Apple recently released GarageBand 1.3 for iOS. Among the music-creation program’s new features are the ability to import songs from your Music library, and to play or record with GarageBand while you’re using other apps. However, there’s a less heralded new option that’s worth mentioning: the ability to create and save custom ringtones for your iPhone or iPad on those devices. Here’s how it works.

First, create a jingle in GarageBand. You’ll want your track to be no longer than 30 seconds; the app will truncate your tune at the 30-second mark anyway. If your song is shorter, your ringtone will play it as a loop. Check out our series of GarageBand tutorials from pages 44 onwards for advice.

Once you’re happy with your new song, tap to go back into your My Songs list of recordings. (On the iPhone, you can tap the disclosure triangle at the upper-left corner to find My Songs; on the iPad, tap the My Songs button.) From the My Songs list, tap and hold on your recording, or tap the Edit button at the upper right; your songs will start jiggling. Next, tap to select your song if necessary, and then tap the Share icon at the upper left.

Scroll down in the subsequent screen and choose Ringtone. On the Export Ringtone screen, provide a name for your jingle. When you continue, GarageBand should tell you the ringtone was successfully exported and also that a backup of your song will be available through iTunes File Sharing. If you tap OK, you can find the ringtone in your iOS device’s sound settings, but GarageBand also offers
a shortcut: the Use Sounds As button.

Tap ‘Ringtone’ to turn your recording into an alert tone 

After you tap that button, you can select whether to use your freshly recorded song as a Standard Ringtone or a Standard Text Tone (for SMS and iMessage notifications, new email alerts, or anything else that can sound a system notification of some sort). Alternatively, you can choose to assign the song to a specific contact. 

If you go down the latter route, you still get to select whether to use the song as a ringtone or text tone after choosing which contact to assign it to.

Making Ringtones From Songs You Already Own

Apple sells ringtones of popular music in the iTunes Store. Of course, with GarageBand’s new feature set, you can make your own ringtone from a song you own, right on your iOS device, without paying any extra.

You can compose your jingle easily in GarageBand. Just make sure your tune is no longer than 30 seconds

If you use iTunes Match, first you’ll need to make sure that the song in question is downloaded to your iOS device, which is a bit trickier in iOS 6 – you will have to download the album or a playlist that contains the song.

Make sure to set the recording window to Automatic, to guarantee the song you import doesn’t get cut off at the default eight bars. Tap the Loops browser, tap the Music tab, find the song you’re after, then tap and hold it to add it to your GarageBand project.

Finally, trim the piece of the song you would like to use as a ringtone, and then export it by following the above steps. Now you’re good to go and 99p richer to boot.