How To Create Custom iPhone Ringtones Using iTunes on a Windows PC

How To Create Custom iPhone Ringtones Using iTunes on a Windows PC

Quick Links: Video Guide Step-by-Step Guide  Downloads

Anyone who has owned an iPhone for any period of time knows that most, if not all things have to be done a very specific way – “the Apple way”; ringtones are no exception.

Creating custom ringtones and placing them on an iPhone is not quite as simple as it is for Android, but we’re sure going to do our best to simplify the process as much as possible with this guide.

Before you begin, you will need to following:

  • Lightning to USB cable
  • A computer with iTunes installed

Video Guide

Step-by-Step Guide


  • Locate audio clip
  • Copy clip to iTunes
  • Adjust start/stop times
  • Convert clip to AAC
  • Change AAC file extension to .m4r
  • Copy ringtone to iPhone
  • Set Ringtone

Step 1 – Locate Audio Clip

The first step is to locate the media you would like to use for your ringtone. For this example, the audio clip is located on the Windows desktop.

Step 2 – Open iTunes

Next, open iTunes. If it is not already downloaded and installed, you can get it here: iTunes Download

Once iTunes is open, Select Songs on the left hand pane under Library.

Step 3 – Copy Audio Clip to iTunes

Drag the audio clip over into iTunes.

Step 4 – Change the Start & Stop Times on the Audio Clip

Right-click the newly placed audio clip in iTunes to bring up a context menu. Select Song Info.

Next, click Options.

Here is where we need to select the part of the clip that will be used for the ringtone. Remember, the default ring time on iPhone is 20 seconds.

I am going to start the clip at 0:07 seconds and end it at 0:27. Also, don’t forget to tick the start and stop boxes. Once done, click OK.

Step 5 – Convert the Clip to AAC

With the clip selected in iTunes, click File -> Convert -> Create AAC Version.

Step 6 – Locate the AAC Version of the Clip and Rename the Extention to .m4r

Once the AAC conversion is done, we need to find the file in Windows File Explorer. The default music location for iTunes is This PC -> Music -> iTunes -> iTunes Media -> Music. From here you will need to find the correct folder based on the artist/album.

In this example, the AAC file is in Various Artists -> The Best Retro Video Game Music of All Time.

The file extension is currently .m4a and needs to be renamed to .m4r. Before this can happen, we need to make sure the file extension is visible. To do this, open up Folder Options.

In Windows 10, click View -> Options -> Change folder and search options.

In Windows 11, click the 3 dots -> Options.

Once Folder Options is open, click View and then untick the box to Hide extensions for known file types and click OK.

The file extention is now unhidden. Right-click the file, click Rename, and change the .m4a to .m4r

Step 7 – Plug in iPhone

Next, grab a Lightning to USB cable and plug the iPhone into the computer. Click Allow on any prompts that pop up. You may also need to input your passcode.

Step 8 – Copy Ringtone to iPhone

Switch back to iTunes on your computer (don’t close the file explorer window) and you should now see your iPhone in the left-hand pane. Click Tones.

Drag the .m4r file into iTunes under Tones.

Step 9 – Set Ringtone

The ringtone has now been successfully added!

The last step is to select it on the iPhone.

On the iPhone, go to Settings -> Sounds & Haptics -> Ringtone. Tap the newly created ringtone and you’re done!


iTunes Download

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