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iPhone Ringtones and You

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 10/3/2009

You know the iPhone has some great ringtone capabilities, but are you making use of all of them? Chances are that you aren't - find out how to get great ringtones inside.

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    Don't Leave it on Vibrate

    Ah ringtones. I remember when those little sounds that came out of phones were just in their infant stages, making the most primordial of beeps and boops to let you know someone was calling.

    Today, those same ringtones have cascaded into a never-ending pile of different sounds. Today, ringtones for the iPhone can be songs, they can be sounds, or a combination of both. The reality is, if it has an mp3 file, or if it can be turned into an mp3 file, you can make it into a ringtone.

    That being said, let's talk about the three best ways to go about this.

    Default Ringtones

    f you're like me, and you couldn't care less about making the latest Kanye song your ringtone, you can stick with the default ringtones that are available inside the iPhone from the moment you purchased it. Let's face it - if your iPhone is in vibrate mode 24/7 (like mine is), you don't really need any special ringtones, especially considering that you'll probably never hear it. The list is rather long, and even though the ringtones are all sounds, not songs, they should serve the purpose you need them to rather well.

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    Songs as Ringtones

    There are a variety of ways to go about this, but even though it costs a little extra, I would spring for the iTunes supported way of doing this. It allows you to select exactly how much of the song you want as your ringtone, and at what point to start and stop it. Furthermore, the list of available songs to use comes directly out of iTunes, so you can go ahead and pick any one of the songs. There is a small caveat though - you can only use songs that come directly from your purchases on iTunes. Therefore, don't expect to be able to use your DRM-free songs for this purpose.

    If you don't want to pay for songs on iTunes, there is the option of using iTunes and other free applications to create free custom iPhone ringtones.

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    Cydia Ringtones

    Cydia is the final option for your ringtone needs. There are certain apps that allow you to play custom-built ringtones from the ground up. Using Cydia will allow you to use any pre-made DRM-free ringtones - the open source, jailbroken phone, will play back any ringtone your heart desires. However, without some technical know-how, making a ringtone with the Cydia apps won't be easy at all. For the users who are noobies to the whole process, I highly recommend using the iTunes method to make the ringtones.

    Overall, I like sticking with the regular beeps-and-boops ringtones, but if you're a more advanced user, I recommend using the Cydia applications, and if you're an initiate, the iTunes method will more than cover any songs you'd want to use as ringtones. Remember, ringtones are for those who want to hear them - so make sure that the song you pick will be one that you've liked for a while, otherwise that's another 2 bucks that Apple gets when you get tired of the song and decide to make a new one.