Turn Any Voice Recording into a Ringtone for iPhone

Mar 4, 2013 - 12 Comments

Ever wished you could turn your kids voice into an adorable ringtone saying “Daddy answer your phone!”? Or maybe a message from your spouse saying “hi honey” when you get a call from their cell phone? Perhaps you want to hear yourself say “act busy!” when your boss calls? Or maybe the sound of your dog barking when you get a call from your dog (ok that one is probably not likely)? You can do any of that by turning a voice recording into a ringtone or text tone, and it’s much easier to do than you might think.

Custom voice ringtones

Try this out if you’re bored of turning sound effects or parts of a song into a ringtone, as it can make receiving phone calls all the more enjoyable, especially if they’re coming from people you want to hear from.

1: Record the Voice Message & Send it to Yourself

Alright, so your heart melts when your four year old says “mommy I miss you” and you want to turn that into the ringtone for when your house calls you.

  • Launch “Voice Memos” on the iPhone and tap the red button to record the desired voice message
  • Next, tap on the recorded voice memo, then tap the blue “Share” button and select “Email” to send it to an email address you can check from your computer

Record the voice memo and send it to yourself

Now jump onto your computer, Mac or Windows PC works fine, though you’ll want file extensions visible so that you can change it at the next point.

2: Turn the Voice Memo into a Ringtone & Import to iTunes

This is the easiest part. Because the Voice Memo recordings are captured and saved as “.m4a” file format, you only need to rename the file extension to a “m4r” to convert it into a ringtone:

  • Change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r
  • Double-click the newly renamed .m4r file to launch it into iTunes, it will be stored under “Tones”
  • Connect the iPhone to the computer (or use wi-fi sync) drag & drop the ringtone from “Tones” to the iPhone”

Rename m4a to m4r to convert it to a ringtone

This is the only time you will need to use the computer, and now you can go back to the iPhone to assign the voice recording as the ringtone or text tone.

3: Assign the Voice Memo as the Ring Tone (or Text Tone)

If you’ve assigned custom contact ringtones or individual text tones before this should be familiar to you, otherwise here’s all you need to do:

  • Open Contacts, locate the contact name, tap “Edit”
  • Select either “ringtone” or “text tone” to change it
  • Look under “Ringtones” for the newly transferred ring tone name (default is “Memo” if you didn’t rename it), select that and tap “Save”

Assign custom voice recording as ringtone on the iPhone

Enjoy your new very custom voice message ringtone or text tone!

You must answer this call

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Megatis says:

    lol this is funny :)

  2. The Dictator says:

    OMG save yourself this trouble and just buy Garageband for iOS! You can do this with just a few taps instead of all of these steps outlined here. Not to mention it’s one of the best apps ever made.

  3. Koolmagicguy says:

    Nice tip!

  4. dana says:

    These directions were clear, easy, and on point. I wasted A LOT of time trying to figure this out. Thanks.

  5. frustrated says:

    Can’t get it to work. Was easily able to make the ringtone but can’t ‘drag and drop’ it to my iPhone. Sync doesn’t put it on my iPhone either.

    • pDH says:

      You need to import the ringtone into iTunes first so that it shows up in the “Ringtones” section, then you can sync it to the iPhone or drag & drop it from iTunes into the iPhone.

  6. Mike says:

    The Diktator. That site isn’t available anymore :( no search results found. But I would have wanted to take that’s route thnx still.

  7. Illeana says:

    Oh thank you so much… It really helps ;* thx ;)

  8. Anatoly says:

    Worked for me very well!
    Thank you.

  9. Me8799 says:

    This s**t makes me feel like an old man. Why the hell can’t you just select it as a f***ing ring tone on your phone. I’ve tried following these steps but it’s not happening. One way or another I run into problems every time.

    Literally do feel like my bloody Grandad at moments like this, so pissing irritating.

    Seriously now, why can’t you just go on your voice memo and select it as a ringtone. I want one of those tw@ts from Apple to answer that question for me because it makes no God damn sense at all.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Gt stuck it didn’t lahnch under iTunes.

  11. Irritated says:

    When I tried to change the extension it still had the m4a at the end. Can’t change it to just m4r.

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