Installing custom ringtones on iOS devices, with iTunes and Fission

With the introduction of iTunes 12.7 in September 2017, Apple drastically changed the way custom tones are handled. Removing the “Tones” section of your iTunes library broke the ability of apps like Fission to automatically add custom tones to your iOS devices. However, it is still possible to use iTunes to add custom tones to your iOS device.

To create custom tones on your iOS device with iTunes 12.7 and up, make sure you have version 2.4 or higher of our audio editor Fission, then follow these simple steps.

If you already have the ringtone file you wish to install, jump to step 3 below.

1. Create your ringtone in Fission.

Open your desired audio in Fission, then crop it down. The file must be 40 seconds or less in length, and you'll likely want a very short (1-2 second) file for texttones.

2. Select “Save as iPhone Ringtone”.

Fission will automatically save the custom tone to your Music folder (in ~/Music/Tones), and open that folder.

screenshot of where to open device

3. Navigate to your iOS device in iTunes, and click the Tones section.

screenshot of where to open device

4. Drag and drop the file into Tones.

iTunes should now sync the file directly over to your iOS device.

screenshot of dropping ringtone into iTunes

Once the file is on your iOS device, it's ready for use. Set the sound as your global ringtone or texttone in the Settings app (Sound section), assign it to a specific person in the Contacts app, or use it for alarms or timers in the Clock app.


Finding Old Tones on Your Mac and Storing Them for the Future

With iTunes 12.7 and up, your old Tones will no longer be visible in the iTunes UI. However, the files should still be stored on your Mac. You can likely find them in the <Ringtones> and <Tones> folders, inside your iTunes Music Library.

Because iTunes no longer saves new custom tones in its iTunes Music Library, we recommend manually saving a copy of these files on your Mac to ensure you have a backup of these files. Fission automatically saves your custom tones to your Music folder, in ~/Music/Tones, so you can simply keep them there.

Wait Until iTunes Is Not Syncing

We've seen some reports of issues with syncing tones to iOS devices as described above. It appears that if the device is in the process of syncing already, the sync may fail. For best results, wait until the device is idle in iTunes (as seen in the LCD at the top of the iTunes window), and then drop your tones onto the device's Tones tab.

Restoring Purchased Ringtones

Finally, if you previously purchased ringtones from Apple, you can re-download them directly to your iOS device. However, the control for this is rather hidden. Open up the Settings app on the iOS device, and tap the “Sounds & Hapticks” area. Tap any of the sound types, such as “Ringtone” or “Text Tone”, and you'll see this option:

The relevant control in iOS

Tap the “Download All Purchased Tones” option, and your previously purchased ringtones will be downloaded to the device.

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