How to get Custom Ringtones on iPhone for Free (using GarageBand)

InternetHow to get Custom Ringtones on iPhone for Free (using GarageBand)

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Setting any song as a ringtone in your iPhone can be a painful thing to do. Apple has this system in place where you have to pay for ringtones if you would like to choose your own songs or tone apart from the ones provided as part of the iOS software.

A lot of users don’t like to spend money on ringtone especially people who move from Android. Since Android allows you to change ringtone to your liking free of cost, its a basic feature that iPhone users have come to expect when they move to the Apple Ecosystem.

So, to get this thing up and running, there are many solutions that requires you to have Itunes software or a computer to get this done. The solution we have today can be entirely done in the phone itself. No computer, no cables, no hassle. The only thing you need is to install GarageBand app on the iPhone. If you are not aware of GarageBand, Its digital audio workstation software developed by Apple for macOS and iOS devices that allows users to create music on the device.

Quick Steps

  1. Install GarageBand from the App Store for free.
  2. So, you need to download the ringtone and save it in the Files App as a mp3 file.
  3. Open GarageBand.
  4. Create a New Project.
  5. Set the timeline to 30 seconds.
  6. Import the ringtone from the Files App and set in the timeline.
  7. Select Export.
  8. Select Create a Ringtone.
  9. Once, its done, Go to Ringtones section in the Settings and you will see the newly created ringtone above the default ones. Choose that as Ringtone.

Bonus: How to Make iPhone Alarm Vibrate Only

Steps to Add Ringtones to iPhone using GarageBand

If you want how to install custom ringtone in detailed steps with screenshots, keep reading below to get it done.

