Convert Any Audio or Video File to an iPhone Ringtone Easily with QuickTime

Aug 18, 2012 - 6 Comments

Convert just about any Video or Audio to an iPhone Ringtone

Most people use QuickTime Player as a way to watch movies, but using it’s Export function you can also turn any audio or video file into an iPhone ringtone very quickly. Here is how to convert just about anything into an m4r ringtone:

  • Launch QuickTime Player and use it to open the desired audio or video file that you want to turn into a ringtone
  • With the audio or movie file is in QuickTime, hit Command+T or pull down the “Edit” menu to activate the Trim function and trim the clip to 30 seconds or less, use the sliders to select the portion of audio to use as the ringtone, then hit the yellow “Trim” button when done
  • Trim the clip to a ringtone size portion in QuickTime

  • Now pull down the “File” menu and choose “Export”, selecting “Audio Only” as the Format type, and set the Desktop as the save location, then click “Export”
  • Export the Audio Track as M4A to convert it to a ringtone

  • Next, go to the desktop to find your ringtone, and rename the .m4a file extension to .m4r, confirm the change
  • Change file name type to m4r from m4a to convert to an iPhone ringtone

  • Double-click yourfile.m4r to open it in iTunes, where you’ll find it under the “Library” section within “Tones”
  • Connect the iPhone to the computer via USB and drag & drop the ringtone from the Tones folder to the iPhone
  • Drag & Drop the ringtone file onto the iPhone to copy it over

That’s all there is to it, pretty simple and should take you just a minute or two to complete.

One hiccup I ran into with some audio sources is the audio length metadata remains in exported m4r despite creating a new file. This then causes iTunes to complain the ringtone is too long and can’t be transferred to the iPhone, but it ends up copying over anyway. Just ignore the error if you see it and you should find the ringtone on the iPhone anyway.

Also, if you recorded a video with your iPhone or iPad that you want to use the audio track as a ringtone, you can get a head start by using the same trim function in iOS before sending it to your computer to finish the conversion to a ringtone.

You can also still use iTunes to create free ringtones out of any song in your music library, a method that has been around forever, but the QuickTime approach is often faster and works with a wider variety of file formats, reading and converting both audio and video files to the desired m4a filetype.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, iTunes, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

6 Comments

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  1. Eggwich says:

    Do it even quicker with Lion encoding tools!

    Right-click file -> Encode Selected Audio -> Rename to m4r and import to iTunes

    • Kr00 says:

      It still needs to be trimmed to 30 seconds, so either way you’ll have to go through as many steps to make the ringtone.

  2. @robhorton says:

    Cool, did it in Mountain Lion with a short video clip in like under a minute. Piece of cake thanks for the great tip.

  3. zav says:

    “but using it’s Export function”

    Paul, it’s = it is. You just typed “but using it is Export function”.

  4. Taciturn says:

    This does not work in the latest QuickTime player version 7.7.2. Are there any other options?

  5. Bob H says:

    Doesn’t work in Quicktime ver. 10.1 either. There’s no “trim” button.

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