Custom Ringtones with iPhone Firmware Version 1.1.1 (update)

Even newer version of these instructions available here.

Update – Steps for Ringtones with iPhone Firmware 1.1.2
First off you need iTunes 7.5 and iPhone Firmware 1.1.2

1. Encode your 40 seconds or less ringtone in AAC format.
2. Change the extension of the AAC file from .m4a to .m4r
3. Double click the .m4r file to add it to iTunes as a ringtone
4. Sync
5. Enjoy your custom ringtone

Steps for Ringtones with iPhone Firmware 1.1.1
Yea, that’s right, you can get custom ringtones with iPhone firmware version 1.1.1. This was the only thing that I didn’t like about firmware 1.1.1, I couldn’t have custom ringtones but a workaround has been found.

First off you need to be using a Mac, I’m sure there is a way to do the same thing on a PC but I’m not sure how to do it. Secondly you need to be using iTunes version 7.4.0, if you are using 7.4.2 don’t worry because you can downgrade. To downgrade drag the itunes app to your trash and install 7.4.0 using the installer found here. The third thing you will need is Rogue Amoeba’s MakeiPhoneRingtone application. The fourth and final thing you will need is, of course, your ringtone, but it needs to be encoded in AAC.

So let’s just jump right into the steps.

  1. Put the ringtone file on the desktop so that you know where it is.
  2. Right click on the ringtone and choose “Get Info,” underneath “Name & Extension” change the extension of the file to .m4r. Then double click the ringtone to have it open up in iTunes and automatically get added to the ringtone section.
  3. Sync your iPhone. You will now see that the ringtone is listed and can be chosen but does not play back, we will fix that in a second.
  4. The next step caused a lot of people to get confused so I’ll try to keep it clear, go back to the original ringtone, not the one in your iTunes library but the one on your desktop. Right click on it and choose “Get Info,” underneath “Name & Extension” change the extension back to .m4a. After the extension has been changed drag the ringtone into MakeiPhoneRingtone and it will be added into the ringtone section.
  5. Sync your iPhone and the ringtone should play.

The only problem with this hack is that the ringtones are a bit finicky (and it lists the ringtone twice in the ringtone section in iTunes) many people report this workaround as something that doesn’t work but it really does. The only way I could get it to work is to do the exact steps mentioned above.

Strangely enough when I tried to do this with a bunch (14) of ringtones at once a few of them didn’t work, and I’m not sure why. But, try it out with a few different ringtones and it is sure to work (it took me a few hours before I could get it to work but it was worth it when someone called me and I hear the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song).

Note: I’m sure this workaround will work for quite sometime but Ambrosia software (the makers of iToner) are committed to making iToner work with firmware 1.1.1. They made a statement recently saying:

“Apple has recently released iPhone 1.1.1 OS update for the iPhone. Unfortunately this OS update breaks our custom ringtone product iToner.

We’re distressed about this turn of events, because we have labored long and hard to make iToner not just a great product, but also as compatible as possible.

I’d like to take a moment to explain the situation as we understand it currently.

This iPhone 1.1.1 OS update breaks not only iToner, but also every other piece of third party software for the iPhone. It appears that Apple has taken the route of encrypting and signing the contents of your iPhone in such a way that things like third party applications and ringtones are rejected outright.

We have not given up, however. No promises at this point, but we are working hard at solving this issue for our users. Thank you for your continued support & patience.” -Andrew Welch, el Presidente Ambrosia Software, Inc.

Here is a cleaner list of steps then the descriptive one above (I add this mostly because I wanted a simple list to glance at to make sure I was doing everything in order).

