Apple Updates GarageBand & Offers It For Free On Mac & iOS


Apple today released updates to its iWorks productivity apps and iLife creativity apps. All apps have been updated to 64-bit, are integrated with iCloud, and offer hundreds of new features. Apple also announced that both iWork and iLife are now free with the purchase of every new Mac or iOS device.

“This is the biggest day for apps in Apple’s history,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “These new versions deliver seamless experiences across devices that you can’’ find anywhere else and are packed with great features like iMovie Theater, Drummer and a new unified file format for iWork documents across all your devices.”

Of special interest for musicians is the new GarageBand.

GarageBand for Mac has received its biggest update ever, according to Apple, with a  new look, new Sound Library, and new features, like Drummer and Smart Controls.

Drummer is a virtual session player, created using some of the industry’s top session drummers and recording engineers. Each ‘drummer’ has a custom kit, delivers his or her own signature sound, and takes your direction. You control everything from the groove to the drums they play on using easy visual controls.

GarageBand for iOS has been updated to match the look and feel of iOS 7 and taps the power of 64-bit to bring musicians a full recording studio with up to 32 tracks.

With iOS 7 Inter-App Audio you can record third-party music apps right into GarageBand, and AirDrop allows you to wirelessly share your song projects with other iOS users so you can work on songs together. iCloud is designed to let you keep your song projects up to date across your devices, and users can start a song on iOS and pick up where they left off using GarageBand for Mac.

Pricing & Availability

iWork and iLife for Mac come free with every new Mac purchase. Existing users running Mavericks can update their apps for free from the Mac App Store. iWork and iLife for iOS are available for free from the App Store for any new device running iOS 7, and are also available as free updates for existing users. GarageBand for Mac and iOS are free for all OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 users. Additional GarageBand instruments and sounds are available for a one-time in-app purchase of $4.99 for each platform.

19 thoughts on “Apple Updates GarageBand & Offers It For Free On Mac & iOS

  1. when i was 14 i started using garage band to make music and i ran than thing into the ground! did’nt have automation back then so you had to create multiple instances of the same track with an effect or parameter slightly adjusted…

    I think this is excellent as an opportunity to get people into hobby music production

  2. It would be easy to make a list of all the things that GarageBand doesn’t do, but at the end of it if you can’t make interesting music in GarageBand, you probably never going to make interest music!

    Making it free for everyone it’s got a Mac or an iPhone is an awesome move on Apple’s part!

  3. Okay, I loaded both on an iPhone 4s and an iPad 2. Here’s my initial take:

    1) Yay, 16 tracks!
    2) Boo, NO AUTOMATION!
    3) If you already own it and are upgrading there are no new instruments or effects as far as I can tell. I haven’t come across anything for IAP, so I am assuming that the IAP mentioned only brings it up to the GB you already own. Too bad, I was looking forward to some additional synth stuff with more capabilities/editability.
    4) iOS-ified to a certain extent (mainly menus and icons, but not the rest of the skeuomorphic stuff)
    5) It is iOS& ONLY now
    6) Supports IAA apparently but haven’t tried it out since I don’t want to update my main iPad to iOS7

    Other than that it’s not really anything to write home about. I am VERY disappointed that there is no automation. WIll have to wait for Cubasis since they probably won’t update GB again for another 2 years.

  4. Just downloaded osX Mavericks and updated Garageband.. and basically all my VST’s and audio units doesn’t work anymore..
    I really hope the developers of the VST’s/audio units comes out with updates in order to make things work asap.
    I do have Logic that still works fine.. so I can still make music with my VST’s, but Im a huge fan of Garageband and I do like the new features, so it would be nice to have everything working as normal again asap 🙂

    1. “I really hope the developers of the VST’s/audio units comes out with updates in order to make things work asap.”

      And why wouldn’t Apple update its software to work with a standard plugin? Apple are the ones who made changes in GB making it incompatible with VST’s. Why does every devs in the world would need to update their VST just so it can work with Apple’s software?

  5. OK, just tested out the IAA. It does work really nicely, but without even being able to do a simple fade in/out per track or per region it’s problematic.

    1. I’m actually pretty impressed with the IAA implementation in the GarageBand for iOS update. It was so simple and worked exactly as I thought it should.

  6. I got questions before I update.

    1. If you own Logic Pro X, are those the same drummers in the new garageband…and if they are shouldn’t they be added to GB.
    2. Do I lose all my old instruments that Apple made for previous garageband’s that were extras you had to pay for?
    3. If you bought Logic Pro X, are the in-app purchases in the new garageband just some stuff from Logic Pro X?

