Fred's iPhone and iPad Tips

iPhone 5SThis is a compendium of tips on using the Apple iPhone and iPad that I have gleaned elsewhere or by personal experience.  Remember, for tips that are new to you, it is best if you TRY THEM as you read this to help you learn/remember them.  It is a work in progress, so check back later for more!  Last updated:  04/24/2017.

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Tricks and Tips


One of the great things about the iPhone is the number of FREE applications you can easily add to it.  (There are also some fee applications to choose from, but so many great ones are free.)  To find applications to add, simply tap the App Store icon.  Here are my favorites:

iPad Considerations


Create Your Own Ringtones

There are several methods for creating your own ringtones, so this is just one of them (from a CNET video, with detailed clarification by yours truly!).  It seems complicated, but I believe you will find the steps clearly documented.  (You can also find a detailed video on YouTube.)

  1. Start iTunes.
  2. Find an unprotected song you wish to excerpt for a ringtone.  In other words, it can't have DRM copyright protection, such as an old purchase from iTunes.  A track copied from a CD would be fine, and most recent iTunes purchases should work.
  3. Play the song in iTunes, watching the elapsed time indicator.  Note the exact start and end times for the segment you wish to extract.  For instance, you may like a musical riff which starts 21 seconds into the song and ends 28 seconds in.  (I think the maximum length you can use for a ringtone is 30 seconds.  Remember that whatever you specify will repeat.)
  4. Right-click the song title and choose Get Info from the menu.  Using the Options tab, enter the Start Time and Stop Time you just determined in the previous step.  Close the dialog box.  Play the song to make sure you have excerpted exactly what you want.
  5. Go back and adjust the Start and Stop times as necessary until you get the excerpt exactly right.  You can specify fractions of a second in the following manner:  0:13.4, for 13.4 seconds into the song.  By temporarily setting iTunes Control / Repeat option to One, you can hear how the excerpt will sound on your iPhone as it loops.  Play with those tenths of a second to get the loop to start "on the beat"!
  6. With the song still selected, click Advanced in the iTunes menu bar and choose Create AAC Version (formerly Convert Selection to ACC).  This will create a second, excerpted version of the same song right after the first one.  Note that the shorter duration is reflected in the Time column.
  7. Before you forget it, redo the Get Info step on the ORIGINAL file to UNCHECK the Start and Stop times.  Write them down first, if you are afraid you might have to redo your creation.
  8. Now take a moment to think how you want your new ringtone titledMaking sure you have selected the shortened version of the song, open Get Info again, select the Info tab, and change the Name of the song, if you wish.  Alternatively, you can do this later, after it becomes a ringtone.
  9. Resize the iTunes window, if necessary, to make is less than full size.  Minimize other applications such that at least a portion of the desktop shows through.
  10. Before we go any further, you need to decide where to store your ringtone(s).  iTunes simply points to a location, so you need to save your ringtones somewhere.  The original CNET tip suggests using the Desktop, but that is hardly a good location for file storage, so I suggest creating (if it doesn't exist already) a Ringtones subdirectory in your Music directory on your computer.  The next step references whatever directory you create.
  11. Open your Ringtones subdirectory.
  12. Drag (with mouse button one held down) the newly created song excerpt to this subdirectory.
  13. Right-click the song in the directory and select Rename.
  14. Change the file extension from m4a to m4r.  (r = Ringtone, get it?!)  Do NOT change the rest of the filename, even though it may appear different from what you see in iTunes.
  15. Back in iTunes, delete the excerpted AAC (m4a) version, moving it to the recycle bin.  This is essential for the technique to work!  Do not leave it in the iTunes library.
  16. Now, drag the newly renamed song (now a ringtone, based on the m4r extension) from your Ringtones directory back to iTunes, dropping it in the left column on the word LIBRARY.  This will cause a Ringtones category (now called Tones) to be created (if it doesn't exist already), and your new ringtone will be there, ready to sync with your iPhone on the next connection, after which it will appear in the iPhone Ringtones list.  (You may be able to double-click the ringtone file in your folder and it will automatically get placed in iTunes.)
  17. SYNC your iPhone.
  18. Whew, you're done!  You should find your new ringtone available on your iPhone for assignment as the default ringtone or to individual callers.  If you don't find it, look back a few steps here and reread the comment about deleting the m4a file.


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