So I recently received an email from my stepmother Arlene who asks,
I have a mp3 ringtone, I got for free. I downloaded it to my itunes and want to send it to my phone. Is there anyway to do it. I have been searching on line and found out that itunes will only send to iphones? Is that true?
The answer is, “Yes, it is [mostly] true that iTunes only sends/syncs ringtones with iPhones.” However, nothing prevents you from taking that MP3 out of iTunes and still putting it on your phone.
Now, I must admit, before we start the process here, I’m flying a little blind for one reason: I have no idea what type of cell phone we’re putting this on, and because there are 58 brands of cellular manufacturers and 2,894 individual cell phones available in the US*, I cannot tell you exactly how to load the MP3 onto your phone.
*Note: figures may not be entirely accurate. Please keep in mind that 74% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
So, here we go:
- Make sure that the phone you have is new enough to accommodate MP3 ringtones (if you’re stuck in the MIDI or polyphonic era of cellphones, you’re kinda SOL here). Locate the “How to put a ringtone on my phone” guide which I’m sure was shipped as a stand-alone quickstart quide with your phone.**
- Download the MP3 you want in iTunes.
- If you have WindowsXP or 2000, locate your song in: “C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\Ringtones” or if Windows Vista (shudder), Win7, or Win8, locate it in C:\Users\<username>\Music\iTunes\Ringtones. If you can’t find it there, it’s entirely possible that you tweaked your settings of either your Music library (or storage) or the location of where iTunes is keeping its data. In that case, do a search, and if that proves to be confusing, call your children. That’s why you had them, might as well use them. If you’re using a Mac, that’s neat and you’re better than everyone else. Your data can be found in the iTunes folder in your <username> home directory.
- Once you’ve found that song, you want to either note where its location is, or copy (don’t move unless you don’t want it in iTunes any more) to your desktop, or other easy place for you to access it.
- This step is where it gets a little fuzzy… you’ll need to run the software on your computer that allows you to put your MP3 ringtone on your phone. Sometimes there is no software, and it’s just as simple as connecting your phone and dragging it to the appropriate drive that mounts on your computer. They’re not all this simple however***.
**Note: There may not actually be a standalone quickstart guide which came with your phone.
***Note: Ever play Mousetrap when you were a kid? Some of the phones out there now have a ringtone system which is attached to a Rube Goldberg device, so don’t be cranky if it seems unnecessarily complicated to get the ringtone from your computer to your phone. Sorry, this is the age of [stupid] technology we live in. This is also what happens when we let bureaucrats decide how user interfaces and user flows should be designed (“just fill out form 99-C, bring two forms of ID which are outdated and no one has access to anymore, and wait 4-6 weeks for a confirmation fax to upload your ringtone. Alternatively, we have a carrier pigeon service, and a backup system which involves smoke signals, ancient Inuit symbols, and ritual endangered red panda sacrifice…”).
The sad, cold truth is that not every phone can have MP3 ringtones on it. Some phones were actually “locked” by the manufacturer or network vendor to prevent you from loading ringtones which you didn’t purchase from their “Ringtonez-R-Us” store. I cannot write a definitive guide on how to do this for every cell phone out there; well, I mean, I can’t do it realistically (although I’m sure if I ever end up in prison and still have an internet connection I could spend a decade or two writing the definitive guide to every cell phone).
However, the main point of this nearly pointless blogpiece is to tell you that the most important thing to do if you’re not using an iPhone with iTunes is to get your ringtone out of iTunes. As long as you are trying to use an Apple product (iTunes), they are going to try to get you to purchase another Apple product (iPhone 72-pi VR-4 Twin Turbo GS). If you get your MP3 out of iTunes and away from iTunes’ evil dictator-management style, you can set it free and it can enjoy a healthy life of ringtone democracy****.
****Note: Really, all your ringtone wants is for its vote to count, and to not have to sit in the back of the bus. Please support Proposition Operation-Liberate-Ringtone by calling your state senator. If they’ve never heard of this Proposition, assume that they secretly work for Apple.