One of the simplest hacks prior to iPhone firmware 2.x and iTunes 7.7 was to create free custom ringtones for your iPhone.
A lot does not seem to have changed post iPhone firmware 2.x and iTunes 7.7 based on a step by step guide posted by theAppleBlog.
You check out the details of the ringtone hack after the jump.
This simple ringtone hack was first discovered by a Mac Rumors forums user almost a year back. It is based on the fact that iTunes differentiates a song file and a ringtone by the file extension. While we all know that the song file extension was AAC; the file extension for Ringtones is “̆R”.
So all you need to do is take an цa file which is DRM free and not more than 30 seconds, rename it to цr and add it to iTunes.
You can check out this step by step guide (courtesy theAppleBlog) to create free custom ringtones for your iPhone using iTunes:
1. In iTunes, right click on the song you are going to make into a ringer and select “Get Info.”
2. Go to the options tab and go down to the “Start Time” and “Stop Time” check boxes. Check both boxes and input the time you want your ringtone to start/stop. The ringtone has to be 30 seconds or less. Click OK when you’re done.
3. Right click on your newly “clipped” song and select “Convert Selection to AAC.” The song will be re-encoded using the start and stop times determined (If your menu item does not read “Convert Selection to AAC” and reads “Convert Slection to MP3″ (or some other format) please go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > Importing and change the “Import Using” drop down menu to “AAC Encoder”).
4. After the song is done encoding navigate to your iTunes Music folder, locate your song, and drag it to your desktop. After the song is on your desktop go back to iTunes and delete the clipped version from you iTunes library (It won’t delete it from your desktop, it will only remove it from iTunes).
5. Go back the song on your desktop and right click on your song and chose “Get info.” Go to the name and extension section and change the extension from .m4a to .m4r (or you can just change the extension right from your desktop)
6. After the extension is changed simply double click on the file to add it to your iTunes library under the ringtones section. Sync your phone with iTunes and you’re done!
Folks at theAppleBlog have tested this method and found it to work with iTunes 7.7.1 and iPhone firmware 2.0.1 so should work with both first generation iPhone and iPhone 3G.