GarageBand - Make music for free on Apple devices

What is GarageBand on Apple Mac, iPhone and iPad? You may be asking yourself this question if you have never had anything to do with music production or are new to the Apple cosmos. If you want to learn more about the app and its functions, then you've come to the right place. In the following I will show you some background information, interesting information and tips for using the GarageBand app for macOS, iOS and iPadOS. Do you have any comments or questions of your own? Then feel free to leave a comment on the topic!

What is GarageBand on Mac, iPhone and iPad? What can you do with the free app for music production and audio projects? Here you will find answers to these and other questions.

What is GarageBand on Mac, iPhone and iPad? What can you do with the free app for music production and audio projects? Here you will find answers to these and other questions.

What is Apple GarageBand?

Generally speaking, GarageBand is a proprietary digital music production app offered on Apple systems. But that's not all, because unlike Logic Pro, GarageBand is free. So you can play in electronic instruments for free, record your own instruments, use MIDI functions and effects, record vocals or other audio, use plugins and much more. GarageBand is constantly being equipped with sounds, loops, instruments, presets, effects and the like. Features are improved or added with each new version for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 

How Logic became the GarageBand and Logic Pro apps

In 2002, Apple bought the company Emagic, which was based in Rellingen near Hamburg and specialized in the manufacture of hardware and software for music production. This also adopted the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) called Logic. Today will Logic Pro offered as a professional Apple solution for music production. With fewer functions, but still very extensive, the GarageBand app has been available since 2004, which was part of the iLife package in between. It has been one of the preinstalled apps on macOS since 2014.

GarageBand for macOS on Apple Mac

The Apple Mac is probably where most of the opportunities to use GarageBand arise. Different devices (microphone, instruments, MIDI keyboard, etc.) can be connected here at the same time and used in addition to the mouse and keyboard. It's also worth using a large screen to keep an eye on audio tracks, sound libraries, virtual keyboards, file directories, and so on. 

GarageBand for Mac has been a preinstalled app on macOS for years. The Digital Audio Workstation is free, but can be used extremely extensively.

GarageBand for Mac has been a preinstalled app on macOS for years. The Digital Audio Workstation is free, but can be used extremely extensively.

You can either import everything yourself or have virtual instruments played with individual specifications (e.g. different drum sets). In addition, pre-recorded sounds and loops and much more are available. Here is some useful information about the program:

  • Apple website for GarageBand for macOS: Info page
  • Download GarageBand from the Mac App Store: Call here
  • Currently required macOS version: at least 11.5 Big Sur

GarageBand for iPhone and iPad

I personally use GarageBand not only on the MacBook Pro, but also sometimes on the iPhone for fun. On the small display you have to deal with less overview, because playing music, using a keyboard, selecting sounds or loops, editing sound tracks and so on fill the screen individually. In addition, the use of external hardware is limited by the iPhone's Lightning connector alone. 

GarageBand for iPhone and iPad is free on the App Store. Numerous functions help when creating songs on the go - just as expandable on the Mac with plugins and instruments.

GarageBand for iPhone and iPad is free on the App Store. Numerous functions help when creating songs on the go - just as expandable on the Mac with plugins and instruments.

The whole thing looks a bit clearer on the iPad and thanks to the USB-C connection on modern models it can also be used more extensively. If you plan on using GarageBand for songs while using mobile devices, I would recommend the iPad over the iPhone. Functionally, however, both versions are designed.

  • Apple website for GarageBand for iOS / iPadOS: Info page
  • Download GarageBand from the App Store: Call here
  • Currently required system: at least iOS 15 / iPadOS 15

Extend GarageBand with plugins and instruments

Both on the Mac and on the iPhone or iPad, you can expand the many functions of GarageBand or replace them with other offers. I recently introduced you to a synthesizer and effects plugin: mela 2. At the end of 2020, Jens also tested a semi-virtual drum kit that you can use with GarageBand, also and especially with the mobile versions on iPhone and iPad: Testing Senstroke sensors – drums without drums, but on cushions and bananas. You can find more plugins and devices via GarageBand itself, the search function in the App Store and of course search engines.

Information correct as of April 5, 2022

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