OK I hear what you’re saying! What’s with the guitar Rosco??
Well Apple in their own strange little way give us a cool way to sync iPhone ringtones from iTunes, an easy enough way to import iPhone ringtones into iTunes but no way to create our own iPhone ringtones from our music collection in iTunes or even an easy way to buy ringtones through the iTunes store!
So why the guitar? Well, shipped with every Mac on the planet comes a really cool suite of applications called iLife and one of those applications is called GarageBand.
Now before I discovered this little tip I never once opened GarageBand (except for maybe the first day I saw iLife) because I’m not that into recording & editing my own music, which is what I assumed it was all about.
Well luck would have it that Apple have created a mighty fine, easy and free way to create as many iPhone ringtones as you like right on your Mac; using GarageBand!
I’m gonna walk you step by step through the process of creating a simple 30 second ringtone using your Mac, GarageBand, iTunes and one of your MP3’s.
I’m going to use Coldplay – Lost! for my ringtone which you can also download at the end of this page if you like.
For this I’m using Mac OS X 10.6.4, GarageBand ’09 (Version 5.1) and iTunes 9.2 but it should also work with many other versions of all of the above. If you’re having any trouble, leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
- Open GarageBand by click Applications > GarageBand
- When the Welcome dialog appears double click New Project in the top left corner
- The New Project dialog will appear. Enter a name to save your project as. This will be then name of the ringtone as displayed on your iPhone so choose carefully! Click Create.
- Now on my new project, GarageBand automatically adds a Grand Piano as the default track. This may or may not happen you. If it does, simply highlight the track and click the Track Menu > Delete Track
- Now open your iTunes and locate the song you want to use to create the iPhone ringtone from.
- Drag the song from iTunes and drop it into the tracks area of your GarageBand project.
- OK now you need to adjust the length. GarageBand won’t let you export the ringtone to iTunes if it’s longer than 40 seconds. Click the cycle button at the bottom of the GarageBand window.
- Now a new bar has appeared at the top of the window that looks a bit like a ruler (it’s actually called the cycle region). Now change the units displayed in the cycle region to time so that you can easily adjust the length to within your allotted 40 seconds. To change the units click the little picture down beside the cycle button and select Time. I’ve circled it in the screenshot below.
- Now is your time to play with the track. In the cycle region at the top of GarageBand drag the yellow bar across or widen/shorten it to your desired point in the song.
- Press the play button at the bottom of the screen to preview your ringtone. You’ll have to continue to play with this yellow bar by moving it, lengthening it and shortening it until you feel your tone sounds just right in terms of length and the way it sounds when it loops.
- When you’ve got it right, click the Share menu > Send to iTunes
- Now your new ringtone will gracefully be imported into iTunes, be filed under Ringtones and is ready to be synched with your iPhone.
- When you do sync with your iPhone you’ll find it in your Ringtones under Custom!
- Download the sample ringtone Coldplay – Lost! here