  1. Change the AAC encoded ringtone’s extension to .m4r
  2. Double click it to add it to iTunes
  3. Sync your iPhone
  4. Change the original ringtone’s extension back to .m4a
  5. Drag it into MakeiPhoneRingtone to add it to iTunes a second time
  6. Sync your iPhone again


  1. So it actually works. I tried it just now and several of my rintones made it to my iPhone and actually play. Several of them are listed and don’t play, but the few that do will keep me happy until there is a better workaround. I have been trying to piece together why particular ringtones work with this solution and certain ones fail, but I haven’t found the answer yet. As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with size, name, or quality of the file. I don’t get it . . .

  2. Got it working with OSX for one phone, but cannot get it to work with Windows for another phone. Anyone got it working with Windows?

  3. @rh don’t forget that you have to be running iTunes 7.4.0 I’m not sure where you can download this but I’m sure it is floating around somewhere.

  4. I did use iTunes 7.4, there are a few sites that you can still download the old version (filehippo is one). Though makeiphoneringtone only runs on OSX, I think it basically just changes the stik value to 14 and move it into the ringtone folder. I had manually done the same thing for Windows but with no success. I do see the ringtone being sent to the iphone and it shows up in the iphone but just make no sound.

  5. Ringtones listed twice in iTunes, but fine on the iPhone. Finally a procedure to get away from those boring Apple ringtones.

  6. where in itunes is “makeiphoneringtone” to drop the .m4a file??? I dont see it??? please explain in detail.

  7. I have windows…I cant find the windows download app makeiphoneringtone…do they have it?

  8. I have windows can I install this on windows??? do you know where that download links is?

  9. @trizzle there is not a version of MakeiPhoneRingtone for Windows, I believe you can find iTunes 7.4 on file hippo if you need it. I don’t know of any way to do it in Windows but if you know someone with a Mac you might be able to use MakeiPhoneRingtone on the files and then bring them on to your Windows machine with a thumb drive or something like that.

  10. I’ve noticed it does seem to be size related. Not 100% sure, but it seems if you keep it between 500K and 1MB it works. As for doing multiples, you need to “start over” anytime you want to add a new one. Do all the *.m4r files at once, sync. Then do all the *.m4a files and sync again. If you still get one that doesn’t want to work, try changing the bit rate (128Kbps/192Kbps/256Kbps). I was able to get all of mine working with these tricks. Took a bit of fiddling though.

  11. yeah, I dont have easy access to mac…so window users are SoL rite now?? Can you add the .m4a file to itunes without makeiphoneringtone? using 7.4.0? or do you need that extra program?

  12. i managed to do e/t and it worked on one of the ring tones, but i forgot how to make it that its not a ‘protected aac audio file’, so its not working, anyone know (using a mac)?

  13. Isn’t this grounds for a law suite for monopolizing ringtones? Isn’t Apple liable for those software vendors selling a product, and now only Apple is able to sell the ringtones?

  14. @jaspo no it isn’t quite a monopoly. Apple is acting very monopolistic in this case (and many others) but to be a monopoly you have to have at least 90% of the market, right now Apple is not even close to that amount in the Cell Phone industry therefore it isn’t a monopoly.

    Apple also isn’t liable for software vendors selling a product, they never are, Apple never said that anyone would be able to create 3rd party apps for the iPhone, many did and now they have apps that don’t work any more. If Apple never gave developers the go ahead, then why did the developers think that it was OK?

  15. they state their platform is considered private, but someone will get this all squared away…either that will happen, or someone else will come out with something similar, and people will go away from apples dictatorship!!!!!

  16. When syncing both times, are you checking “All ringtones” or just “Selected ringtones” and only selecting the 2nd version? Thanks!

  17. @Alan I have “all ringtones” checked when I do it, but I would assume that as long as both versions of the ringtone are being synced with the iPhone it will work. But, you do need to have both versions of the ringtone on the iPhone or it won’t work.

  18. Here is how I got it to work right with little fuss.
    1. Find your mp3 and open it in Audacity and edit it
    2. Export it as a .wav file
    3. Bring it into iTunes and convert it to apple lossless
    4. Change your settings to convert files in preferences to AAC Encoder (highest settings)
    5. Drag that new file onto your desktop
    6. Delete the two converted files in iTunes (wav and lossless)
    7. Follow the steps above.

