With a little effort, songs you love will customize your iPhone experience.