Note: This is for personal use or educational purposes only. You cannot use this method to distribute files you do not own the rights to.
If you want to perform tasks outside of the Apple ecosystem, ie, iTunes, Apple Music, GarageBand, etc, it often takes a bit of work. Most tech companies appear to be designing their systems so that you have to use their software and applications in order to get things done. This is understandable from a business perspective.
However, it is pretty inconvenient, I must say. One such example is setting custom ringtones without using GarageBand, iTunes (which is now defunct on newer operating systems), or Apple Music. That said, I did manage to figure out how to set custom ringtones on iPhone without them.
To make a ringtone without GarageBand or iTunes
1) Download and install the iMazing application
2) Connect your iPhone
3) Navigate to “Ringtones”
4) Drag and drop the 30-second audio file into the Library
5) On your iPhone, go to Settings > Sound & Haptics > Ringtone
6) Select your ringtone
With the application iMazing, it really is as simple as that. I’ve tried several different methods to get custom ringtones onto the iOS operating system and iMazing, thus far, has been the easiest and most convenient way of doing so. While iMazing is not a free application, they do have a free trial that allows you to create ringtones. Now that you’ve gotten the long and short of how to use iMazing to create ringtones, I’m going to show you an in-depth tutorial.
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What You Need to Make A Ringtone Without GarageBand
Chances are if you’re at this tutorial, you already own an iPhone, so no worries there. That said, if you don’t have one, I’d recommend getting the newest version with maximum storage space.
As this is always my recommendation. However, I understand that’s a tall order considering they’re expensive. For that same reason, I’m using the 64GB iPhone X which I got off Amazon recently. I used to use the iPhone 7 Plus, but I had to make an upgrade because it was only a 32GB model. Having only 32GB of storage space as a musician is a nightmare.
2) macOS Device
You only need one laptop, of course, and it doesn’t really matter which one you have. Either way, you do need quite a few devices and applications to pull this off correctly. If you’re willing to use GarageBand as I showed you in my ringtones guide, then it’s quite a bit easier, but if not, then you have to do it this way.
3) iMazing for macOS
In simple terms, iMazing is a device manager that acts kind of like the way iTunes used to before Apple got rid of it. However, iMazing allows you to do many of those things and more. One thing you can do is easily import, export, and delete Ringtones. So you can do a lot of the things you use too, without iTunes (my tutorial).
4) MP3 Converter for iOS
MP3 converter, which you can gain access to via their free trial, allows you to quickly convert any video file into an mp3. If you’re wondering why you need a video-to-mp3 converter, the answer is simple.
You screen record wherever your music is playing – including YouTube as I showed here – and save it to your phone’s photos/videos folder. Then you use the MP3 Converter to turn it into an mp3. I’ll show you how to make all this stuff work now.
How to Make A Ringtone Without GarageBand (from Scratch)
1) Screen Record On Your iPhone While Playing The Song
The first thing you want to do is navigate to wherever you’re listening to the song. Then you have to swipe up toward the top-right corner of your phone to bring up the extra tools and utilities on your iPhone, and then you have to hit the Screen Recording button.
It’s important that you enable Screen Recording on your iOS device though, which you can figure out how to do with this article here.
A) Go To Your Music Player
We don’t want to press play on it yet. We just want to get it set up and ready, so we can switch seamlessly between the Screen Recording and the song. Moreover, you should probably take this time to get the song exactly to the point where you want to record it for your ringtone.
B) Scroll Up To The Top Right to Open the Tools & Utilities > Then Press Record
Holding your iPhone vertically as you normally would, scroll up to the top-right corner of your device to bring up the Screen Recording button and other tools and utilities. Press the Screen Recording button that’s shown in the image above and then you have 3 seconds to get back to your song and press Play.
C) Click on the Red Clock to Stop the Screen Recording Once You’re Done
When you’re screen recording on your iOS device, the phone will let you know by making the clock on the top-left corner bright red. Once you’ve recorded enough, you just have to click on the clock to stop it like what the image down below shows.
D) Press “Stop” To Finish the Screen Recording
This is self-explanatory. Just press “Stop” when the prompt appears.
E) Click on the “Screen Recording” To Navigate To Your Completed Video
It’ll take a second to finish rendering and exporting the file to your Photo Library. Click on the red Screen Recording symbol to immediately navigate to where your new video is sitting.
