How to create iOS ringtones

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At one time, commercial ringtones were a thriving business. For a couple of bucks you could have Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Britney Spears, or Eminem blast from your phone whenever it received a call. That is until people figured out that, with the right software, they could create ringtones of their own.

How? Funny that you should ask. With a copy of GarageBand on your iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 7, I sketch it all out in this week’s video.


As you’re likely aware, you can configure your iOS device to play a variety of alerts and ringtones. In today’s video I’m going to show you how to use the latest iOS version of GarageBand to create ringtones of your own.

I’m doing this on an iPad but you can use GarageBand with an iPod touch or an iPhone just as easily.

First, be sure that the song you’re going to base your ringtone on is on your iOS device. I’m going to use this Sci-Fi Theme track I created for the Incomparable podcast.

Next, launch GarageBand and, on the Songs screen, tap the Plus button to create a new GarageBand project. Tap any instrument you like—you’re not going to use it but you need to create an instrument track so that you can get to the arrangements view.

Tap the Arrangement button. Tap the Plus button that appears in the top-right of the GarageBand window, tap Section A, and enable the Automatic option. This ensures that when you add a track, the entire thing will appear.

Then tap the Loops button and then Music. I’ll search for my track and here it is. I then drag it into the GarageBand window. I can then tap Play to hear it. To edit the track down to just what I want to hear I’ll tap on it and then drag the edges.

I’m happy with my work so I’ll tap on My Songs to return to that screen. Now I tap and hold on that song and tap the Share button. Ringtone is one of my options and I’ll tap that. I can then rename the track and then tap Export.

I then see an option to use sound in a variety of ways. I tap that and I can choose the kind of sound I want it to be. I’ll choose to use it as a Standard Ringtone.

Let’s now go to Settings > Sounds and then Ringtone and see if it’s there. Indeed it is and it’s selected as my device’s ringtone.

And it’s just that easy—creating ringtones on your iOS device without paying a nickel extra.

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