iOS 5 has arrived and withit a bevy of new options and features.  While we could go on for quite sometime waxing poetic about all 200 new features, one in particular that people have been clammering for since the iPhone’s inception are custom text tones – a God send for anyone that hangs out in a coffee shop or really any public place.  Below is a step-by-step process on how to make FREE custom text tones for your iPhone running Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 5.

1. Locate a song/tone in iTunes

You can either use a preexisting song in iTunes or you can download free text tones from a site such as  We can’t really speak to their credibility and chances are they’ll try to sell you something, but we were able to download a handful of original free text tones without inputing any info or spending any money.

2. Right click on the song/tone and select GET INFO

3. In the OPTIONS tab add the start & stop time of the tone (only applies to songs)

To determine this, listen to the track and find a section that you like.  It probably shouldn’t be more than 7-10 seconds in length.  Avoid songs that aren’t loud enough, otherwise you might not hear the text. Once you’ve got the time entered click OK.

4. Right click on the song and select CREATE AAC VERSION

A duplicated version will appear just above it.

5. Right click on the duplicated version and select SHOW IN FINDER

The song will then appear in your finder.

6. Return to iTunes, right click on the duplicated song and click DELETE


7. Return to the finder and edit the name

File that same text/song in the finder.  The file should read “xyz.m4a”.  Edit it to “xyz.M4R”.  So again, you’re changing the file name from M4A to M4R.  Your OS will ask you if you want to use .M4R so make sure to SELECT that.

8. Double click the new song in the finder

It will automatically begin to play in iTunes.  Click on Ringtones from the iTunes menu and it should appear in there.

9. Plug in your iPhone (we’re having problems with WiFi sync)

Sync your iPhone with iTunes and make sure you select SYNC RINGTONES.

10. In your iPhone go to Settings>Sounds

Next select TEXT TONE.  Scroll down to ringtones and select your newly created song/ringtone.  You’re all set.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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    1. in your folder go to organize < folder and search options < view (second tab) < hide extensions from known file types (uncheck this) < click apply < then you can rename it :)

  1. Hi, i did this and it only shows up under regular “ringtones” not under the ringtones under the “text tones” or under any other alerts… Please help. Thanks

    1. hi. i have two “tones” on my phone but only the one that is shorter in length (the file happens to be 3 seconds), shows up under text tones. I suggest you trim the file down to minimal number of seconds. The article suggests 7-10.

  2. I did all of the steps, and nothing has shown up on my phone. I had literally done the same exact thing 5 minutes ago and that tone showed up on my phone, and not just my iTunes library.

  3. They have to be at least five seconds, and they will show up under ringtones, not text tones.  You can still set it as a text tone though.

    dit: at least my phone has to be at least 5 seconds. using iphone 4 updated ios, non jb

  4. Step by Step Guide on How to Make  Text Tones for iPhone 4S/4/3GS at
    This guide is applied for:
    Customize iPhone text tones from ringtonesMake text message or alerts with length 2-5 seconds or longer than 5 seconds.Make text tones for iPhones from songs like MP3 to iPhone text tone, WMA to iPhone text tone, M4A to iPhone text tone and more.Make iPhone text tones from movies like MP4 to iPhone text message tone, AVI to iPhone text tone and etc.This guide only applies to iOS 5 based iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

    1. This may be specific to the Mac version of iTunes.  Can you some how locate your iTunes folder which stores all your songs?  What OS are you running?

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