Category: iPhone Tips

How To Create a Free iPhone Ringtone Using iTunes

Want to make an iPhone ringtone with your own music? Just follow the step-by-step instructions below. Make sure to start out with songs that are mp3s or are otherwise DRM-free. *Updated for iTunes 11*

How to Make an iPhone Ringtone in iTunes:

1. Open iTunes.

2. Open Preferences in the iTunes menu at the top (it may be under Edit for Windows users):

Create iPhone Ringtone Step 1

3. Select the General tab:

Create iPhone Ringtone Step 2

4. Select Import Settings:

Import Settings

5. Click on the dropdown list after Importing Using:

Click on DropDown

6. Select AAC Encoder (it may already be the default):

Set iTunes Encoder to AAC

7. Select OK to go back to the Preferences, then select OK again.

Select OK

8. Select Music in the left iTunes sidebar and find a song you want to make into a ringtone:

Select Music in iTunes

9. You’ll need to find a 40 second or less section of the song to turn into a ringtone. Note (or write down) the starting and stopping point of the section of the song. You can see the time of the song in the play window at the top of iTunes:

iTunes Song Time

10. Right click on the song, and select Get Info:

Right Click and Select Get Info

11. Select the Options tab at the top:

Options Tab

12. Enter the start and stop time of the clip in the corresponding boxes and make sure the checkboxes are checked when you are finished:

Start and Stop

13. Click OK in the bottom right.

14. In the iTunes menu at the top, click Advanced, then Create AAC Version from the drop-down menu (in iTunes 11, it’s File –> Create New Version –> Create AAC Version):

Create AAC version of song

15. You should see a second version of the song appear in iTunes, only with the shorter play time. Click to play to make sure it sounds how you’ll want the ringtone to sound.

A Second Shortened Copy of the Song is Created

16. We aren’t quite finished yet! Now we have to change the file format so that it will appear as a ringtone in iTunes.

17. Navigate to the folder where the new clip is stored on your computer (it will be in the same folder as the original version of the song). To find it in Windows, right-click the clip in iTunes, then choose Show in Explorer. For Mac, right-click and select Show In Finder.

18. Copy the song (press Control and C for Windows, Command and C for Mac), and paste the song in the same folder (Control and V or Command and V) so that a third version appears.

Third Copy of Song

19. Now, change the file extension of the third version from .m4a to .m4r.

Troubleshooting: Don’t see the file extension? Windows 7: click the Start button, Control Panel–>Appearance and Personalization–>Folder Options–>View tab–>and uncheck Hide Extensions for known file types. For Windows XP: in the Explorer window, go to Tools –> Folder Options –> View and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types. For Vista: Organize –> Folder and Search Options and uncheck Hide extension for known file types.

Change File Extension to m4r

20. Rename the file, if you want (for example, CoolRingtone.m4r). Note: If there are symbols such as underscores or hyphens in the name, you must remove them.

21. Important: In iTunes, delete the first AAC clip you made by right-clicking on the clip and selecting delete (if you don’t do this, iTunes might not accept the new ringtone):

22. Go back to the folder with the new ringtone file (.m4r file). Drag and drop the file into iTunes. Or import it by opening iTunes, select File, and select: Windows XP/Vista: Add File to Library, Mac: Add to Library.

Add Ringtone to iTunes Library

23. Now we need to sync the ringtone to your iPhone. Connect the iPhone to the computer.

Connect the iPhone to Computer

24. Click on your iPhone in the left sidebar in iTunes (Note: for iTunes 11, your iPhone can be found under Devices at the top right):

Add Photos to iTunes Step 2a

25. Click on the Tones tab, check the Sync tones checkbox, then check either All tones or Selected tones. If you choose Selected ringtones, make sure your new ringtone is also checked so it will sync:

iTunes 10 select Tones to sync

26. Now click the Apply button in the bottom right (it may also say Sync. Click Sync if it does).

Click Apply or Sync

And that’s it. You’ve done it! The ringtone is now on the iPhone. Got to Settings on your iPhone, tap Sounds, and you can change to your new ringtone. If the ringtone doesn’t show up on the iPhone, follow the Troubleshooting steps below, else go to the Clean Up section for one important last step.


Did the ringtone not appear on your iPhone? Follow these steps.

1. Click on the Summary tab for your iPhone in iTunes:

2. See if the checkbox labeled Manually manage music and video is checked. If not, check it.

3. Click on Tones in the left sidebar (older versions of iTunes may say Ringtones instead) and find the ringtone:

Click on Tones in Left Sidebar of iTunes

4. Drag and drop the ringtone onto your iPhone in the left sidebar. The iPhone should begin synching immediately, and the ringtone will appear shortly on your iPhone:

More Troubleshooting

Problem: I don’t see Tones or Ringtones in the iTunes Sidebar.

