How to create an iPhone ringtone without GarageBand

There are lots of articles out there explaining how to make an iPhone ringtone from a song using GarageBand but it's also possible to create them using only iTunes. Here's how:

  1. Find the song you want in iTunes.
  2. Right click on it and select "Get Info" (Apple+I also works). Go to the 'Options' tab.
  3. Adjust the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" values to shorten the song down to the part you want to use for the ringtone (45 seconds max). Click "OK".
  4. Play the track and make sure you're happy with where you've set the start and stop times.
  5. Right click on the track again and select "Convert Selection to AAC". This will copy the part of the song between the "Start Time" and "Stop Time" into a new file in AAC format. Once it's done encoding, the shortened track will appear in your music library.
  6. Right click on the original track, select "Get Info" again, and reset the start and stop time values to what they were before we started (probably both unchecked).
  7. Right click on the new AAC-formatted track and select "Delete" (Apple+Backspace also works). Select the "Keep File" option when prompted.
  8. The AAC file is no longer in your iTunes library but is still on your hard drive. Find it by searching for it in Spotlight or browsing to your iTunes Music folder directly.
  9. Select the file and hit 'Enter' to rename it. Change the extension from .m4a to .m4r. Hit enter again.
  10. Double click on the file and it should open up in iTunes and be placed in your "Ringtones" folder on the side.
  11. Make sure you're syncing ringtones with your phone, perform a sync, and enjoy!

Update (2008-6-14)

This also works in iTunes on Windows!