  1. First things first, before we move on to anything, you need to have the ringtone that you would like to set as custom ringtone in the mp3 file. A couple of things you could do it is, download the ringtone, convert youtube video to mp3 or cut ringtone from a bigger mp3 file. Whatever you do, you need to have it in the mp3 format. For the sake of this tutorial, let’s say you want to download it from a ringtone website ( is a popular one).
  2. Open the zedge website. Once you are there, tap on the Side menu at the top right corner.
  3. In the menu that appears, chose Browse Now from the list .
  4. In the Browse Page that appears, Go to the Ringtones tab. The site has a lot of resources like Wallpapers and Ringtones and you could check them out as well. I have used this become the era of smartphones to download wallpapers and ringtones in my old Sony Ericson cedar phone or Nokia n90 etc., Damn! I miss those days. Changing the wallpaper or setting a new ringtone felt like hacking into a government facility or robbing a bank.
  5. In the list of all the ringtones that appears, you could select the one that you would like to set as your custom ringtone in your smartphone. Once, you find the one you like it, tap on the ringtone.
  6. In the ringtone page, Tap on the Download button at the bottom. This will download the ringtone directly to you phone or browser depending on which browser you use.
  7. Once that’s done, if you are using Safari to download, the browser would ask you to confirm if you want to download the file. Tap Download on the popup that appears.
  8. Once the file is downloaded, Go to the Downloads section of the browser and you will find the file right there as you can see in the screenshot below.
  9. Tap on it to open the file. Since its an mp3 file, its showing as a audio player. Now, the objective is to move the file to the Files app in the iOS. So, to do that, tap on the Share button at the bottom left corner of the screen. This would show options to share and save as well.
  10. Scroll down in the dialog box that appears and choose Save to Files. This is to move the file to the Files app. You will need to select the Folder where you want the files to be saved.
  11. Select the Folder where you would want the ringtone mp3 file to be saved.
  12. Once you have chosen the place for it be saved, then the file be saved to that particular folder as you can see in the screenshow below. Its a good idea to rememeber where it was saved.
  13. Now, let’s move on the next side of this process. We need garageband to create ringtones in your smartphone. If you don’t have it already, you need to install it from the App Store.
  14. Once you have installed GarageBand in the iPhone, open the app and choose Audio Recorder from the type of projects to choose from. Once done, the screen will be like this.
  15. In the Audio Recorder page, tap on the Timeline icon pointed out in the screenshot above. This would take you to the Timeline view where you can drag and drop files to actually create you rown ringtone. Please make sure you are in the Audio Recorder project type because it won’t work otherwise.
  16. First things first, we go to the mp3 file, we need to change the timeline to make it 30 seconds. A ringtone is expected by iOS to be maximum of 30 seconds. So, inorder to do that, tap on the + icon at the top right corner which would open a popup like this.
  17. As you can see by default, there is only one section and it has 8 bars. You don’t have to bother to understand what it is. All you have to do is, change the 8 bars to 30 bars. No need to add or Duplicate or Add sections to the list. To do that tap on the Section C and it would take you to the Edit menu as you can see here in the screenshow below.
  18. Under the Manual section, Tap on the Upper arrow and change from 8 to 30 bars for the section.
  19. Once its done, you can tap on the Back button and you could see the Section bars has been changed from 8 bars to 30 bars in the Song Sections.
  20. Now leave that popup and see tha the Timeline has been changed to 30 bars. Now that we are in the timeline view with the right amount of section bars, Tap on the circular icon at the top right corner. That would open up the popup which lets you add music to the Timeline. Since we have the file already to be used as a ringtone, tap on the Files Tab in the popup.
  21. In the Files, Tab, there will be no files displayed since you have not added any. There will be an option at bottom called Browse items from the Files app. Tap on that.
  22. Next you will see the popup from the Files app. This would normally be open in the Recents Tab. Since we have added the mp3 files recently to the Files earlier, it would show up in the Latest Tab. In case if you hvae added the mp3 file earlier, you could go the Browse tab on the bottom and navigate yourself to the folder where the file is kept. As I said earlier, please remember where the file is or its going to be a pain to search for it individually and find it. Select the file once you find and it would go back to the previous popup.
  23. Now, you could see the file selected in the Files tab of the popup. Now the file is here, you have to drag and drop in into the timeline. That’s the only way to add it as a ringtone. In case if you happened to choose the wrong file, you could always go back to Files app by choosing Browse items from the Files app and select the correct file to use for the ringtone.
  24. Now that the mp3 file is in the Timeline, if the mp3 file is too short you could actually loop the track to make sure it fits the entire timeline of 30 bars. So, if you want to loop the track, you need to Press and Hold on the track to reveal this menu where you could choose the Loop option. Doing this would fill the entire 30 bars with the same track until its fills up.
  25. Since my track in this project is half of the entire timeline, I’m choosing not the loop it. After that, Tap on the downward facing triangle at the top left corner of the screen. On doing that, the popup appears with the name of the project. Tap on that.
  26. Now you are in the screen where it would show all the projects that are being created in GarageBand. Since I have done any other project issue, My song is the only project I have. Projects are created with names that are given automatically. So, its better to change the name of the project because the exported ringtone will also have the same name. So, before exporting the ringtone, I’m choosing to rename this project.
  27. To rename the project, tap and hold on the project and you will see a popup as you can see here.
  28. Tap on Rename. Now, you get the screen where you could change the name of the project. Once you see that, change the anme and tap on the done option in the keyboard.
  29. Now that the project name is changed, Let’s export the project as a Ringtone. The same step applies to this. Press and Hold the renamed project and in the menu, Choose Share.
  30. Now, in the Share Song section, Choose Ringtone. This option will create a custom ringtone just for this iPhone. It will be saved as part of your iPhone.
  31. Now, give it a proper file name by tapping on the Name of the Rington section and tap on Export at the top right corner of the screen.
  32. Once you the Ringtone Export is successful, you will see a popup like this where you could set the ringtone from here. If you wish to do so, you could tap on Use sound as.. Or else choose OK.
  33. Once you choose that option, you will see another popup like this. There you could set the exported ringtone as Standard Ringtone, Standard Text Tone or even Assign to a specific contact as ringtone. You could ignore if you choose to ignore.
  34. You could also choose the ringtone from the Settings menu. Go to Settings and then choose Sounds & Haptics below the Notifications settings.
  35. Under Sounds & Haptics, in the Sounds and Vibration Patterns, you would see all the possible ways to set a ringtone like Ringtone, Text tone, New Voicemail etc.,
  36. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to change the Ringtone. Tap on the Ringtone option. Under the Ringtones section, you will find the ringtones exported from the GarageBand at the top. As you can see its Custom Ringtone in my case. The default tones and the custom tones will be separated by a line as you can see in the screenshot above.

This is how you can create a custom ringtone right in your iPhone without the use of a computer. The Only thing you need to remember after doing that its that its better to delete the GarageBand app once you are done with creating the ringtone. The GarageBand app is 1.2GB in size and its better to keep free memory in storage.

I’m sure there are other ways to do this if you happen to have a macbook or even a windows computer. By far this is the only solution I found where you do everything directly in the iPhone itself to set a custom ringtone without the need of a secondary device or any paid services.

Other iOS 14 posts:

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  3. Delete Apps on iOS 14 for iPhone and iPad
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Lynn Joseph
Im Lynn. I work as a Software Engineer and my other interests include Food Photography, Graphic Design,Blogging, Philosophy, Baking and many more. I am an avid reader and I enjoy being productive.