How to create a ring tone for free using iTunes 10.2.1

It's easy to create ringtones for free with iTunes using the steps outlined below, and then you can upload them to your cell phone with a USB data cable or a Bluetooth connection.

These instructions are for iTunes version 10.2.1 which you can download for free from With iTunes installed and your music either imported from a CD or downloaded from the iTunes store, here are the steps to create a free ring tone:

1. Configure the iTunes mp3 convertor

Open iTunes and click the Preferences menu (Tools -- Preferences on Windows).

Click Import Settings.

Change the Import Using option to MP3 Encoder.

Click OK to save your changes, and OK one more time to exit the Settings screen.

2. Make an MP3 version of your song

Right-click on the song in iTunes and select Create MP3 Version from the pop-up menu.

This will create a copy of the song and save it in MP3 format.

NOTE: Do not select "Create Ringtone", as this option will charge your account, and also only works with songs you have purchased through the iTunes store.

3. Change the song length to 30 seconds

You should now see a second copy of the song. Right-click on the second copy (the new one) and click Get Info from the popup menu.

Click the Options tab and set the Stop Time to 0:30 for 30 seconds.

Upload the ringtone to your phone using a usb data cable or Bluetooth

Sync iTunes to an External Hard-Drive

Question: I saw your article on how to copy music to an ipod, but is it possible to point the ipod to an external portable drive, so that it finds music files there instead of from the main hard drive?

Answer: Since iPods get their music by syncing with iTunes, you'll need to either 1) tell iTunes to store music files on your portable external hard drive instead of your regular drive, or 2) import music files from your external drive into iTunes.

Option 1: Tell iTunes where to store music files

Open iTunes and select Edit -- Preferences. Then click the Advanced tab where you'll find the iTunes Music folder location.

Click the Change button and choose a folder on your external hard drive (you might want to create one first if you want files to be stored in a particular folder on the new drive).

If you want all of your music files to be moved over from your main drive to the external drive, then make sure the Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library option is checked.

Option 2: Import music into iTunes from an external hard drive

If you already have music on a portable hard drive, and just want to get them into iTunes so you can sync up and get those songs on your ipod, then you can just drag and drop those music files onto iTunes.

You can also use the File -- Add Folder to Library menu in iTunes, choose a music folder on your portable drive, and iTunes will add those to your library.

If you uncheck the Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library option, which is on this same tab shown above, then iTunes will leave the files on your external drive.

Make Free Ringtones for your iPhone

With the iPhone's built-in iPod music player, you'd think it would be easy to select a music file and set it as your default ringtone, or as a custom ringtone for one of your contacts. But as you've probably already discovered, it doesn't work that way.

Sure, you can right-click on a music file that you've purchased from iTunes and select "Create Ringtone", but you'll be charged another 99 cents for the conversion. Not cool, imho.

Fortunately, iTunes has everything you need to create your own custom ringtones from music you already own, and without paying any money. Here's how to do it using iTunes 8.0.2 (will also work with earlier versions, but the screens and menu names might be slightly different):

1. Configure iTunes to convert music to AAC format

AAC is the standard ringtone music file format, and you tell iTunes to use this format by configuring it's Import Settings (the same settings you use when importing music from a CD).

Open iTunes and select the "Edit" >> "Preferences" menu.

Click the "Import Settings" button and choose "AAC Format".

2. Trim the song length

Music files that are converted to ringtone format will not be recognized by your iPhone if they're longer than 35 seconds.

Select the song in iTunes that you want to convert to a ringtone, and select "Get Info" from the pop-up menu. Select the "Options" tab and change the Stop Time to 0:35.

This step must be completed before attempting the next step, or the file length will be too long.

3. Convert the song to AAC format

Right-click on the song in iTunes, and select "Create AAC Version".

iTunes will create a copy of this song in AAC format, but it will be trimmed to 35 seconds.

iTunes Privacy

Question: My wife doesn't like my iTunes playlist and she is always complaining about the music I listen to. We share a computer. Is there any way I can hide my music list or restrict her from accessing it?

Answer: (this question is waiting for an answer. If you know the answer, please feel free to use the comment form below and be sure to leave your name and a link to your website, so I can give you credit for your answer)

How to legally remove DRM-protection from iTunes music

Question: I have music that I bought from iTunes that I can't play on my blackberry, or even on my computer with Windows Media Player. Is there a way around this limitation? I mean, I paid for this stuff, so I should be able to play it outside of just iTunes!

Answer: I completely agree with you. If you paid for music, then you shouldn't be limited to playing it in on just your one computer running iTunes (in my opinion anyway).

When you buy songs from the iTunes store, it downloads them to your computer in .m4a or .m4p format. You won't be able to play those songs anywhere else because they have DRM protection built into the music files.

It turns out that there are two legal ways to remove DRM-protection from music purchased from iTunes, so you can play them on other music players like Windows Media Player, WinAMP, etc.

Let's start with the hard-but-free way first, and then we'll cover the easy-and-affordable way.

Approach 1: Make backup CDs using iTunes and then import the CDs back into iTunes.

With this approach, you'll need a recordable CD or DVD for each album that you want to convert. Plug in the CD-R into your CD burner, select the album in iTunes, and choose the File -- Library -- Back up to Disc menu in iTunes 8 (used to be File -- Backup to Disc in older versions, but now the menu is hidden under the Library menu in version 8 and greater).

Once the backup process has finished, then eject the CD-R, put it back into the CD burner, and then import the songs back into iTunes.

Be sure to configure iTunes to use MP3 encoding when importing songs, which will make sure that it imports them into mp3 format that will run on other music players.

Approach 2 (recommended): Convert DRM-protected songs directly to mp3 format using Aimersoft.

How to back up your iPod

Question: I just lost my ipod that had a ton of songs on it. So now I have to buy those songs all over again and load them on my new ipod! Is there a way for me to backup these songs I'm buying, so that if my ipod goes belly up again then I won't lose my music investment?

Answer: Wow, sorry to hear that you lost all those tunes - that can be really expensive!

iTunes does have a built-in backup feature, but it requires you to use a recordable CD for each album. You can access this feature by selecting the songs you want to back up, and then selecting the "File" - "Back Up To Disc" menu in iTunes.

That'll convert your mp3 songs to audio format that you can play from a CD or DVD player, but you'll burn through a LOT of discs for several gigs of music files that live on most ipods.

A more ideal solution would be to back up all of your ipod music to a single location on your computer, and preferably an external hard drive.

MediaPilot has a slick backup feature that lets you backup all of your ipod music to a single location on your hard drive. No recordable CDs or DVDs are needed with this approach either.

Here's how it works.

  1. Plug your ipod into your computer using the regular data cable, which should start itunes.
  2. Download a copy of MediaPilot, install it and run it on your system.
  3. Select the Tools - iPod File Backup menu.
  4. Choose a backup folder location and identify how you'd like the backup folders to be organized.