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Smartphones & gadgets

Setting a custom ringtone is a pain — Here’s how to get it done

Custom ringtones have largely fallen by the wayside. Still, we encourage you to get creative with yours. Buying your favorite song, using a sound byte from your favorite celebrity, or even picking a quirky sound effect from the web can do a lot to brighten your day.

Tap or click here for some of the best places to download custom ringtones legally on the web. Below, you’ll find all the info you need to customize alerts, calls and other notifications.

How to set a custom ringtone for iPhone

For starters, you’ll need to make sure your ringtone of choice is already in your Apple Music library. You can buy ringtones from the iTunes Store app. If you can’t find what you want there, the MP3 or MP4 you use needs to be DRM-free.

Those with a specific ringtone in mind can use anything from GarageBand to iMovie or Audacity to trim a clip of your copyright-free source material. You can also cut it while importing it, which we will show you shortly. Once you have it, you’ll need to import it and sync your library to your device:

  • In Apple Music, use the File dropdown and select Import.
  • Find the song or sound you want to use and listen to it, paying attention to the elapsed time.
  • If you need to trim it (you can’t use a clip more than 40 seconds long), click the Options tab and input a starting and stopping time.
  • Make any other adjustments you need.
  • Now select your edited file, then choose File > Convert > Create AAC Version.

Now you need to convert the clip to a ringtone file your phone will recognize:

  • If the file isn’t a .m4r file, change it by highlighting it and going to File > Show in Windows Explorer (for Windows) or Show in Finder (for macOS). Change the extension to .m4r.

If you’re using an .mp3 file, you’ll need to use QuickTime to convert it to an .m4a file:

  • Open QuickTime and click on the File dropdown menu.
  • Choose Export As > Audio Only.
  • After naming your file, hit Save.
  • Once exported, change the file extension to .m4r in Finder.

Now, hook up your iPhone to your computer with its charger cable.

  • If you’re using a Mac, drag and drop the file to your iPhone in Finder.
  • PC users can drag and drop the file into Apple Music using Windows File Explorer.

After all that, the rest is easy:

  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Choose Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone.
  • Find the file you just made and select it.

Congratulations! Enjoy your new ringtone. You can assign your new custom ringtone as the default for alerts and alarms and specific people in your address book. To do so, select the contact in the Contacts list, tap Edit and use the Ringtone option to select a ringtone. Hit Done and you’re all set.

RELATED: Tech trick: Pin important messages on your iPhone so you don’t forget about them

How to set a custom ringtone for Android

Creating a custom Android ringtone is a straightforward process. Use any video or audio editing app to craft the perfect clip. Save it as an MP3 and drag it into your Android by connecting it to your computer with its USB cord. You can also email it to yourself or transfer it to any cloud-based file-sharing system.

Once it’s on your phone, do the following to assign the sound as a ringtone:

  • Go to Settings > Sound > Phone ringtone. On Samsung phones, you’ll use Settings > Sounds and vibration > Ringtone. Find your new ringtone and select it.
  • Use the plus symbol at the top to add a new ringtone.
  • Look through the tabs at the bottom until you find the sound you want to use.
  • Select it and hit Done.
  • Now, select the tone you just imported and hit the back arrow above. Your new ringtone should be set as your default.

To assign a custom contact ringtone through your Contacts app, select the contact and then Edit. Tap View more at the bottom. You should see Ringtone, which lets you choose a specific custom sound for that person.

You may also like: How to customize home screen icons on your Android

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