I recently learned the easy and free way to create ringtones for a non-jailbroken iPhone. I know I’m behind the curve on this one but I’m sure there are others out there like me.
Each ringtone is actually just a short (30-second or less) sound file that is saved in Apple’s proprietary ACC format with a “m4r” extension, as opposed to the original extension “m4a”. The iPhone automatically recognizes any files in it’s library with this extension as a ringtone.
So how do you prep and convert a standard music file into a ringtone? Here is a link to two sites that provide a clear outline of this process. Now you are free to rock whatever ringtone you want on your iPhone.
Here is a link to a post on the Lifehacker blog regarding how to use GarageBand (version 4.1.1 or newer) to create a ringtone from existing music files. If you have GarageBand this is definitely the better and easier way to do this. Link: http://lifehacker.com/334073/create-custom-iphone-ringtones-the-free-and-apple-way
Using iTunes Only
Here is the alternate way to accomplish the same thing. In this scenario you don’t need GarageBand – you do it all through iTunes. The one important limitation is that this will only work on unprotected music files such as mp3s. Link: http://theappleblog.com/2008/08/07/free-custom-iphone-ringtones-using-only-itunes/