How to create ringtones for your iPhone with GarageBand for Mac

This tutorial shows how easy it is to assemble cool ringtones using the Apple loop library supplied with GarageBand for Mac.

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When you open GarageBand, you’ll be presented with a menu on the left that offers you the choice of creating a new project or learning an instrument. In the main panel are the kind of projects available, including Keyboard Collection, Hip-Hop, Songwriter and Ringtone. Double-click the Ringtone icon and your new project page will appear.

Read next: Best free GarageBand for Mac plugins | Best Mac music software: alternatives to GarageBand

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Next Prev Step 1

When you open GarageBand, you’ll be presented with a menu on the left that offers you the choice of creating a new project or learning an instrument. In the main panel are the kind of projects available, including Keyboard Collection, Hip-Hop, Songwriter and Ringtone. Double-click the Ringtone icon and your new project page will appear.

Read next: Best free GarageBand for Mac plugins | Best Mac music software: alternatives to GarageBand

 

Step 2 of 10:

The project page has four main sections. Across the top is the control bar where you’ll find a display for settings such as the song’s key. To the left of it are the controls for recording, rewinding, and so on. The main left column shows the tracks you have in this project, the centre panel is where we’ll build the song, and the right panel houses the loop library.

 

Step 3 of 10:

The simplest way to build up an arrangement is by using the loops. Go to the right-hand column and click on one of the loops listed – for example, ‘44th Street Short’. You’ll hear a demo of it. This loop is a full tune, but others will be single instruments that can be put together with complementary loops to build a bigger song. To do this we need to use the Loop menu.

 

Step 4 of 10:

At the top of the loop panel is a grid of options. These are broken down into instruments and musical styles, acting as filters when selected. If you want rock drums, click on the Rock/Blues option, click All Drums. Now the list of loops in the library changes to reflect your choices. To clear the whole selection click Reset, or click the individual option you want to change.

 

Step 5 of 10:

Select Exotic Beat 1 from the list and drag it on to the main centre panel. GarageBand will create a track for it once you release the mouse button. The blue box on the track represents the loop. Drag the loop over to the left hand side so it’s at the beginning of the track. Press the space bar to hear it.

 

Step 6 of 10:

When listening to the loop, you probably heard a ticking. This is the metronome. Click the purple icon to turn it off. As Exotic Beat 1 is only four seconds long, you’ll want to increase it’s length. Position the cursor over the right edge of the loop and a circular arrow will appear. Drag it to your desired duration.

 

Step 7 of 10: Step 7

Now just drag different loops on to the main panel and build up a tune. Remember to reset the grid options, so you won’t just be looking at World Drums. Try out some percussion to add a bit of depth to the beat, then find a bassline. Most of the melodic instruments are automatically in the same key, so you won’t have to worry about learning your chord progressions.

 

Step 8 of 10:

For your tone to sound it’s best, you’ll want to balance the volumes of each track. This is easy as there are individual volume sliders for each one, found in the left hand panel. Drag the slider to increase or decrease any instrument that’s getting lost in the mix or sounds too dominant. Once you’re happy with the overall sound it’s time to get it on to your phone.

 

Step 9 of 10:

Go to File > Save as and name your creation. Go the Share menu and choose Ringtone to iTunes. You’ll be presented with a dialog box warning you that your Ringtone length needs to be adjusted. As long as you’ve stayed under the 40-second limit, click the Adjust button. GarageBand will bounce deposit your track in your iTunes library.

 

Step 10 of 10:

To find the file, open iTunes, select Tones from the Library section and you’ll see your ringtone. When your iPhone appears in your device menu, click on it, then select the Tones tab in the main pane. Ensure Sync Tones is on, your new one is selected, then click apply. Go to your iPhone and tap Settings > Sounds > Ringtones. Your new melody will be waiting for you.

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