Create Custom SMS Tones Part 2: May the Text Tones Be with You.

This article is a continuation of an earlier tutorial I wrote on how to create and add custom ring tones and text tones to your iPhone.

In that previous article, I introduced the methods you could use to add custom ring tones, or to overwrite the standard text tones on your phone if you wanted to push the boundaries of what your phone was designed to do. Click here to review that tutorial.

I mentioned there were more advanced techniques for adding custom text tones, and a reader asked me to explain these in detail.

This tutorial explains the method of how to add custom text tones to your iPhone while preserving all of your phone’s standard tones, how to add more than 6 tones, and how to rotate between all of your custom tones.

The key to this method is Winterboard. Winterboard is a theming tool that you can install on your iPhone once it’s jailbroken to control the look, feel, and in this case, the sound of your phone. In order to manage your text tones as I’ve suggested, I will instruct you on how to create a basic Winterboard theme during this tutorial.

I decided to provide some working files for this project. For trained Jedi or those who want to feel more in touch with the Force, feel free to preview and download the two Light Saber Text Tones below.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Feel free to download the two text tone files you’ll require HERE.

There are some instructions in this tutorial that depend on knowledge of how to jailbreak your phone, and how to convert and create custom audio files using iTunes. If you are unsure of how to do anything below, I would suggest you review my previous article. It should help answer any technical questions about the steps outlined below.

How to Add Custom Text Tones as a Winterboard Theme

1. Jailbreak your phone. This is a requirement, as you need access to Winterboard and to your phone’s root files, which are only available once your phone is jailbroken.

2. Install Winterboard on your phone. If you have already done so, continue to the next step. Otherwise, read the note below.

To install Winterboard, you’ll need to use Cydia. Your jailbroken phone should have been installed with it during the jailbreak. Open Cydia and search for the Winterboard app. Choose to install it in your phone. It will take a moment to install, and your phone will restart.

3. Select the audio file that you want to use to create your custom tones. Text tones should only be about 1-5 seconds long.

If you are using the Lightsaber tones I provided, jump down to step 10. They have already been modified as needed, and you will simply need to upload them to your phone using DiskAid to add these custom tones.

4. Convert your audio file to an .AIFF file format.

5. Rename your converted .AIFF audio file “sms-received1″.

Note that you can replace the “1″ in the file name with any of the digits from 1-6. The digits 1-6 refer to the 6 standard text message tones that come preinstalled on your phone. The number you use in your file name will correspond to which of the standard tones is replaced in your phone once this tutorial is complete. I suggest you choose your least favourite tone to replace.

For simplicity’s sake, the remainder of this tutorial will refer to this file as “sms-received1″. If you’ve chosen a different number, simply substitute your choice whenever you see “sms-received1″.

6. Change the file extension of your renamed file to “.caf”. You can do so by simply altering the file’s extension in Windows Explorer or Mac’s Finder from “.aiff” to “.caf”.

Note that PCs often hide file extensions. You’ll have to change your folder settings to view file extensions if you don’t see “.aiff” in your file name.

7. Create a new folder on your hard drive. Call it something related to your text tones. If you are using my Lightsaber tones provided, you may want to call it “Lightsaber Tone”.

For simplicity’s sake, the remainder of this tutorial will refer to this new folder as “Lightsaber Tone”. If you’ve chosen a different name, simply substitute your folder name for all the following steps that refer to the “Lightsaber Tone” folder.

8. Create a new folder within the Lightsaber Tone folder called “ULSounds”. Capitalization is important.

9. Add your renamed text tone audio file to this folder. The folder path and file name should now look like this: Lightsaber Tone > ULSounds > sms-received1.caf

10. Download and install the program DiskAid. It’s essentially an iPhone file explorer. It will let you manage the contents of your phone and all of your iPhone’s system files. Tether your iPhone to your computer with its USB cable once it’s installed.

You can download DiskAid here.

11. Now that your phone is jailbroken with Winterboard installed, your iPhone has folders to store Winterboard themes. Winterboard will recognize the audio file and the folders that you just created as a new theme, and will use your new text tone in place of Apple’s default tones once you activate this new theme in your phone.

Copy the folder you just created to the following location on your phone using DiskAid: Root > Library > Themes

The completed file path for your new text tone should now look like the following in Diskaid: Root > Library > Themes > Lightsaber Tone > ULSounds > sms-received1.caf

12. The next steps take place on your phone. Go to: Settings > Winterboard > Select Themes from your iPhone dashboard. Notice that Lightsaber Tone, or the top level folder name you created, is now a theme in Winterboard. Select it if it isn’t already active.

13. Respring or restart your iPhone and test the tone you just replaced.

14. Congratulations! You’ve added a new text tone as a custom Winterboard Theme.

If you ever want to return to your phone’s default tones, you simply need to go back into Winterboard to deactivate the custom theme you created, and your phone will ignore your tone in lieu of the default Apple text tones.

Advanced Theme Techniques

So far, this tutorial has taught you how to add a custom text tone while presevering the default sounds. But what if you wanted to add multiple text tones, and rotate between sets?

Read through the following advanced tips to learn how to really take advantage of Winterboard themes to manage your text tones.

15. Add multiple tones to a theme. If you followed my tutorial exactly, you’ve created a new theme that contains only one text tone. However, remember that every theme supports up to six tones. You could follow the same steps above to create five additional tones and add them to the “ULSounds” folder you created to replace all 6 default tones on your phone for your theme. You just have to ensure that you name all the audio files properly, by naming them “sms-received#.caf” and numbering each 1-6 where I’ve placed the hash “#” symbol.

For example, I provided two Lightsaber text tones at the beginning of this tutorial. One called Saber Twirl and another called Darth Clash. I could convert these to text tones and rename them “sms-received1.caf” and “sms-received2.caf” and add both to the ULSounds folder in my Lightsaber Tone theme. Whenever I activate this theme in Winterboard from now on, text tones 1 and 2 on my phone will now by Lightsaber sound effects.

16. Group similar tones together and add more than 6 tones. You can repeat the steps of this tutorial as many times as you like to create multiple themes. As long as you create a new top level folder and give it a name unique from any other Winterboard theme, Winterboard will treat the files you put in this folder as separate, giving you the option to group tones together into parent themes, or add more than six tones divided across multiple themes.

For example, I just created the “Lightsaber Tone” theme containing two custom tones. I could also create a “Blaster Tone” theme, and add up to six tones of rebel and imperial blaster sounds and rotate between the two.

17. Combine themes. Finally, remember that Winterboard actually combines the themes you activate on your phone. This gives you the option of mixing and matching multiple themes for various effects on your phone.

For example, let’s say I replaced text tone 1 in my Lightsaber Tone theme, and text tone 6 in my Blaster Tone theme, and then activated both. Winterboard would blend the two themes, so that both tones would be active.

Note, however, that if there is ever a conflict between two active themes, Winterboard will always give priority to the theme that closest to the top of the list of available themes that you find in your Winterboard settings. You can rearrange the order of your themes from within this menu to give priority to themes as you see fit.