Quickly Locate iPhone Ringtones & Text Tones Stored Locally

Dec 21, 2012 - 1 Comment

iPhone ringtone folder

iPhone ringtones and text tones – both of which are .m4r files – are stored in the same location in the file system, whether they were made with iTunes, bought from the iTunes Store, converted from another format with QuickTime, or whether you downloaded them from elsewhere.

The ringtone storage folder in OS X is:

~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Tones/

In Windows, they will be stored in the \My Music\iTunes Media\Tones\, though the precise location will vary slightly depending on which version of Windows you’re using.

There are two ways to quickly get there on the Mac (the iTunes method works in Windows as well, however):

  • Finder: the infinitely useful Go To Folder function works by hitting Command+Shift+G and entering “~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Tones/” as the path
  • iTunes: go to the Tones folder, and right-click on any ringtone choosing “Show in Finder”

The iTunes approach may be better for many users because it doesn’t involve the file system as much.

Show the ringtone location quickly with iTunes

Once you’re in that directory, the m4r files can be copied, backed up, edited, shared with friends, or whatever else. From OS X 10.8 onward, you can right-click on any of the m4r files within that directory and use AirDrop or iMessage to immediately send it to someone else, though they will need to download and sync the ringtone manually because sending the file directly to an iPhone doesn’t allow it to be imported.

Keep in mind that ringtones you purchased from iTunes are going to have a different licensing schemes associated with them than ringtones you made yourself out of sound effects and audio clips or dug them out of the gigantic secret collection from GarageBand, it’s your responsibility to know what you can and can’t do with those files, but it’s a safe bet that if you paid for them the licensing agreement is such that it prevents sharing.

Finally, if you don’t see a ringtone in that folder but one is definitely on your iPhone, you’ll need to sync the device with iTunes on that computer to copy it over.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. Rick says:

    The cool thing is that autocomplete works in the Go To Folder the same way as it works in Terminal. Just press “tab” after you start typing to have it fill in the name of the folder automatically.

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