How to Transfer Ringtone to iPhone from macOS Big Sur & Catalina with Finder

The iPhone default ringtones can be quite dull sometimes. Therefore, it’s a common need for iPhone users to have customized ringtones. The most popular way to get your personalized ringtones on your iPhone is to transfer them from a Mac. In the previous macOS versions, you need to do this via iTunes, but the process is quite complicated. However, with Apple killing off iTunes in macOS Catalina and Big Sur, you can transfer your ringtone from your Mac to an iPhone using Finder. Let’s us show you how in this article.

How To Locate Your Ringtones Library On macOS Catalina/Big Sur

In the older version of macOS, you can access your ringtones library via iTunes’s Tones section. Starting with macOS Catalina, iTunes has been replaced by the new Music app and the Sync feature in the new Finder app. In fact, the Sync feature in Finder does not have a section for Tones and there isn’t any ‘Tones’ folder in the Music app either. But you can still browse your Music and iTunes libraries on macOS Catalina/Big Sur by following these steps:

  • Open Finder on your Mac
  • Click on Go at the top of the window
  • Select “Go To Folder..
  • Now type ~/Music into the command bar to open the Music library on your Mac
  • You will see your GarageBand, iTunes, and Music folders there.

Now you know how to locate your ringtones on the new macOS versions, it’s time to transfer them to your phone.

Transfer Your Ringtones from macOS Catalina & Big Sur to Your iPhone

The process of transferring custom ringtones on macOS Big Sur and Catalina to iPhone is so simple. Basically what you need to do is drag and drop. Here is how:

  • Connect your iPhone with your Mac via a Lightning-to-USB cable.
  • Launch Finder on your Mac.
  • You will see your iPhone under the Locations section in the left sidebar.
  • Click on your iPhone’s name to launch the sync windows.
  • You may see a prompt notification on your iPhone. Tap Trust and enter your iPhone passcode if you are asked to do so.
  • Back to the Finder window, enable the Manually Manage Music, Movies, and TV Shows option on the General tab.
  • Now open another Finder window.
  • Locate the ringtone files that you want to transfer to your iPhone. The file should be in m4r format and has 30 sec of duration. You can find some free ringtones here.
  • Now simply drag and drop those files to your iPhone in the other Finder window.
Transfer Ringtone to iPhone from macOS Big Sur & Catalina

If it’s not working, make sure you drag and drop your .m4r to the Finder’s General tab.

Use Your Custom Ringtones on Your iPhone

If you went through all those steps correctly, your ringtones are now ready on your iPhone. Go to Settings > Sound & Haptics > Ringtone. You will see the new custom tones at the top of the list. Now you can use them for general ringtones, specific contacts ringtones, Alarm, or Alert.

Transfer Ringtone to iPhone from macOS Big Sur & Catalina

If you want to delete one of the custom ringtones, simply swipe right on their name and select Delete.

And that’s how you transfer your ringtone from macOS Big Sur & Catalina to your iPhone via Finder. If you have any trouble in the process, please let us know in the comments!

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About Simon Kroft

1 thought on “How to Transfer Ringtone to iPhone from macOS Big Sur & Catalina with Finder”


    (1) Must be less than 30 seconds

    (2) Cannot have tags or metadata attached

    (3) Title with no spaces like: Bunny_Ringtone.m4r

    (4) Drag and drop that file into your iPhone’s GENERAL tab in Finder.

    Literally nothing else works. Follow all those steps or nothing will happen.

    Good luck.

    [email protected]


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