Go into Preferences–>General, and under Show make sure the Tones checkbox is checked.

Problem: You get a scary message “All existing songs, movies and TV shows on the iPhone will be removed.”

You likely received this message because you’ve never synced your iPhone with iTunes before and therefore don’t have a back-up of your iPhone data. Cancel the current sync. Unplug your iPhone and plug it back in again. Right click on your iPhone in the left sidebar and select Back Up:

How to back up iPhone to your computer

Now that iTunes has an image of your current iPhone to work from, right click on it again in the left sidebar and select Sync.

Clean Up

You made the ringtone, but there’s one clean-up task to do. We need to fix the Start/Stop time of the original song. Otherwise, the next time you play the song, it won’t play the whole thing. In iTunes, right click the original song, select Get Info –> Options and reset the Start/Stop time by deleting the numbers and leaving the fields blank. All done!

How to Delete the iPhone’s Safari Browser History

It happens to all of us, you “accidentally” browse to an unsavory website on your iPhone’s browser. Now you want to delete all traces of having visited that site from the browser’s history. How do you do it? Follow these simple instructions:

1. Tap the Mobile Safari icon:

Clear iPhone Browser History

2. Tap the Bookmark icon at the bottom of the screen.

Clear the iPhone Browser History Step 2

3. If your view is like the one below, tap History, otherwise, skip to next step:

4. Tap the Clear button at the bottom left of the screen:

Clear History Step 3

5. Tap Clear History:

Step 3

You have now deleted your history of visited sites. Also note that you have deleted your history of Google searches on the iPhone. Yes, it also keeps a history of search terms too. It does this for the same reason it keeps visited URLs: to save you time. But following the above instructions will delete both types of browsing history, so my, I mean, your habit of visiting need not be revealed.

Note: You may still continue to see some URLs and other terms in that dropdown list. These are either default bookmarks from Apple or bookmarks you have made, they are not a part of your browser’s history.

Try the iPhone’s New Private Browsing Mode

If you are going to be spending some time browsing unsavory websites on your iPhone, try the new Private Browsing Mode, which won’t save any browsing data (history of websites visited, cache images, etc). See our instructions on How to Turn on the iPhone’s Private Browsing Mode.

A Clear History Option in the iPhone’s Settings

What about the Clear History option in the iPhone Settings? What does that do?

Yes, there is an alternative method of deleting Mobile Safari’s history in the iPhone ‘s Settings menu (see picture below). However, it’s not as effective, as it doesn’t also clear your Google searches. For example, if you searched for Anne Hathaway Pictures in Google, the next time someone entered the letter A in the Google search bar, your search keywords for the sexy young starlet would show up in a dropdown list. Busted!

Clear History in iPhone Settings

What about Clear Cache and Clear History in the Settings menu? What do those do?

You can clear two other types of data in the iPhone Settings menu: cache and cookies. It sounds like a snack, but really the cache and cookies are data your browser keeps to make your web browsing experience more fluid.

A cache is saved data from websites (eg, buttons, icons, banners, etc) that helps websites load quicker. Clearing your cache is way to clear some of your iPhone’s memory and may improve speed performance.

Cookies hold your online “personality” so websites can know something about you when you visit. An example of this is visiting and seeing that annoying “Hello, John Smith!” at the top. Clear your cookies to avoid such irritation.

iPhone Basics: Turn the iPhone Calculator Into a Scientific Calculator

Scientific Calculator

You may know the iPhone comes with a basic calculator app. But did you know, if you rotate the iPhone to landscape mode, it will turn into a scientific calculator? Doing so will create a whole new row of buttons to appear, including cos, sin, tan, square roots, and more.

Here’s the forumula for compound interest to get you started:

M = P( 1 + i )n

P=principal amount.

i=rate of interest per year.

n=number of years invested.

M=final amount including the principal.

Check out all of Art of the iPhone‘s coverage of iPhone Basics.

How to Add Photos to Your iPhone Contacts

Instructions for Adding Photos to iPhone Contacts:

1. Tap on the Contacts app, or tap Contacts in the Phone app:

Add Photos Step 1

2. Scroll to the person or business you want to add the photo to, and tap their name.

3. Tap Edit in the top right corner:

Edit a Contact

4. Tap Add Photo.

Add Photo to iPhone Contact

5. Tap Choose Existing Photo if you have a photo on your iPhone that you want to use. Or, tap Take Photo if the person is in photo range:

Choose Photo for iPhone Contacts

6. Selecting Choose Exising Photo will open up the iPhone’s Photo Albums. Navigate through your pictures and select the one you want.

