How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with GarageBand (No iTunes Required)

Sep 11, 2020 - 7 Comments

How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband

How’d you like to set a song as the ringtone on iPhone? If you want to use your favorite song as a custom ringtone for incoming phone calls or text messages, you’re certainly not alone. Thanks to Apple’s GarageBand app, you can set literally any song as a ringtone right on your iPhone, and without needing iTunes.

With the old iTunes ringtone creation method, you had to rely on a computer to get the music you want as ringtones. Therefore, GarageBand is a better alternative for people who don’t have access to a computer, or who would rather just do it all on their iPhone. With this app, you can trim your favorite parts of a song and set them as your default ringtones, or contact-specific ringtones, provided they’re under 40 seconds in length. You can even create a ringtone from sound effects in Garageband too, but this article is going to focus on generating a ringtone from a song and setting that as your iPhone ringtone.

Are you keen on making a song into a custom ringtone on iPhone? Then read on as we’ll walk you through the necessary steps for setting any song as a ringtone on your iPhone using GarageBand.

How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with GarageBand

First and foremost, you’ll need to install the GarageBand app from the App Store. Additionally, your iPhone needs to running iOS 11 or later in order to take advantage of this procedure. Now, simply follow the steps below for making a custom ringtone.

  1. Open the “Garageband” app on your iPhone.

    GarageBand Icon
  2. Choose any instrument that’s available. It doesn’t matter which instrument you choose, as the procedure is going to remain the same. In this instance, we’re choosing Keyboard.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  3. Once you’ve opened the instrument, tap on the “project” icon as shown in the screenshot below.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband

  4. Here, tap on the “loop” icon located at the top-right corner in order to open your audio recording.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  5. Now, make sure you’re under the Music section and find the song that you want to use as a custom ringtone.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  6. Long-press on the song that you want to use, in order to open it in the project menu within GarageBand.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  7. Drop the file as the second track, because the first track by default is reserved for the instrument you chose.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  8. Now, tap on this track and drag the ends to trim the audio recording according to your preferences. You can play it back using the “Play” icon located at the top, if necessary. However, you might want to disable the annoying metronome by pressing the icon located to the right of “record” icon.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  9. Once you’re done adjusting your clip, make sure it’s under 40 seconds in length. Now, tap on the “downward arrow” icon at the top-left corner and select “My Songs”.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  10. Your GarageBand project will show up under Recents as “My Song”. Long-press on it to access more options.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  11. Now, tap on “Share” as shown in the screenshot below.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  12. In this step, select “Ringtone” in order to export your project as a ringtone.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  13. Now, you can give the ringtone a name of your choice. Once you’re done, tap “Export” located at the top-right corner of the screen.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  14. Once the export is successful, tap on “Use sound as…” in order to set it as your default ringtone right within GarageBand.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband
  15. Here, you can choose to set it as your default ringtone or a text tone. Additionally, you also have the option to assign the sound to a specific contact. However, if you just want to add it to the list of existing ringtones, tap on “Done” instead.

    How to Set Any Song as Ringtone on iPhone with Garageband

That’s it. Now you know exactly how to set your favorite songs as ringtones on your iPhone with GarageBand.

Although this article focuses primarily on the iPhone, you can also use GarageBand on the iPad to create a custom alert tone for iMessage and FaceTime if you feel like doing so.

It’s worth keeping in mind that ringtones are limited to 40 seconds in length. For alert tones or text tones, this limit is even lower at 30 seconds. If your GarageBand project is between 30 and 40 seconds, it will only be available for use as a ringtone.

Note that protected songs and songs that are not stored locally cannot be imported to GarageBand. These songs will be grayed out when you’re browsing through your music library within the app.

The trickiest part of this method is determining how long your audio file is, since there’s no easy way to check long your project is within the app until you proceed to export it. However, GarageBand will automatically convert your custom ringtone to 40 seconds if it’s too long, by cutting off the audio after the 40-second mark.

With GarageBand, you can assign various songs to specific contacts, so that your close friends or family members have their own unique ringtones and alert tones. This makes it a whole lot easier to identify who’s calling or texting you without having to look at your phone. You can set audio recordings from the Voice Memos app as custom ringtones in a similar way too.

If you find this method to be a little tricky or if you have a computer nearby, you might want to try out the old school way of making custom ringtones with iTunes and copying them to your iPhone manually.

And remember if songs aren’t your thing, or you don’t have any music that you’re interested in turning into a ringtone, you can also make a ringtone yourself with GarageBand from various musical instruments, sound effects, and musical creation tools. That can be a fun customization for the creatives out there.

Did you create a custom ringtone using GarageBand on your iPhone? What do you think about this process? How does this procedure compare to the traditional iTunes method? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section down below.

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

7 Comments

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  1. Wendy Williams says:

    Disappointed, you need IOS13 to be able to download it not

    11 as stated.

    IOS12 which I have on my 6s which is up to date.
    The App doesn’t accept any less.

  2. Andrew K says:

    I agree, Ian.

    The instructions are very clear.

    They just don’t deal with my situation with the track being shortened from 2:19 to about 20 seconds! But I don’t expect a set of instructions on a site like this to deal with every possible problem.

  3. Smokey says:

    The author presumes readers use Garage Band.

    For those of us who have never used it, you might as well have written the instructions in Swahili.

    See why good tech writers command such high salaries? They don’t presume. That’s a lot harder than it sounds.

    • Ian says:

      I’ve used Garageband about twice in my life for a few seconds to play on the keyboard, and I followed it successfully by reading the instructions. It details step-by-step how to use GarageBand to make a ringtone with Garageband, what is presumptuous about that?

  4. Fethon Naoum says:

    I tried it but as soon as I lift my finger off the song it disappears (step 7). The song is stored locally in my iPhone.

  5. Andrew K says:

    Everything goes according to plan – until I import my track.

    In the Music app on both the Mac and in the iPhone, the track is 2:19.

    When I import it to GarageBand, that same track barely makes it to 20 seconds. And there’s nothing that I can find that allows me to make it any longer, let alone the full length!

    This is before I make it into a Ringtone.

    Why? And how can I fix this, please?

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