How to make custom ringtones for your iPhone, Android, or Windows phone

Whether you're on a Mac or PC, this guide will show you how to create and set custom ringtones for Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone.

Josh Long/CBS Interactive

Long ago, the only way to get custom ringtones on your phone was by purchasing them from your service provider. At about $1-2, this method is still an option today, but luckily, you can now create your own ringtones for free and load them onto your device.

With this do-it-yourself method, you'll be able to turn any piece of audio into a ringtone--any part of your favorite song (not just the chorus), or even audio from a YouTube video. If you'd like to do the latter, you can extract audio from any YouTube video using this tutorial.

In any case, make sure you have the audio files for the music you want to turn into ringtones. When you do, follow the instructions for the appropriate phone and desktop operating system.

iPhone

Mac
Mac users can easily create ringtones for their iPhone using GarageBand. The process is straightforward and results in sending your ringtone directly to iTunes. Once your ringtone is in iTunes, simply sync your iPhone, then go to Settings > Sounds on your device to set your new tone.

Windows
Windows users should use Fried Cookie's Ringtone Maker, as it allows you to turn full-length song into a 30-second M4A file, which is Apple's proprietary file extension for iPhone ringtones.

Once you've created a ringtone, simply drag and drop it into your iTunes music library. iTunes will automatically add it to the Tones section, which you can find in the left sidebar.

Finally, sync your iPhone. Then, on your iPhone, go to Settings > Sounds to set your new ringtone.

Alternatively, you can use the method shown in the video below to create ringtones directly from iTunes.

Android

Mac
To create an Android ringtone on your Mac, you'll use an MP3 you already own and cut it to a 30-second clip of your choice. Follow these instructions, but when you're ready to export the song, do not send it to iTunes. Instead, select Share > Export song to disk, and choose the MP3 format.

Then, plug in your Android phone and mount it. Explore the drive and, if you don't have one already, create a folder and name it Ringtones. Finally, drag and drop your custom MP3 in to the new folder. Eject your Android phone and unplug it.

To set your new ringtone, head to Settings > Sound and select it from the list.

Windows
To create your ringtone in Windows, use Fried Cookie's Ringtone Maker. When you've created and saved your custom ringtone, connect your Android phone to your computer and mount it. Drag and drop your custom MP3 in to the new folder. Finally, eject your Android phone and unplug it.

To set your new ringtone, head to Settings > Sound and select it from the list.

Alternatively, you can create ringtones directly from your Android phone using an app like RingDroid.

Windows Phone

Mac
Naturally, the process will be a little complicated since Windows inherently doesn't play nicely with Mac. So, be a little patient with this one.

To make your ringtone, you'll use an MP3 you already own and cut it to a 30-second clip of your choice. Follow these instructions, but when you're ready to export the song, do not send it to iTunes. Instead, select Share > Send song to iTunes.

Open iTunes. Find the ringtone you created, right-click it, and select "Get info." Then, in the Info tab, under Genre, type ringtone. Click OK.

If you don't have it already, install Windows Phone Connector for Mac. Launch it, then connect your phone to your Mac. Sync your phone (or just the song) and unplug it.

On your phone, go to Settings > Ringtones + sounds. Tap the ringtone list, and you'll see your new ringtone among the others.

Windows
To create your 30-second ringtone, use Fried Cookie's Ringtone Maker. Then, drag and drop the file in to the Zune software. In the Genre list, make sure ringtone is selected. If it doesn't appear, type it. Click OK.

Connect your Windows Phone to your computer and sync it. Unplug it, and (on your phone) go to Settings > Ringtones + sounds and select your new ringtone.

About the author

Sharon Profis is a CNET How To expert who cooks up DIY projects, in-depth guides, and little-known tricks that help you get the most out of your tech. During her four years at CNET, she's covered social media, funky gadgets, and has shared her tech knowledge on CBS and other news outlets.

 

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