This article was first published on 2007-12-19. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
This past week saw the update of GarageBand to version 4.1.1. One small golden nugget has been discovered which is a welcome relief to many who were none too happy with Apple’s decision to charge for iPhone ringtones available only through the iTunes Music Store.
A silent feature has been added to GarageBand that allows you to export audio to iTunes as a Ringtone. Having tested it out, the process is actually quite painless and in a matter of minutes you be up and running with tones you can use for your main ringer or assign to individual contacts.
A couple of things to keep in mind. You need to have GarageBand 4.1.1., iTunes 7.5 and an iPhone with version 1.1.2 or a later version of any of these. You are also not able to sample any clip longer than 40 seconds. Forty seconds does not sound like a long time, but with a little creativity you can be quite original with your ringtones.
Reducing an audio clip to 40 seconds involves a couple of steps, but nothing too intense given all of the various functionality at your disposal in GarageBand. In this example I will use a song from my iTunes Library. Clicking on the Media button
brings up the iLife Media Browser where you will find your iTunes music library at your disposal. Simply select the track you want to make a ringtone out of and drag it into your track list.
Now we have what is known as a track which is made up of a WaveForm view of the audio. The other key items to be aware of here are the time line, the Region or Cycle Marker and the Playback head.
The time line does not represent time in the standard way, but in the musical way, by beats and measures. For this reason this numerical line is referred to as the "beat ruler." In order to see how long your clip is in standard time you need to change the LED window from "Measure" view to "Time" view by scrolling on the up or down arrows surrounding the icons.
In order to see the Region/Cycle Marker you will need to enable the Loop function to do this click on the Loop Icon.
This allows you to view the marker and by clicking and holding you can define a region along the timeline which will be used when you export your clip to iTunes.
With the aid of your handy playback head (triangle with the red line cutting through your tracks) you can check the duration of your audio by clicking and dragging the playhead back and forward and watching the time in the LED window. Remember, no longer than 40 seconds.
With your Region of audio selected and within a 40 second region, you can then select "Send Ringtone to iTunes" from the Share menu
After a few progress bars come and go, iTunes is launched and your ringtone is played for you. From this point all that is left for you to do is to connect your iPhone and sync. iTunes will copy the new ringtone over to your iPhone at which point it will be ready to use for whatever you wish to assign it to.
For the record, I chose the very beginning riff from the Beastie Boys "Brass Monkey." Now that should be interesting when I am in meetings at work.
Did this walk-through get you ready to make a ringtone? Ask questions and swap tips in the MFM Forum thread linked below!