How to take complete control of iPhone ringtones

Set the soundtrack of your iPhone life

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, ringtone, iTunes, how to

Ding-dong!

Credit: Ayşe Kongur/Flickr

You aren’t confined to Apple’s default ringtones as provided with your iPhone, and here are some of the smart ways you can personalize your own smartphone.

Learn the basics

It’s easy to change ringtones on your iPhone. Open Settings>Sounds and you’ll find a number of different ringtones for different things scheduled in the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section. You can change any of these sounds for the one you like best following these instructions, but for now lets tap Ringtone.

In the next pane you’ll find Apple’s default ringtones. Look down the list and you’ll find a tick beside the one you currently have set for use. Tap through the other ringtones to find one you prefer (iOS will play a preview for you), or at the bottom of the list tap “Classic” to explore Apple’s older ringtones.

Alert tones

Further down the screen you’ll find a selection of Alert tones, these are normally used for alarms and other notifications, but you can also use them as ringtones.

Buy new ringtones

You can easily buy new ringtones. Tap the Store button at the top right corner of Sounds and Vibration Patterns, on the next screen pick Tones and you’ll be taken to the ringtones section of the iTunes Store. You can then choose between hundreds of ringtones, including amusing Siri-related mash-ups like this one or one of the popular Marimba Remix tones, such as the forthcoming Drake One Dance Marimbar mix.

Make your own ringtones in GarageBand

You can also create your own ringtones directly on your iPhone using GarageBand – just open a new project, select your instruments of choice and play around until you put together a 15-20-second sequence you like. When you get this right record it by tapping on the Record button, and then in My Songs view select the jingle you just made and choose the Sharing icon. Now select Ringtone from the sharing options that appear. You’ll be asked to name your tone before tapping the Export button.

The final step will be to choose to export the tone as a Standard Ringtone, Standard Text Tone or to Assign to contact (see below). In each case your tone will be set as default after the process, but you can always change it later on using the instructions above. (You’ll find a more in-depth explanation of the ringtone creation process here).

Make your own ringtones in iOS apps

You can also create ringtones from music that you own using third-party iOS apps. There are numerous apps but I’m unable to offer a definitive opinion about which ones work best, though Ringtone Designer from Blackout Labs seems promising. You can explore a useful list of ringtone creation apps here.

Make Siri-style ringtones

You can also make Siri-style ringtones on a Mac. Just type what you want Siri to say in TextEdit on your Mac, then in the TextEdit>Services menu choose Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track. You’ll need to name your track and choose a system voice (Samantha on OS X is a little like Siri on iOS).

An audio file will be created in iTunes. Find it in iTunes, drag it to your Desktop and rename the file extension to m4r (so, Yournewfile.m4r). Delete the original audio in iTunes and drag the renamed file with its new audio extension back into iTunes where it should appear in your Tones library. You’ll need to Sync your iPhone and your new Siri-style audio file should be available for use as a Ring- or notification tone.

Assign to contact

You can assign unique ringtones to specific contacts: that way you will always know it is them calling when the ringer chimes. The contact must have an entry in your Contacts book to achieve this. If they do just follow these quick steps:

Open Contacts menu and find the person whose ringtone you want to personalize

Open their contact card and tap Edit, then swipe down the now editable card to seek out the Ringtone option. Tap this.

You can now assign a tone from any ringtone you have available on your iPhone, including any ringtones you may have created or purchased. Tap Done and in future whenever that person calls you the custom ringtone will sound to let you know who is calling.

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