iTunes not recognizing ringtone
August 20, 2011 6:21 PM   Subscribe

iTunes is not recognizing ringtones.

I use iTunes in OS X. I recently bought a ringtone from the iTunes store to use on my iPhone; the ringtone is in my iTunes library, and iTunes recognizes it as a ringtone (its "kind" is "ringtone," and it is an .m4r file). But it's not showing up in the "Ringtones" folder in the iTunes library, so I am not able to get it onto my phone.

Thoughts on how to get iTunes to recognize this as a ringtone and move it into that folder so that I can sync it to my phone? (When I say "folder" I don't really mean "folder"--it's the section under the main "Library" where your things are sorted as movies, books, TV shows, music, podcasts, and so on.)
posted by not that girl to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As of iTunes 10 you can't purchase ringtones in iTunes (well, as you've found out, you can, but…)

If you go into the iTunes Store on your iPhone, sign in with your computer's iTunes account details, & choose "Purchased" down the bottom, you should be able to re-download the ringtone direct to your phone & use it.
posted by Pinback at 9:01 PM on August 20, 2011

Pinback, thank you. The Apple help forums agree with you. I still don't have my ringtone--there is no "purchased" at the bottom of iTunes on my iPhone. But at least I have been able to stop banging my head against one brick wall--on to the next one!
posted by not that girl at 6:10 AM on August 21, 2011

In case anyone comes here with a similar question: the problem turned out to be that the ringtone I purchased wasn't saved in the correct format, so iTunes and the phone didn't recognize it as a ringtone. It was the first ringtone I ever bought, so didn't recognize that it wasn't working right. I tried buying another ringtone via the phone, and as soon as I clicked "buy" was given the option to make it my default ringtone or assign it to a contact. If I'd ever done it before, I'd have recognized right away that something wasn't right with this one.

(Also, I eventually found my "purchased" button--it's an option under "downloads.")
posted by not that girl at 6:34 AM on August 21, 2011

Interesting … did you buy the first one from the 'ringtone' section of the iTunes store, or the normal music section? 'Cos it sounds like what you got was a 'ringtoneable' song*, and I thought they stopped selling those a couple of iTunes versions ago.

(* They used to - and maybe still do - sell full songs that could be converted to ringtones. The .m4 file contained additional metadata that said a) yes, you'd paid an extra tithe to the RIAA to allow you to use a crappy lo-fi copy up to 30 seconds long as a ringtone, and b) gave the start and end times for the clip to be used.

You paid your money, downloaded the song, then had to right-click and choose "Convert to ringtone" to generate the ringtone. AFAIK, they canned the idea of "ringtoneable songs" back around iTunes 8, and ditched the right-click menu option with iTunes 10.)

posted by Pinback at 1:50 PM on August 21, 2011

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