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How to change your ringtone on iPhone: Songs, custom tones, and more

With a little work, you can turn just about anything into a tone.

Published onAugust 23, 2022

Apple is still playing catch-up with Android in terms of customizing smartphones, but there’s still plenty you can do on an iPhone, including of course setting custom ringtones. Learn how to change your ringtone on an iPhone, including adding custom songs and sounds.

Read more: The things iOS does better than Android


You can choose from preset ringtones by going to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone. If you want set special ones for individuals, like a partner or best friend, use Contacts > [contact name] > Edit > Ringtone. Adding custom ringtones requires extra steps involving iTunes or the macOS Music app.


How to change your ringtone on an iPhone

Over the years, Apple has built up a reasonably-sized library of stock ringtones. You won’t find any famous songs or sound effects, but there’s a mix of different loud and soft tones, which can be useful if you have trouble hearing incoming calls or you find the default tone jolting.

Here’s how to change your general ringtone to anything already loaded on your iPhone:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap on Sounds & Haptics, then Ringtone.
  • Pick a ringtone. Whenever you tap on one, you’ll hear a preview, so you might want to wear earbuds or headphones if it’s going to disturb other people.

You can also set ringtones for individual phone numbers, for instance if you want to know that it’s your partner calling and not just a telemarketer. The steps are different, however:

  • Open the Contacts app and select the person you’re looking for.
  • Tap Edit, then Ringtone.
  • Pick a ringtone different from your general one.

How to add a custom sound and set it as your iPhone’s ringtone

Using the iTunes Store

There are actually a few ways of adding custom sounds and music, but we’ll start with Apple’s preferred method — buying them from the iTunes Store.

  • On your iPhone, open the iTunes Store app.
  • Tap the More (…) icon.
  • Select Tones. Browse for a song or effect you’d like as a ringtone, then tap its price to buy it. Be sure you have a payment method linked to your Apple ID.
  • When the download is done, you’ll get three main options: Set as Default Ringtone, Set as Default Text Tone, or Assign to a Contact. You can also hit Done if you want to assign things later using normal ringtone selection.

Using iTunes for Windows or the macOS Music app

If you want to import a song or sound effect you already have, there are few things you’ll need to do. First, you’ll need to trim it down to 30 seconds or less (using a copy of the file, not the original!) and convert it to the M4R file format. Most free audio editing tools can handle trimming, but for MP3 to M4R conversion, try a website like Convertio.

Once you’ve prepped your M4R file, all you have to do is sync it with your iPhone via iTunes (on Windows) or the Apple Music app (on macOS).

On Windows:

  • Open iTunes, then plug your iPhone into your PC’s USB port.
  • Click on the icon for your iPhone, which should be near the top menu bar.
  • Within the On My Device section in the sidebar, select Tones.
  • Drag and drop your M4R file into the Tones panel.
  • Click Sync (towards the bottom of iTunes) to make sure the file is copied.

On macOS:

  • Plug in your iPhone, then open the Music app.
  • Click on your iPhone when it appears in the sidebar menu.
  • Drag and drop your M4R file into Music.

Read more: How to recover your iPhone’s data with or without a backup


There have always been multiple options, but the most famous one is Marimba, which debuted alongside the original iPhone in 2007. It’s no longer in the main ringtone list, but you can still choose it by going to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone > Classic.

They should automatically appear above a gray line in Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone. If they don’t, tap Download All Purchased Tones in the same menu.

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