Home > Resources > Set custom ringtone on iPhone

How to add ringtone to iPhone without iTunes: A complete guide

Looking to personalize your iPhone with a custom ringtone but want to avoid the hassle of using iTunes? Follow this guide to explore how to set a ringtone on iPhone without iTunes!

Jasmin Woods Updated on May 17, 2024 6:21 PM

Tired of the limited selection of default ringtones on your iPhone? Want to personalize your device by setting a custom ringtone? The good news is, you can easily add a ringtone to your iPhone without the need for iTunes. Whether it's a catchy song snippet, a funny sound effect, or a personalized recording, this guide will walk you through the simple steps to create, add and set a custom ringtone on iPhone without the iTunes hassle.

When you need to add ringtones to iPhone without iTunes efficiently, there're several approaches to help you.

In the following section, we'll show you how to set a song as a ringtone on iPhone without iTunes or computer, using GarageBand. Additionally, we'll explore a robust iPhone ringtone maker embedded within the iPhone Data Transfer software, which enables you to extract a ringtone from any sound file and seamlessly add the ringtone to your iPhone with just a few clicks.

Let's dive into the steps on how to add a ringtone to iPhone without iTunes:

Part 1. Can you add a custom ringtone on iPhone?

Yes! For Apple users, directly customizing a ringtone on iPhone might seem less straightforward, especially if you don't already have a custom ringtone in Music Library or Files app. However, fear not! There are alternative methods if you want to add a custom ringtone on your iPhone that is not purchased from Apple Music or the iTunes Store.

Before exploring the Part 2 for adding ringtone to iPhone without iTunes, it's worth noting that you can still follow the traditional steps using iTunes to set a custom ringtone on iPhone.

How to add a ringtone to iPhone with iTunes

Note that iTunes will only recognize and add a ringtone file that is in .m4r format and less than 40 seconds. Here's a guide on how to convert an MP3 or another music file into iOS-compatible ringtone and add it to your iPhone using iTunes:

1. Select or create a custom ringtone.

You may download an online ringtone, extract a snippet from your favorite song, or even record music from YouTube. Make sure to keep the ringtone under 40 seconds.

2. Launch iTunes and convert the ringtone file to .m4r format.

If your chosen sound file is in MP3 or other formats, convert it to .m4r file first.

  • Open the latest version of iTunes on your Windows PC or Mac with macOS 10.14 or earlier.
  • Select Songs from the left panel, then drag and drop the sound file into iTunes window.
  • Click the audio file, and choose File > Convert > Create AAC version from the top toolbar.
  • Copy and paste the AAC version of ringtone file on your desktop.
  • Rename the ringtone file and change its extension from .m4a to m4r.

3. Add the ringtone to your iPhone from iTunes library.

Connect your iPhone via a USB cable, then click the device icon from the top-left corner. Choose Tones tab from the left sidebar, you can then drag and drop the .m4r ringtone to iTunes window and sync it to your iPhone.

4. Set the iTunes song as your ringtone on iPhone.

Set your ringtone on iPhone through Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone. You will view all available ringtones; simply select the sound added from iTunes and set it as new your ringtone.

Part 2. How to add a ringtone to iPhone without iTunes

Although you can add a ringtone from iTunes library, the process can be complex. Hence, you might prefer a simpler, direct method to create and add a ringtone to iPhone without iTunes.

Make a custom ringtone on iPhone - GarageBand

If your iPhone is operating on iOS 14 or a later version, GarageBand, supported by Apple, is an ideal choice to make custom ringtones on iPhone without iTunes or computer. It is accessible to all iOS users and facilitates the process of turning any song into your iPhone ringtone.

To begin, download and install GarageBand on your iPhone from Apple Store. And ensure that the song you wish to set as your iPhone ringtone is locally saved in your Music Library or Apple Files app. Once prepared, follow the steps below to create a custom ringtone on iPhone:

Step 1. Install and open GarageBand app from Apple Store on your iPhone.

Step 2. Swipe to find Audio Recorder and tap Voice.

Step 3. Tap on View at the top left-hand corner of the screen.

You'll enter the editing section, then tap the triangle icon next to the red circle to make it blue.

Step 4. Tap the Loop icon > Choose music from Files or Music. If the music you want to set as a ringtone is from Files, tap Browse items from the Files app to add the song to a track.

Step 5. Drag the vertical bar to the starting point of your custom ringtone. Then tap the song twice and select Split. You'll see a scissor icon appear at the point, drag the scissor down to cut the song at this starting point. The same way can be used to choose the ending point.

Step 6. Double-tap the unwanted part of the song and choose Delete.

Step 7. Tap the down-arrow icon in the upper left corner > Hit My Songs.

Step 8. Hit and hold the custom music file, and then select Share > Ringtone on the screen.

Step 9. Tap Continue, and then change the name of the ringtone. Once done, tap Export at the top right corner. When the exporting process is finished, hit OK.


  • The length of custom ringtone on iPhone is limited to a maximum of 30 seconds, and if it exceeds this limit, it will be automatically compressed to an appropriate length.

Add ringtone to iPhone without iTunes – iPhone Data Transfer

If you have your favorite songs or tracks on your computer that you wish to set it as a ringtone on your iPhone, the all-in-one solution iPhone Data Transfer software comes in handy. It brings iPhone ringtone maker and file-transferring features in one place, allowing you to make any sound file as a custom ringtone and add it to iPhone directly, without needing iTunes or GarageBand.