    I tried this on a file that wouldn’t work at all (several times) and it magically worked after these steps. I have no idea why?!?

  19. i have tried many things- finally i have converted the songs i want to AAC. i then drag them (from the destination folder) to makeiphoneringtone and the show up in the ringtones tab in itunes.

    i tried to sync just like this and nothing came up on the iphone (i just updated to 1.1.1)

    after looking around i saw the suggestion of changing the file extensions to .m4r, tried to sync and still had the same problem. it shows them in the iphne ringtones tab while connected to itunes but they do not show up on the iphone.

    the songs are between 2-4mb

    it worked while the phone was “unshackled” with ifuntastic. do i need to downgrade back to 1.0.2? i dont want to but i need this ringone to work. i refuse to pay for music i already have . using itunes 7.4.0

  20. @michael follow the steps in bold above, in order, Mr. Zorg above says that file sizes between 500KB and 1MB seem to work better then other files. I don’t know if this is a restriction but it could be.

  21. a couple of my ringtones are less than 1mb (was hoping to use them for sms alerts) and they still do not apear in my ringtones on iphone.

    its very weird that they are on the phone and not appearing on the phone but appear on the phone in itunes.

  22. IT DID WORK !!!!
    but now I have to move my whole friggin collection to my Mac……bummer

    still I am no longer constrained by “THE MAN” now Known as Apple.

    used to be Microsoft was a control freak looks like Apple has joined the club!

  23. also file size has no bearing I put a 31kb transfomers transforming sound on it and it worked great!

  24. This is not working for me… I know i have the correct software versions and I am following the steps closely and properly… I also went with a file that was the same length as the ringtone i had previously purchased off of itunes…. Any other suggestions? I ave tried different songs etc…. Perhaps its in my initial setup of the ringtone? I am editing the song to be short and the part which i want with arageband and then sharing it to itunes where i then convert it to AAC and then from there open the file in finder and move that to the desktop and follow the steps…

  25. @iphoner try out what corey mentioned above. I don’t really know what makes some files work and others don’t, I’ve found that if you just keep playing around with it they will eventually work, it took me a while to get it working as well.

    Also, ambrosia software is beta testing a version of iToner that will work with firmware 1.1.1, at the time it is released it will become much easier to get ringtones on the gone, you justpay ambrosia the $15 and your good to go.

    Check out this video of it in action:

  26. alright so i got it into the phone now but now it is not playing or working any ideas? I have tried this about 4 times and every time i get the same result. THANKS

  27. ok, so someone needs to post the steps of how to use itoner….what it is, and what you have to do with it if you have 1.1.1 on your iphone..please

  28. never mind, I googled it, now I need to know if this program is available for windows???????????????

  29. firmware 1.1.2 and itune 7.5 makes hememade ringtones possible again. No jailbreak, no software, no trick, just click on any m4r file and it will get imported into itunes and it will sync without problem to your iphone.

  30. yes its confimred!!! heres how
    yes, custom ringtones are back with iphone 1.1.2 AND itunes 7.5 heres how real quick
    1. Create a ringtone as mp3.
    2. Import into iTunes.
    3. Convert to ACC.
    4. Rename .m4a extension to m4r.
    5. Drag the file into the ringtones folder

  31. It works also with iTunes 7.6 too – here’s how I did it:

    I created my 30 second ringtone using a free program called MPEG Streamclip – available from (simply drag any mp3, mp4, AAC or video file into this program and trim to 30 seconds what you want as a ringtone, this is real simple: Edit select in and out points and trim)

    Then File/Export Audio, making sure its on MP4/AAC setting

    Save it to the desktop. Rename with the .M4R extension

    Open iTunes, Open the Ringtones section and drag and drop your new file into the window.

    Sync iPhone

    Works great.

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