By John Gruber
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One frustration I have with the way iCloud backups work is that they don’t (at least for me?) seem to back up custom ringtones. So when I set up my iPhone X review unit, I restored from an iCloud backup of my personal iPhone 7. None of my custom ringtones — neither the ones I bought from iTunes nor the ones I created and installed manually — made it to the new phone.
Previously, you could copy these over by connecting the phone to iTunes over a USB cable. But iTunes 12.7 dropped support for managing things like ringtones and iOS apps. And searching the web for an answer to this gave me a long list of articles that were all outdated. This support document from Rogue Amoeba (whose audio editing app Fission is a great tool for creating your own ringtones) explains how to do it with iTunes 12.7 — and also tells you how to restore the tones you previously purchased from the iTunes Store.
Update: A few readers have chimed in to say that their custom ringtones do get backed up and restored by iCloud, so maybe there’s something wrong with my iCloud backup. But I’m not alone. I seem to recall running into this same problem every time I get a new iPhone. But even putting that aside, it seems to me that managing these ringtones is something iOS should be able to handle on its own — especially now that iOS has a Files app. There aren’t many things left you need to connect to a Mac or a PC to manage on iOS, but ringtones are one.
★ Wednesday, 1 November 2017