2) Convert the Video File To An MP3 With MP3 Converter
At this stage, we’ve got the file, but we need to turn the video file into an MP3, that way we can actually turn it into a ringtone once we’ve AirDropped it to our desktop. For this, you have to download the MP3 Converter which I told you about at the start of the article (and in my article on how to make ringtones from Spotify).
You get a 3-day free trial once you’ve signed up, so use that time wisely. That said, if you really wanted to use the app all of the time, it only costs approximately $6-$8 per year (depending on where you live), so it’s not like it’s going to cost you a lot of money.
A) Open MP3 Converter On Your Phone
B) Press the “+” Symbol
C) Select “Import From Camera Roll”
D) Choose Your Video File and Select “Add”
E) Crop the Video File And Select “Convert”
Once you’ve imported the video successfully into the App, you can go ahead and crop at what point exactly you’d like to make your ringtone. As a general rule, you want to make it 30 seconds or less, otherwise, I believe Apple will just cut the remaining seconds off anyway. By the way, you can do a similar thing with GarageBand as an editor too.
3) Hit “Export” And Select Your MacBook Pro for AirDrop
At this stage, you’ve created your ringtone and now it’s sitting on your desktop. The next thing you want to do is open up iMazing and then this is the final stage for getting your ringtone up on your iPhone.
iMazing is the software that converts it into a ringtone for you, among many other super useful features. As I said earlier, I like this application quite a bit and I foresee myself using it. But I digress. Download iMazing and open it up so we can get your ringtone on your device.
4) Open iMazing and Connect Your iPhone
This part is self-explanatory. Just connect your iPhone to your computer with the standard iPhone cable. These days, it’s a Thunderbolt cable.
5) Navigate to Ringtones
Go to the Ringtones section of iMazing which is clearly highlighted in the image above. This is where you can import, export, and delete any ringtones.
6) Drag and Drop the Ringtone Into the Ringtones Library
You don’t have to convert the ringtone to anything. Just drag and drop the MP3 file right into iMazing and it’ll automatically turn it into the .m4r file that Apple needs. Earlier, I tried changing the extension of the file types just by renaming the file, but this doesn’t work.
It’ll just turn the mp3 into a file that the computer can’t understand. Simply put, it’s better to just use iMazing instead because it’ll make the conversion for you super simple.
7) Navigate to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtones
i) Open Your iPhone and Click Settings
ii) Go to Sounds & Haptics
iii) Go to Ringtone
iv) Select the Ringtone You Imported Into iMazing
What’s interesting about iMazing is that it works very quickly. The moment you import the file into the Ringtones interface, it’ll automatically become available on iPhone.
How to Use iRingg To Make Ringtones Without GarageBand
Another application that makes ringtones without GarageBand for iOS devices is iRingg, which you can get from here on their website. iRingg works really well for creating ringtones too, however, you can only use it one time as a free application.
The moment you create one ringtone, you have to pay for the application (although it doesn’t cost much). Here’s how to use iRingg.
1) Download and Install the iRingg Application Using Your Email
2) Use A URL to Find Your Ringtone or Browse Your Files
A) You Can Also Drag and Drop the File Into iRingg
3) Trim the Fragment
4) Hit “Trim” After You’ve Finished Cropping
5) Send It To Downloads
6) Share It To Your iOS Device with AirDrop
7) Then Navigate To Ringtones In the iPhone Menu and Set Your New Ringtone
Follow the same process as I laid out in the section above. iRingg is a really cool tool if you like to make ringtones. It makes the process of creating them super simple and fast. For me, I prefer to use iMazing instead because I need a File Manager for iOS anyway.
I like the comprehensiveness of the tool and how much easier they make it to navigate the confusing iOS system. If you just want a super cool and easy way to make ringtones, iRingg is where it’s at and it goes for a surprisingly reasonable price. But if you want a file manager that does a lot of other stuff, iMazing is what you should get instead.
Important Things to Note About Making Your Own Ringtones
1) Make Sure You Use Only The Music and Files You Own the Copyright To
For this tutorial, I used my own music. If you don’t want to get yourself into trouble regarding others’ copyright, it would be wise to only use your own music.