  7. Serious ‘what if?’ scenario question here.
    What would happen if I…

    * start a project on iOS Garage Band
    (sync to iCloud)
    * Import/open in OSX Logic Pro X (not OSX Garage Band)
    * Edit a piano roll or something (no heavy editing or linking to non-standard plugins)
    * Save
    (sync to iCloud)
    * open in iOS Garage Band

    Would the file survive the journey without corruption?

    1. When you open a GarageBand file in Logic, your Mac will create a new Logic file, in which your changes would be saved. Logic does not handle the GarageBand file itself – other than “importing” it and giving you a new Logic file instead. (Unless something has changed in how Logic X behaves…)

      1. Nothing has changed since last version, as you can see in the Logic X user manual page 273 (
        “GarageBand projects
        You can open a GarageBand project in Logic Pro just as you would open a Logic Pro project. The
        GarageBand project translates 1:1 into Logic Pro:
        • Logic Pro automatically creates the required number, and type, of tracks to mirror those used
        in the GarageBand project.
        • The project uses the tempo of the GarageBand project.
        • The initial key signature is set in accordance with the project key of the GarageBand project.
        • Software instrument parts are played by GarageBand instruments in Logic Pro. GarageBand
        instruments are automatically installed with Logic Pro. Any mixing data and effects (plus their
        settings) used by software instruments or Apple Loops–based tracks in GarageBand are also
        imported into Logic Pro.
        • The channel strip settings of GarageBand translate 1:1 into Logic Pro—with the nice
        exception that you can now access the individual plug-ins that are inserted into a GarageBand
        channel strip.
        • All channel strip objects are routed to Stereo Out (default stereo output pair), and immediately
        play out according to the Stereo Output preference chosen in the Logic Pro > Preferences >
        Audio > I/O Assignments > Output pane.
        • The two bus effects of GarageBand (Reverb and Echo) are also translated when opened in
        Logic Pro. They are replaced by the PlatinumVerb and Echo on busses 1 and 2.
        Once the GarageBand project is loaded into Logic Pro, you can freely change parts, mixing levels,
        and plug-in parameters as in any Logic Pro project.
        Note: You cannot open Logic Pro projects in GarageBand, nor can you export a Logic Pro project
        in a format that can be read by GarageBand (except as an audio file).”

        1. Henry –
          Nice find! Thanks for posting that.
          You also reminded me that the manual for LPX is MASSIVE and holds the answer to just about any question someone could come up with. Thanks again!

    1. You can get AU instruments but they are hidden!!!

      This tip is from Sarmoung from the apple forum:-

      If you click on New Track and create Software Instrument. For me, that default is Classic Electric Piano. With that new track selected, select Smart Controls button to bring up that window which shows a slider for Keyboard Sensitivity and also 8 (very skeumorphic…) knobs for tone, drive and so on.

      But what about AUs? Drag the top of that Smart Control window up – and, oh, suddenly the AU options are there. They need to be pulled up into view.

      1. So, that does help, as far as revealing where to find my AU’s…but many of them fail to load/work, though they were working fine in the last version of GB. Any tracks I have recorded with those AU’s seem to be screwed. Maybe Apple is trying to push me to buy Logic.

  8. So this is odd. I have yet to update my iPad to iOS 7, which meant that when I downloaded GarageBand I was told to update or install an old version. I chose the latter option, and the installation went smoothly. Upon opening the app, I was delighted to discover that I had what I suspect to be all of the instruments offered, without paying the $4.99 fee to access them. On an iOS 7 device running the free GarageBand, instruments such as the Soul Organ were greyed out and inaccessible; clearly something is different between versions of GarageBand. Was the previous edition not based around the IAP model? I had never used it until today.

    I will be interested to see if these instruments are still available once I update the operating system, but for now I’m going to jam out and revel in getting something I wasn’t supposed to. If you’re using iOS 6 as well, I’d be interested to hear if this is the case for anyone else.

  9. How would I get the older version for my iPad? Any ideas?

    When I try to download from the App Store today it says that I have to update my OS to 7. I really don’t want to do that yet.

  10. Wow this update looks a lot like Logic Pro X, I’d like to see a list of the features not available … paid a good amount for that program. That slick new graphic interface for the EQ is way better looking then the logic one…

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