7. You can edit the size and orientation of the photo. This comes in handy if you want to use just the face of a person, or if there are multiple people in a photo. You edit by zooming in and out using pinching gestures or by dragging the photo left, right, up, or down:

Move and Scale iPhone Photos

8. When you are finished, tap Set Photo.

9. Tap Done in the top right corner, and you’ve successfully added a photo to your contact.

Done Adding Picture to iPhone Contact

And that’s it. The next time the contact calls, you can see their bright smiling face lit up on your iPhone.

Check out all our iPhone Tips.

How to Add Photos to iTunes For Synching to iPhone or iPod

Warning: Please be sure to transfer (backup) the photos currently on your iPhone to your computer first before following the instructions below. Windows users can do this with the Camera and Scanner wizard. Mac users can use iPhoto.

1. Connect the iPod/iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes.

Connect the iPhone to Computer

2. Click on your iPod/iPhone icon in the left sidebar:

Add Photos to iTunes Step 2a

3. Click the Photos tab at the top center:

Select the Photos Tab

4. Make sure the “Sync photos from” box is checked, then click on the drop-down menu:

Add Pictures to iTunes

5. Select the source of your photos, such as the folder in which they are located:

Add Pictures to iPhone

Once you select a folder, you can sync all the photographs in that folder to your iPhone or iPod. You can also use subfolders to help organize and sync only certain photos you want on the iPhone/iPod. Note that this works for only one level of subfolders. If you create a sub-subfolder, it will not show up in Tunes.

Subfolders will show up as individual photo albums in iTunes, You can then check or uncheck each folder in order to sync them or not.

Tip: Give your subfolders names, like “Family”, to help keep your images organized.


  • Windows users can also sync from Adobe Photoshop Album 1 or Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0. If you have these programs installed, they will automatically show up in the iTunes dropdown menu under the Photos tab.
  • Mac users can sync from iPhoto. Any albums created in iPhoto will show up in iTunes under the Photos tab.
  • An alternative way to put a photo onto your iPhone is to email it yourself. Access the email on the iPhone, open the photo by tapping on it, then hold your finger on the photo for a few seconds until a menu pops up. Choose Save Image.

Password Protect Your iPhone with Passcode Lock

Enter Passcode on iPhone

In the past, a lost cell phone in a stranger’s hands might have meant no more than access to bunch of phone numbers. With the iPhone, it could mean access to your email, calendar, contact addresses, personal website info, and much more. But the iPhone’s got your back. It’s called Passcode Lock, and you can turn it on in the settings menu of the iPhone.

What is Passcode Lock?

Password Lock locks your phone down, allowing nothing but an emergency call until the user enters a four-digit password to unlock it again.

How do I turn on Passcode Lock?

You turn it on in the Settings menu on the iPhone. Go to the General tab, and you’ll see a Passcode Lock tab toward the bottom of the screen. Select it.

Password Protect iPhone with Passcode Lock


 You will be asked to enter a four-digit passcode. Make it one you’ll remember!

Set the iPhone’s Password Lock

Next, a settings menu for Passcode Lock will appear. You can set how quickly your iPhone locks with Passcode Lock.

Set the Frequency of the iPhone’s Auto Lock

What if I forget my password?

If you forget the password, you’ll have to go through a restore process by connecting it to iTunes. See bottom of this post for instructions on how to do this.

Can I password protect specific iPhone apps, like email? I don’t want to lock down the whole phone.

Unfortunately, you can’t password protect individual applications like email. This would make a great feature though, so hopefully Apple will add it in the future.

What’s up with the new “Erase Data” feature?

The iPhone 2.1 software has added a new security feature that can erase all the iPhone’s data when there are ten failed password attempts. You have to turn this feature on, as it’s set to off as a default. As long as you backup your iPhone when you sync it to iTunes (done by default), you should have no worries about the loss of data.

Passcode Lock Erase Data after 10 Failed iPhone Password Attempts

The “erase data” feature can be turned on in the iPhone settings by tapping General, then Passcode Lock, moving the Erase Data tab to On.

How to restore your iPhone if you forget your password:

If you forget your passcode, you’ll need to restore your iPhone to factory settings. You’ll need to put the iPhone into Recovery Mode by following the instructions below.

  • Turn off your iPhone by pressing the Sleep button at the top for 5 seconds, then “Slide to Power Off”
  • Launch iTunes on your computer
  • Plug in your iPhone to your computer
  • Press and hold down both the sleep button and the home button
  • The Apple logo will appear for about 5 seconds, the disappear. When it disappears, keep holding the Home button but release the Sleep button.
  • Keep holding the home button until you see the restore screen pop up in iTunes:
  • Click OK and restore it to factory settings.
  • Once it’s done restoring to factory settings and is activated, iTunes will prompt you to restore from your previous backup (from the last time you synched the iPhone).

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