Shorten tunes for ringtones

14 February 2013, 01:00

Making your own cellphone ringtones from your tunes collection is fun, and theoretically simple. But there’s an issue: ready-made ringtones you can buy cleverly use only the best bits — the chorus, or that funky middle-eight. If you use a complete iTunes track as a ringtone, your caller will likely have hung up by the time the best bit kicks-in!

Creating good ringtones is simple, and iTunes has all the tools you need.

1. Start by listening to the track in iTunes and making a note of when the bit starts that you wish to use for the ringtone. It might be 1:04 into the song, for example (that is, one minute four seconds).

2. Select the tune, then hit Command+I to open its info dialog box. Select the Options tab.

3. Put a check in the Start Time and Stop Time boxes, then type the time you noted earlier in the Start Time field (i.e. 1:04). Add 45 seconds and type that time in the Stop Time box. A rather cool feature here is that you can simply add the seconds together and enter something like 0:88. iTunes will convert this to 1:28 when you click OK.

4. Close the Info dialog box, then hit Command+, (comma) to open iTunes’ Preferences dialog box.

5. Ensure the General tab is selected, then click the Import Settings button alongside the When You Insert a CD heading. Look under the Import Using heading and ensure AAC Encoder is visible, if you intend to make a ringtone for your iPhone, or MP3 Encoder is visible if you’re making a ringtone for any other phone.

6. Close the dialog box, then right-click the track you modified earlier and select either Create AAC Version or Create MP3 Version, depending on which option is visible.

7. You should find a new track is created within seconds, of the length you entered earlier. For use within a non-iPhone phone you can simply copy it over to your phone, and select it as a ringtone. You can delete the new short track you created in iTunes. Don’t forget to revert the encoding settings back to AAC, as described in Step 5.

For iPhone users only

8. If you’ve an iPhone, copy the file to the desktop or a Finder window by dragging it there. Then give it a .m4r extension. For example, if the file was called Really Cool Song — Justin Bieber.m4a then you should rename it to Really Cool Song — Justin Bieber.m4r. In the iTunes song listing, delete the new short track you created earlier.

9. Double-click the ringtone file and it will be imported into iTunes Tones section. Sync your iPhone and it should be available as a ringtone choice within the Sounds section of the Settings app. If it’s not, check that you’ve set iTunes to sync ringtones as well as music.

Know better?