Save Money and be Cool with Custom Ringtones and OS X

Are you into downloading ringtones and hearing your newest favorite song whenever someone calls you? It can get pretty expensive if you download a bunch of them. Your cell company loves this because its extra money for them..

Did you know that instead of paying for ringtones, you can customize your own and send them to your phone for free? With the magic of Bluetooth and OS X, you can put just about any song or sound you want onto your phone.

Source your material:

There’s plenty of places to find material. It’s really up to your imagination and taste. Basically, if Audacity can load it, you can use it.

If you want to use something you downloaded from the iTunes store, and it is a protected file that you purchased, the following is a solution from the Audacity Wiki: “If your files are in .M4P or a protected .AAC format there are two main solutions: either burn them to an audio CD in iTunes, then extract the CD tracks to .WAV or .AIFF in iTunes; or play the files in iTunes and record them.”

Detailed instructions on getting iTunes files into Audacity can also be found on their wiki page.

Preparing your custom ringtone:

Once you’ve chosen your ringtone, load it into Audacity and edit it if necessary. I would suggest trimming it to under 30 seconds. My phone only has about 2 mb of storage space (yes, it is a cheap phone). Anything large may not fit on your phone as well. When you have finished, choose “Export as WAV..” and save it to your Desktop.

The next part of preparing your ringtone is easy. Load the .WAV file you just saved into iTunes and choose “Convert to .MP3″ from the Advanced menu. If iTunes wants to convert to .AAC then you will have to change this in the Preferences. It’s located in the Advanced tab, underneath “Importing”.

Note: If you chose Save instead of Export, the file will be in a format that only Audacity can read. That’s why we choose Export. Also, you may be tempted to skip a step and choose “Export as MP3″. This will only work if you have the library file installed.

Enabling Bluetooth and pairing:

Now that we have a ringtone ready to go, let’s get it onto your phone.

1. Enable Bluetooth on your phone (This will vary depending on the brand and model of your phone)

Note: Make sure the phone is set to discoverable so that the computer will easily see it.

2. Go to System Preferences and choose “Bluetooth”. If it is off, turn it on.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

3. Click on “Set up New Device…”.

4. The Bluetooth Setup Assistant will open up.

5. Choose “Mobile Phone” for the device.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

6. Your Mac will search for the Bluetooth device and get the name of it if you named it.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

7. Once OS X finds your phone, Highlight it and choose next.

8. The Pairing process will begin. You will be shown a numeric passcode.

9. Looking at your phone, it will now ask if you would like to Accept the pairing with your Mac.

10. Click Accept on your phone and enter the passcode.

11. The Bluetooth Assistant will now ask if you want to use iSync and share internet connections.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

12. Uncheck both boxes and click Next.

13. Congratulations! You’ve paired your phone with your MacBook! Click quit and exit the assistant.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

Sending to your phone:

You are now prepared to send your rington to your mobile phone. You can also use this process to download pictures from your phone, store data and erase any crap that was already on there from the factory.

1. Go to System Preferences and choose “Bluetooth”.

2. Your phone will be in the menu on the left. Highlight it.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

3. Click on the little gear wheel on the lower left and choose “Browse Device”.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

4. OS X will connect to your phone and you can now browse through its file structure.

5. Choose the Tones folder and then choose Ringtones.

Custom ringtones with Bluetooth and OS X

Note: This will vary depending on the model and manufacturer of your phone.

6. Click “Send” to upload your ringtone.

7. Locate the file on your desktop (if you saved it there).

8. Click OK and your ringtone will be uploaded.

9. When you are done, close the box and quit System Preferences.

Note: For security reasons, when you are finished, its a good idea to turn off Bluetooth on your phone and Mac.

10. On your phone, change the ringtone and you will see the name of your new ringtone in the menu.

11. Choose that ringtone and you are finished.

That’s about it. Once you set this all up and get the hang of it, you’ll never spend a dollar (or more) per ringtone again! Also remember you can choose “Get” instead of “Send” when looking at the file system (Step 4). This will download any files off of your phone. If you have a phone with a decent amount of storage, you can put a good amount of stuff on there. Just remember, Bluetooth transfers are not exactly speedy. If its a large file it may take a while.

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