MacMost Now 906: Creating Ringtones With GarageBand For iOS

By using the GarageBand app on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you can create ringtones and use them on your device, without needing to connect to a computer. You can use instruments, music loops, songs on your device or just record from the microphone. You can assign these ringtones to any alert sound in the Settings app.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 906: Creating Ringtones With GarageBand For iOS.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let me show you how to create custom ringtones on your iPhone.

Now ever since the launch of the original iPhone you can create custom ringtones on your Mac and sync them over to your iPhone.

But with Garageband for iOS starting last year sometime with an update you were able to create ringtones on the iPhone using the Garageband app and save them to your iPhone with no computer involved.

So here I am in Garageband on my iPhone and I'm going to just create a new song here and I'm going to create something very simple. You can use anything to create a ringtone. A guitar strum would be nice. A couple drum hits. You can use say the keyboard for instance to do it. Just record anything. Just to make a unique sounding ringtone.

I'm actually to go in and use the microphone to do it. Which might be the most interesting option because I can just record my voice saying something as a ringtone or any sound I hear in my environment.

So I'm going to go into the Settings here and I want to turn off the metronome but I can leave the count-in so I know when I'm ready to record. I'm just going to record my voice for this ringtone. "Ring Ring." There I've got just that as the ringtone. I can play it back to hear it.

Now I can apply a filter to it here. I can also go into the editor here and do various things with it including, of course, adding new tracks and maybe instruments, background music, all sorts of things to spice it up. But for this example I'm just going to keep it simple and just have my voice saying ring ring.

So the next step is I want to exit to the editor here and go back to My Songs. Once I'm here I want to select. I can hit the edit button or I can just tap and hold over My Song there and all of them jiggle, and I've got the outline over the song I've just created.

Now I can tap the Share button. Under Sharing I can go down and see I can share as a ringtone. So I'm going to select that and I can change the name to anything I want. So in this case I'm going to call it test ring. Then hit export. It will export very quickly.

Now the options I have now are interesting because I can say OK or Use sound as…. It tells me that the ringtone is now ready to go to my computer when I sync with iTunes. This is how Garageband originally did it. But in addition to doing that it also put it in the ringtones for this phone.

I can also hit Use sound as here and I can use just my standard ringtone, my standard text tone, or assign to a specific contact. So I can do that right here without ever leaving Garageband.

But I am not going to do that here in Garageband. I want to go and get all my options. So I'm going to go back to Settings here. Under Settings I'm going to go to Sounds. Under Sounds I've got all the different options where I can assign ringtones; ringtone, email, voicemail, Facebook posts, all sorts of different things.

So I can assign to any one of these. Say when I get a new email I'm going to go in here and I've got all of my alert tones and under alert tones I've got ringtones here at the bottom and if I look I can see there is my Test Ring. So I can set it to that and the same thing if I want it to go to ringtone things appear in a different order. Ringtones appear at the top. So there it is under the first set of ringtones on my custom ones and I can set it to that as well.

So think of the possibilities here. It is very easy to use Garageband to create drum hits, piano or guitar cords and to use those as ringtones. Assign those to different contacts or for different things. You can record your own voice and even record your friends voice on your iPhone and use their voice as the ringtone for when they call.

You can use Apple loops and all sorts of different things in Garageband. Anything you can do in Garageband. You can even import music from your iTunes collection. When you import it says that certain music, protected music, music in the cloud can't be imported. So in my experiments a lot of different music that I had just worked fine in Garageband. So you might want to play around with that and then you can take some of your favorite songs and use those as ringtones or at least snippets of those as short ringtones and assign them to things on your iPhone.

Of course this also works with the iPad and iPod Touch. Anything that can run the latest version of Garageband.

I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 906: Creating Ringtones With GarageBand For iOS”

    6 years ago

    Thanks. Never knew this. Great info.

    Jim H.
    6 years ago


    Thank you for all your tips. I find them very useful.

    Gary, I have a train whistle that I recorded on “voice memos” on my iPhone five, I would like to use this as a ring tone. Is there a way I can do this?

    Thanks again,


      6 years ago

      Did you try using GarageBand for iOS to do this? Not sure if it supports importing recorded voice memos, but try. If not, then simply sync the voice memos to your Mac and use GarageBand there to create the Ringtone from it.

    Law Thim Fook
    6 years ago

    Gary, once again, much thanks for your tip. Related to this video, I have a question. Can I create a Ringtone on GarageBand on iPhone/iMac, and send it to another iPhone **without** GarageBand, with that user importing it in as a Ringtone?

    Thanks and regards.

      6 years ago

      I can’t see any way to do this. The only way to email it is to Share it from GarageBand. Then it arrives as a song, not a ringtone. And that song can only be played, it can’t be imported into either the Music app or GarageBand.

        Law Thim Fook
        6 years ago

        Much thanks again for your quick reply, Gary. Guess it can’t be done huh? :-(


    Ralph H.
    5 years ago

    Man… You are still giving amazing info on the platform and devices I love! I tried to share your post on my Twitter account from my iPad, but when the got to the verification Captcha screen I had to go 9 times, failing every time. Trying to spread the word. Don’t bad Twitter doesn’t trust me, with my account.

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