.M4R File Extension

iPhone Ringtone

Developer Apple
4.0  |  72 Votes
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What is an M4R file?

An M4R file is a custom iPhone ringtone that plays back during an incoming call. It is similar to an .M4A file as it stores audio data encoded with the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codec in the MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4) multimedia container format. Before Apple discontinued iTunes, iPhone users often downloaded M4R files from the media player and then transferred them to an iPhone when the phone was synced with the computer via iTunes.

More Information

Screenshot of a .m4r file in VideoLAN VLC media player 3
M4R file open in VideoLAN VLC media player 3

Apple introduced the M4R format in 2007 to store audio played back by an iPhone during an incoming call. While users primarily downloaded and transferred M4R files with iTunes before Apple discontinued it, they could also manually transfer M4R files on their computer to their connected iPhone with a third-party file manager. After transferring an M4R file to their phone, they can set it as the ringtone on their iPhone by selecting Settings → Sounds & Haptics → Ringtone.

Additionally, users could create M4R files with iTunes, but they also may create them with third-party software programs or download them from the Internet. M4R files not created with iTunes most likely do not include copyright protection.

NOTE: M4R stands for "MPEG-4 Ringtone."

How to open an M4R file

You can open M4R files with various media players, including Microsoft Media Player in Windows, Apple QuickTime Player in macOS, and VideoLAN VLC media player. iTunes can also play M4R files, but Apple no longer develops the software.

If iTunes created the M4R file, it is protected by copyright and is likely not playable. However, if a third-party program created the M4R file, it is not copyright protected.

How to convert an M4R file

Various audio players and editors, including VideoLAN VLC media player and Adobe Audition, can convert M4R files to other audio formats.

For example, VLC media player can convert M4R audio to the following formats:

  • .MP3 - MP3 Audio
  • .OGG - Ogg Vorbis Audio
  • .FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec
  • .WAV - WAVE Audio

Programs that open M4R files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the iPhone Ringtone file format and Mac, Windows, and Linux apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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