Customize FaceTime's ringtone

3 February 2013, 01:00

Here’s how to replace the default ringtone for FaceTime on your Mac. The steps below are quick and easy, and don’t involve hacking any system files.

However, for this to work you’ll need a ringtone file in .aiff format, which is the native file format for system sounds on OS X. MP3 and .wav files won’t work. You might be able to grab an .aiff file from one of the many sound effects sites out there, or you can search Google for a guide explaining how to convert any audio file into .aiff format (for what it’s worth, Tip 277 in my new book Mac Kung Fu 2nd Edition explains how to do just that!).

Don’t forget to store the sound file somewhere permanent so that FaceTime can always find it.

Here are the steps required:

1. Close FaceTime if it’s open, then open a Terminal window. It’s in the Utilities folder within the Applications list of Finder.

2. Type the following in the Terminal window but don’t hit Return just yet:

defaults write CustomRingtone -string 

3. Find the .aiff file using Finder, then drag and drop it onto the Terminal window. For example, on my system I ended-up with something like this:

defaults write CustomRingtone -string /Users/keir/Documents/oldbellphone.aiff

4. Hit Return to enter the line.

Start FaceTime, have somebody ring you, and you’ll hear your ringtone!

To return to the default ringtone, repeat Step 1 above to quit FaceTime and open Terminal, then type the following:

defaults delete CustomRingtone

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