Who doesn’t enjoy custom ringtones on their iPhone. In the past, we’ve outlined how to create free custom iPhone ringtones using Garage Band for Mac, which is still a terrific option. For those of you with a PC or who wants the flexibility to create ringtones on your iPhone, there are plenty of good apps in the App Store. Today we break them down the top apps and provide you with the best iPhone ringtone app.

Ringtonium ($0.99)
The first thing you’ll notice about this app is the amazing looking retina display icon. Don’t discount the icon as having value. We all want our apps to look great on our iPhone and it also shows the developer has an attention to detail or at least we hope that’s the case.

Best iPhone ringtone app

When you first launch the app, you’ll be greeted by an attractive, but frankly busy interface. The elements are nicely designed, but it can be daunting at first. There is a method to the developers madness here.

iPhone Ringtone app

Using the ‘+’ sign at the top right, you will find yourself browsing your music collection for the song you are going to turn into a ringtone. If you want to record something from the external microphone, that’s also an option. For this demo, I’ve chosen the very excellent ‘Stay Frosty’ from Van Halen’s new record “A Different Kind of Truth”.


The interface is a combination of playback and editing controls. The maximum length of your ringtone needs to be less then 40 seconds. The wavform shows the portion of your song which will be edited down for your ringtone.

Tip: This does not have to be 40 seconds. You can make it shorter and enable the loop option.

Selecting the bottom left icon off the circle, puts you in the mode to scroll from one end of the track to the other. This is helpful to pinpoint where in the song you plan on editing. Tap in the waveform and then click on that button again to bring back the 40 second sliders.

Editing Tools In Ringtonium
Where this app really shines is in the ability to find the perfect clip. As you move either end of the slider, you can view the seconds readout in the middle. Tap on either side of the slider to adjust your ringtone. The outter edges of the wheel also provide for tremendous control of your edits. Work between the play button and either the slider bars or wheel for the utmost control of your edits.

Moving the next tab will bring up the FX options. Here you can easily add Fade In, Fade Out, Pitch, Reverse, Flange and Echo.

Tip: If you recorded a voice when you first started, these effects should work nicely in achieving the desired effect.

Bonus Tip: There are no previews when browsing, so I’d advise that you use the Music app to play snippets before entering the ringtone creation phase.

Download ringtones

When you’ve finalized your edits, select the final tab and click on the ‘Download’ icon. Your ringtone is now processed and is ready to transfer to your computer, where it will require some minor legwork to get it on your iPhone.

Ringtone Designer Pro ($0.99)
While offering much of the same functionality or workflow, Ringtone Designer Pro offers a much more minimalistic approach to creating ringtones. Select your song and you are presented with sliders. Once you reach 40 seconds, the clip adjusts accordingly, so that you don’t go over.

Ringtone Designer Pro

Effects are limited to a Fade feature, available in the checkbox within your slider. Again, here the developer is successful in keeping things simple. Press the giant play button at any time to replay your ringtone.

Once you are finished with your masterpiece, press the ‘Save’ button. That’s it, it’s now available in iTunes via file sharing.

Free custom ringtones

This app excels at creating ringtones with minimal fuss and zero learning curve.

How Ringtone Apps Work
Before we get started, you should have an understanding of how ringtone apps for iPhone work. They allow you to create a ringtone from any song on your iPhone. The resulting ringtone isn’t immediately available for use. The next time you connect your iPhone, you’ll need to do the following:

File sharing iTunes

  1. Within iTunes, select the Apps tab.
  2. Scroll down to File Sharing and select the ringtone app you utilized to create a custom tone. In the column adjacent, you’ll see associated documents. These are your ringtones. Click on the Save to… and save them somewhere that is easily accessible.
  3. Click on Tones tab and make sure you have Sync Tones checked.
  4. Tip: Selected tones allows you to select only the ringtones you’d like synced to your iPhone.
  5. Click on the Tones option in the left hand column.
  6. Open the folder where you saved your ringtones and drag them into the ‘Tones’ window.
  7. If you selected Sync all, these will be synced to your iPhone during your next sync.
Sync ringtones iPhone

How to change contact ringtone on iPhone
Here’s where the fun starts.

  1. Open the ‘Contacts’ app on your iPhone. Another option is to open the Phone app and select the Contacts tab at the bottom.
  2. Select the contact for which you’d like to change the ringtone.
  3. Press the ‘Edit’ button at the top right.
  4. Scroll down to ringtone and select the custom ringtone you created.

Tip: You can also customize the Text Tone for this contact, which is just below the Ringtone option.

The iPhone ringtone apps we tested all performed the task and incoming calls are so much more enjoyable when your favorite songs are attached to your friends and family. They also offer very useful help videos, should you get stick. While the simplistic interface and approach of Ringtone Designer Pro does a fantastic job, the editing tools make it difficult to pinpoint your edits. It doesn’t allow you to skip to the end of your ringtone during playback, instead requiring you listen to it in its entirety after each edit. While I appreciate the get in and get out functionality, I want more from my ringtone app if it’s going to be deemed the best of the best.

The absolute best iPhone ringtone app crown goes to Ringtonium. Despite the overwhelming UI elements at first launch, you’ll have an immense amount of satisfaction from being able to perform meticulous edits of your ringtones with pinpoint accuracy. In the end, it’s the ringtone app you want on your iPhone.