There are many ways to make ringtones for your iPhone from music you already have in iTunes. You really have no excuse… and it’s fun!
So here are some of the ways you can do it:
1) iTunes Store ringtone feature: $0.99 each.
For songs you’ve purchased at the iTunes store, this is the only option, and that’s only if the creator has allowed ringtone creation. The $0.99 cost is in addition to the cost of the song. It’s not that much money compared to other ringtone costs… and it gives you a really easy method of choosing the section you want.
Click here for further instructions.
2) GarageBand 4.12 to iTunes: $79 for iLife’08 if you don’t already have it.
Anything you can make in GarageBand you can turn into a ringtone… including unprotected tracks from iTunes. It’s an official built in feature just like #1, but it’s MUCH more flexible and opens up the rest of your library too (not to mention using your own voice or your own recordings).
Here’s a great tutorial.
Caveat: This is my personal favorite but it hasn’t been working since I got iTunes 8. Hopefully Apple will update GarageBand soon to make this work right.
3) Use iTunes and the Finder: $0.
Somebody came up with this clever workaround technique which doesn’t give you the ease and precision of the selection as the first two options… but it’s easy and works even with iTunes 8.
Check out this tutorial.
4) Use QuickTime Pro: $29 for QuickTime Pro.
This method will give you more precision to choose the section of the song you want, and doesn’t require GarageBand or any third party utilities.
Try this method out here.
5) PocketMac Ringtone Studio: $15.
This nifty little utility might just be the easiest method for converting your non-DRM tracks or anything else… to a ringtone. It has a great and simple interface… and even though I’d like the timeline to be longer for greater precision in selecting the segment, I highly recommend it to anyone with a few bucks to spend on this.
6) Ambrosia’s iToner: $15.
iToner has a similar interface to Ringtone Studio but unlike it’s $15 competitor, it syncs the entire ringtone list for you instead of iTunes… This is great if you aren’t syncing your iPhone with iTunes regularly and just want to update your ringtone list… but it also gets confusing if you do. I love Ambrosia Software for the many great things they do, but this approach isn’t my favorite.
So try one, try all… make a playlist of songs you might want to use and get started! With the exception of iToner, they all can work harmoniously together by adding the ringtones into iTunes’ master list. It’s really fun to do and even more satisfying when that friend calls you and you know who it is before you even look at the phone!
UPDATE: Rogue Amoeba just updated their good audio editing app, Fission, with an automatic export for ringtones to iTunes. For $32 this is a good deal because it does it all.