All I wanted to do was use one of my mp3s* as a ringtone.
I could do that on any of my old phones (that were capable of playing mp3s, if not I just converted it to an older audio spec).Â But then ringtones became BIG BU$INE$$.Â Now, if I want to use a clip from one of my songs as a ringtone on my iPhone, in Apple’s own words:
Buy a song for 99Â¢, then turn it into a custom ringtone you can buy for 99Â¢.
Oh lucky me!Â A song I already own, I can buy from you again, then buy the RINGTONE version from you!
Silliness.Â And easily ignored.
But for some strange reason, the internet was funny today: every page I clicked on didn’t immediately offer complete, accurate, and up-to-date information on a minor techincal solution.Â Weird.
Me – I summon Google!Â How do I change an mp3 into an iPhone/iTunes ringtone?
Google – Easy, just change the file extension to .m4r.
Me – Didn’t work.Â iTunes ignoring me.
Google – Well, first you convert the mp3 to an AAC file (extension .m4a), then change the extension to .m4r.
Me – Right-clicked on the file in iTunes, only option was to convert to mp3 (which it already was).
Google – You’re an idiot**.Â Preferences –> Import Settings –> AAC Encoder, then right-click on the file, convert to AAC, change extension to .m4r.
Me – Jeez, you don’t have to be mean about it (who the heck knowingly leaves the default import to AAC anyway?).Â OK, I have the mp3, I have the AAC, I changed the extension of the AAC file to .m4a.Â Hooray!Â I has a ringtone!Â Syncy-syncy.Â Umm… why no syncy?Â Ringtone not copying over to iPhone why??
Google – Exactly how long do you expect people to wait for you to pick up the dang phone?!Â Â 40-second max for ringtones.
Me – You couldn’t have just said all that at the beginning?
Google – But then all those other pages wouldn’t have gotten any hits!Â Share the love.Â Now quit your whining and go back to looking for the answers to those xkcd puzzles (yeah, good luck with those).
So, to recap (Windows Vista [please don't make fun of me], iTunes 188.8.131.52, iPhone 2.2.1):
- Right-click –> Get Info on the track containing the sound bite with which you would like to annoy people in elevators.Â Options tab, choose the Start and End times of your clip (keep it around 30 second or less to be safe).Â OK.
- Right-click –> Create AAC Version.Â If you see “MP3 Version” instead, change your Import Settings to AAC Encoder.
- Right-click on the new AAC track –> Show in Windows Explorer.
- Right-click file in Explorer –> Rename, change extension from .m4a to .m4r.Â Double-click the file to import it into iTunes.
- Sync iPhone (make sure you have checked the option to Sync Ringtones).Â Smugly smile, raise middle finger to the nearest representative of The Man.
*For the record, my ringtone is now the opening Prelude from Final Fantasy III.
**I always hear this phrase in House‘s voice now.