Creating Ringtones with GarageBand On Your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch

Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Quick Notes

This guide was submitted when Garageband's interface was still based on iOS 7/8/9's iCloud Drive app, when the Files app never existed, and you had to have your files saved in iTunes File Sharing to access them.

This is no longer the case, so I've updated the guide based on its new interface.

Start of the Guide

In this guide, I'll be explaining the process of making ringtones using the GarageBand app.

No computer is necessary, and it can completely be done by only using 2GB, meaning GarageBand's estimated size.

To create ringtones, follow these steps.

  1. Launch GarageBand from your home screen.
  2. If you are not in the Recents tab already, select recents from the bottom left corner. Then, select the Add button.
  3. An instrument pannel expands. We want to make tracks in this demonstration, but you can certainly use Live Loops as your ringtone. Select tracks, then select an instrument with a three finger swipe left and right to cycle through the available ones.
  4. Play a melody or import a loop of your choice. To import a loop, refer to the Importing Loops/Audio Files section of the guide. For now, use the touch screen, to play out a melody/beat of your choice.
  5. Now, tap the Menu button at the top of the screen, and select My Songs. Do note, your recording, can only be less than or equal to 30 seconds. 8 bars at a BPM (Beats per Minute) of 110, the default BPM on GarageBand, takes up about 15 to 20 seconds of the ringtone.
  6. Now you are back in the Recents tab, at least I am going with the fact that you are in the Recents tab. Find your song, and use the rotor gesture to find Actions. Sjipe down until you hear Share, then double tap.
  7. In Share, there are three weirdly labeled buttons. Document Sharing Audio, Document Sharing Ringtone, and Ducument Sharing Project. Select Document Sharing Ringtone.
  8. From here, the steps are the same as in previous builds. Type the name of your ringtone in the text field, and hit Export. An alert should pop up on screen asking you what type of tone you want it to be. Selecting Ringtone will make that file a ringtone, and selecting Text Tone will make it a Text Tone.

Importing Loops/Audio Files

If you have GarageBand set up with iCloud, you should have two folders.

One is called GarageBand File Transfer, which keeps track of your imported Audio Files, and the other is called GarageBand, which is just for keeping track of your projects, in a .BAND format.

To import audio files, GarageBand File Transfer is the folder you must place the files in.

To do this, simply move the Audio Files, into GarageBand File Transfer. This can be done from the Files app, or using the option Save to Files if you are exporting from another app.

If exporting from another app, select On my iPhone/iPad/iPod, which will expand the folder. Then below it, select GarageBand File Transfer. Then at the top, select Add to confirm that the GarageBand File Transfer folder is precisely where you want to place your audio files.

To access the audio files, use the Loops option in the Tracks view, then select chudio Files. This will bring up all the files you've placed in the GarageBand File Transfer folder.

You can simply double tap and hold, then drag them to the left to import them.

If you have a file in a different location, such as GDrive or Dropbox, you can choose Browse Items from the Files App, at the bottom of the screen, and add Dropbox and Drive as one of your locations, then choose a file from their directories.


I hope this guide is helpful. If you have any questions regarding this guide or another post I've submitted, use my contact form on my profile page.


The article on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information.



Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, March 12, 2016

Thanks for this guide. It is very interesting. I will certainly be telling people about this. I had no idea that it could be done.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Saturday, March 12, 2016

In reply to by TJT 2001

My pleasure. smile
If there are any errors just post some comments and I will correct it.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, March 12, 2016

I've noticed that your guides are just getting more and more accurate. You are starting to sound very intelligent and knowledgeable. Well done.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Hello there,
From the time I wrote this guide, major changes have occured in Garageband's interface.
See how this is the case, I will have to edit and update the guide to match GarageBand's latest layout.
However, yes, indeed is possible to import sounds from iCloud Drive. You can do it with this method.
Previously in older GarageBand versions, you were required to place your file in iTunes File Sharing for it to show up in your library. Now, that's not the deal.
There is now a folder, in the Files app if you have GarageBand installed. It should be called 'GarageBand File Transfer'. Place any files you want to import into GarageBand directly in that folder.
To find the audio clip, open the instruments and live loops pannel at the top, select a desired instrument, and then scroll down to Tracks.
There should be a row that expands beneath your playback controls in the app. It displays your tracks, but above that, a Loops option is iminent.
Select the Loops option, and there are two tabs at the top of the screen. One is called Apple Loops, and the second is called Audio Files.
Select the second tab, which is Audio Files, and your audio file in the GarageBand Transfer folder should be present. If not, there is another method.
At the way bottom, a button is available, called Browse items from the files app.
Select this button and a files mini window will expand to full size, and you can select your file under the iCloud Drive folder. Then it should appear in GarageBand.
Hope this helps.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I'm assuming you're doing this from the GarageBand app?
If you are, you need to select a random instrument.
Once you have, select Tracks next to your playback controls. Then below the playback controls select Loops.
In Loops, as must select the Audio Files tab, to access the browse button. If not, Apple Loops will be displayed by default.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thank you, Tunmi. I don't really like most of the tones that come on the iPhone. So I will give this a try. Thank you so much for this guide!

Submitted by Ramy on Monday, April 11, 2022

I converted a 30 seconds file to m4a then renamed it to m4r.
i opened Garage band, but can not do anything, anything,
I tried the add, and i choose audio recording from instruments, but nothing happened,
is there an easy way to do so?