How to Change the MP3 Ring File for an iPhone: 6 Steps
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Even though you can use iTunes or your iPhone to play MP3 files in your media players, you cannot use that file format for ringtones; ringtones on the iPhone use the M4R file extension. It is a similar file format to the M4A file extension iTunes uses to convert CDs into files for your iPod or iPhone, so much so that you can rename M4A files to M4R files and they still work on Apple devices. You can convert an MP3 to an iPhone ringtone manually using iTunes, or you can use a third-party converter.


  1. 1
    Launch iTunes and select the Edit menu and "Preferences."
  2. 2
    Click "General" and "Settings." Select "AAC Encoding" from the "Import Using" drop-down menu. Click the "OK" button to save the settings.
  3. 3
    Drag the MP3 file you want to use as a ringtone into iTunes and drop it onto the Music section in the Library. Listen to the MP3 file and note the start time and stop time for your ringtone on the iTunes player. Ringtones are usually 30 seconds or shorter.
  4. 4
    Right click the song and click "Get Info." Click the Options tab and enter the start and stop time for your ringtone into the appropriate fields. Right click the MP3 file and click "Convert Selection to AAC." If you want to convert the entire song, you can just highlight the MP3, click the Advanced menu and click "Create AAC version."
  5. 5
    Drag and drop the M4A file you just created onto your desktop. Right click the file and click "Rename." Change the M4A extension to "m4r" and drag and drop it back into iTunes, this time in the "Ringtones" section of the Library.
  6. 6
    Plug your iPhone into your computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable and allow it to sync your new ringtone.


  • If you would prefer a software solution, there are several free options. MP3 to M4R Converter runs on Windows XP and later. Convert M4R and Aimersoft's Video Converter have versions for both Windows and Mac. The last two also allow you to clip audio tracks from video files to make your M4Rs as well as converting existing MP3.

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