Download Now!

for macOS | for Windows

Moreover, this tool automatically converts the incompatible audio file to iOS-compatible format, enabling seamless playback with iPhone/iPad. It also allows you to preview all ringtones and music before adding them to iPhone, as well as other data files like photos, videos and more. Here are several reasons why users prefer to add a ringtone to iPhone without iTunes by using iPhone Data Transfer:

  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac computer
  • Intuitive ringtone maker and hyper-fast ringtone transfer to iPhone without iTunes
  • Support adding multiple ringtone formats to iPhone, including MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, etc.
  • Auto convert incompatible audio files to a format playable by your device
  • Facilitate seamless file transfer between iPhone and PC/Mac without iTunes

Get the software on computer, and follow the steps to add ringtone to iPhone without iTunes:

Step 1. Launch iPhone Data Transfer and connect your iPhone using a USB cable.

Step 2. Click on Music tab from the left-side menu and select Ringtones in the expanded options. From here, you're able to view and manage all available ringtones on your iPhone.

Step 3. Click the Add + button at the top and choose Add File(s) or Add Folder, depending on whether you want to add an individual ringtone or an entire folder full of ringtones.

Step 4. Add ringtones to your iPhone. A local folder will appear, and you're allowed to choose any audio file from your computer and add the music file to your iPhone without iTunes.

The newly added ringtone will automatically appear in your iPhone's Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone. From this menu, you can set the added sound as your new ringtone.

Set any song as ringtone in iPhone without iTunes - Ringtone Maker

If you're seeking to customize your iPhone ringtone, the iPhone Data Transfer software offers a convenient built-in Ringtone Maker for iOS users to create personalized ringtones without the need for iTunes. You can easily trim any sound file and select your desired portion for a custom ringtone, whether it's an MP3 file, a song, a sound effect, or an audio recording.

Download Now!

for macOS | for Windows

Here's how to make a song a ringtone on iPhone without iTunes using Ringtone Maker:

  • Open iPhone Data Transfer and attach your iPhone.
  • From the bottom of the interface, navigate to Ringtone Maker.

  • In the sub-window, add a sound file you wish to use as your ringtone. You can choose a music file from either your iPhone or your computer.

  • Edit the audio file to create your custom ringtone. It enables you to determine the ringtone's duration by setting a starting and ending point; you can also add fade-in or fade-out effects.
  • Fine-tune the ringtone volume by adjusting the volume slider.
  • Select the checkbox next to the Add to device option.
  • Hit the Generate button, then your customized ringtone will be added to your iPhone and simultaneously saved on your computer.

Once completed, try using the data transfer functionality integrated into this tool. It will seamlessly put the custom ringtone onto your iPhone without the need for iTunes.

Part 3. How to set a custom ringtone on iPhone

After successfully adding the ringtone to your iPhone, follow these steps to set a custom ringtone in your iPhone Settings:

  • Head to the Settings app on your device.
  • Scroll down to find Sounds & Haptics (or Sounds) and tap it.
  • Select Ringtone under the Sounds and Haptic Patterns section.
  • From the ringtone list, select the newly added sound to change your iPhone ringtone.

Extra tip: Set a custom ringtone for a contact on iPhone

It's possible to assign a custom ringtone to a specific contact on your iPhone. To get started:

  • Go to the Contacts app on your iPhone.
  • Choose the contact for whom you wish to assign a custom ringtone.
  • Tap on Edit in the top-right corner, and scroll down to tap Ringtone.
  • From the list of ringtones, choose a sound that you prefer to use.
  • Tap Done. That's it!

FAQs on customizing ringtones for iPhone

How to set an MP3 as my ringtone on my iPhone?

Setting an MP3 as a ringtone on your iPhone requires using iTunes and converting the MP3 file into a more compatible ringtone in .m4r format for iOS.

  • Open iTunes and add the MP3 file to iTunes Library.
  • Right-click on the MP3 file, then select Song Info > Options.
  • Set a start point and end point of the MP3 file. Make that the sound file is less than 30s.
  • From the top toolbar on iTunes, click File > Convert > Create AAC version.
  • Save the AAC file on your computer and change its extension from .m4a to .m4r.
  • Connect your iPhone to computer and click the phone icon.
  • In the left side of the window, choose Tones.
  • Add the .m4r file to your iPhone.
  • Set it as your ringtone in Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtones.

How do I change my ringtone on my iPhone?

If you already have your custom ringtones on your iPhone, it's pretty easy to change your ringtone on iPhone.

  • Access Settings app and choose Sounds & Haptics > Ringtones.
  • There should be a list of ringtones available.
  • Choose any sound file you like and set it as the ringtone of your iPhone.

How to put a custom ringtone on my iPhone without iTunes?

To get a custom ringtone on your iPhone without using iTunes, you can rely on third-party software like iPhone Data Transfer, as discussed in Part 2 of this guide. This software facilitates the seamless transfer of any music file from your computer to your iPhone. Moreover, you can also utilize it to directly import MP3 files to your iPhone and designate them as ringtones.

By clicking "Agree" you allow cookies that improve your experience on our site, help us analyze site performance and usage. See Cookies policy.Agree