Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unlimited iPhone Ringtones for free on OSX

This has been covered in pieces elsewhere on the net, but I just got it going myself and figured i'd share.

It always bugged me that iTunes wouldn't let me make ANY song a ringtone and they wanted to charge me extra for the few ones that I could. Turns out there's a way to make any MP3 (and perhaps other formats, but all my music is MP3) file a ringtone. 

Here's the process:

1) Pick a song, make a duplicate of it and give it an easy to recognize name like "a song - for ringtone"
2) Get info on the copy of the song and pick the start/end time on the song in the options tab. Make sure the duration is no more than 40 seconds. Fiddle with that until you're happy. Use iTunes repeat play to help you fiddle
3) Run garageband and open a new project, I chose a voice project (perhaps others would work too)
4) Delete one of the two voices (you get a male and female by default) (delete track or command-delete) (this seems to be optional)
5) Click on the bottom right icon in the garageband window (media). Find your song and drag it to the remaining track (you can adjust length etc again here if you want)
6) From the garageband menu choose share->send ringtone to iTunes
7) Sync your ringtones and assign them to whoever. My wife got "Firecracker" by Josh Turner. She thinks he wrote the song for her. Go figure.

There appear to be other ways of doing this too but no way to natively do it within iTunes. This avoids any command prompt hackery and uses Apple products I already had.

I think Apple is split on this front. I think the Carriers (AT&T) dont want them giving away ringtones, but at the same time they haven't completely blocked it. 

There are better interfaces for doing this (iToner from Ambrosia) but they're not free. The process above isn't hard and its free and legal so why part with the $15?