Apple GarageBand For iOS Update Moves It Into Ableton Live Territory


Apple today announced a major update to GarageBand for iOS that introduces multiple new features, including Live Loops, automation curves, 32 simultaneous track recording, Audio Unit support and polyphonic aftertouch.

Live Loops seems to take some inspiration from Ableton Live’s Session View – bringing grid-based loop sequencing to GarageBand:


Here’s what they have to say about Live Loops

Live Loops makes it fun and easy to create electronic music, no turntables or specialized hardware required. Simply tap cells and columns in the grid to trigger musical loops, and then build your own original arrangements and combinations of sounds.

You can even use Remix FX to add creative, DJ-style transitions with Multi-Touch gestures, or just by tilting or moving around your iOS device.

Live Loops makes it easy for anyone to create music by simply tapping cells and columns in a visual grid to trigger different looped instruments and samples. The loops can be performed, arranged and remixed live, and GarageBand automatically keeps all the beats in sync with perfect time and pitch.

To get you started, Live Loops comes with a library of Apple-designed loop templates in a variety of genres including EDM, Hip Hop, Dubstep and Rock, or you can create your own loops from scratch.

GarageBand 2.1 for iOS also includes the new Drummer feature, with nine EDM and acoustic virtual session drummers, as well as an expanded selection of amps for bass players.

Advanced GarageBand users can now create even more dynamic and polished sounding songs using new automation features, controls recording and a new simple EQ.

Here’s what’s new in GarageBand for iOS 2.1:

  • Use Live Loops to create music by triggering instrument loops and DJ-style effects in real time using Multi-Touch gestures*
  • Add a virtual Drummer to your song who takes direction and performs realistic acoustic & electronic drum grooves
  • Record adjustments of any Touch Instrument control knob in real time
  • Create and edit automation curves to control the volume of any track
  • Shape the sound of a Touch Instrument or audio recording using Simple EQ and Compressor
  • Plug in a bass guitar and play through vintage and modern bass amp rigs
  • Adds over 1,200 new Apple Loops and sounds
  • Record up to 32 tracks simultaneously**
  • Use third-party instrument apps in your song with Audio Unit Extensions**
  • Directly import or export GarageBand projects using iCloud Drive
  • Use 3D Touch to play keyboard sounds with polyphonic aftertouch****

Pricing & Availability

GarageBand 2.1 for iOS is bundled free with new iOS devices 32GB and larger, is available as a free upgrade for existing users with compatible iOS 9 devices or later, and is available to everyone else for $4.99 via the App Store.

20 thoughts on “Apple GarageBand For iOS Update Moves It Into Ableton Live Territory

  1. wow. i thought Ableton should have done this a while ago, Ableton for iOS. if Ableton still does it will be amazing. what a fun time to be in electronic music.

    1. I’m hoping some, and assuming so, logic is considered a loop based daw so it would make sense, I’d hope they lay it out a little better than this though, this is a step in the right direction, but still not enough to keep me from moving to ableton atm

        1. Maybe (hopefully) this is a step in the right direction. Mainstage just doesn’t cut it. If they add this to logic, it would make it much more appealing as a live tool…

        1. iSEM is pretty much it right now, but it works like a GB touch instrument, which is fantastic. Animoog, please! Or at least iMini…

          As for AUE effects- being that this is Garageband, I guess we’ll have to wait another 2 years for that feature.

  2. For years I’ve been composing in Logic, then laboriously snipping up my stems in Live so I can trigger them on stage with a Launchpad.

    I would be first in line to buy the next Logic if I could just take it with me to do the same thing.

    But hey, this is iOS Garage Band. Baby steps.


    “What’s New in Version 10.2.1
    This update contains numerous fixes and enhancements including:
    • New multi-threading feature improves performance when processing multiple live channels
    • Faster playback responsiveness when previewing Apple Loops and performing region edits
    • Flex Pitch editing can be performed within the Tracks area using a Piano Roll interface
    • A collection of 30 plug-ins have been redesigned to add Retina support and improve usability
    • Numerous improvements to Alchemy including Apple Loops support and 11 new spectral effects
    • Improved reliability when downloading additional content
    • Additional content can be downloaded directly from the Sound Library and Apple Loops browsers
    • Drum Machine Designer supports drag and drop of multiple audio files
    • The Step Editor can automatically create lanes to display all MIDI events in a region
    • New export option allows you to to create stems from multiple selected tracks
    • Improved VoiceOver support”

    So, no Live Loops in Logic Pro X just yet…

  4. Just when you think Apple could seize an opportunity to add some grown up features to its iOS DAW, it decides to double-dumb-down.

    1. I have Ableton, although it is Ableton 9 Intro. Kind of wish I’d gotten Logic. I feel like the session view makes it really easy to be repetitive. Certainly there are people doing more complex things with this tool,but for myself I prefer the linear format more. Maybe it’s the result of starting in the tape age.

      1. I started out with logic, though I work with ableton now. I’ve made leaps and bounds in knowledge and skill with Ableton (Live 9 Suite) but the session view has destroyed my creativity. Logic was nice in that it taught me the basics of DAW frameworks and also how to start learning (at a VERY amateur level) digital synthesis and music production… but ableton is so much more powerful when you’re wanting to sketch out ideas. I’ve heard that Bitwig is supposed to be a happy marriage between linear- and clip-based DAWs. Cheers!

      2. then you should use the arrangement view instead of the session view. session view is nice if you want to make some sketches fast and develop it further. i in my case learned ableton working 90% of the time in the session view. it just happened. the first 3 months i was so overwhelmed of the possibilities cause it was my first contact ever with a daw. i did record it`s output to my mp3 player cause i thought i didn`t know what i am doing…. Back to the subject,.. I experiment in session view. when i have a good basis i launch the scenes in a row and a track is almost finished. for fine adjustments i jump into arrangement view. if you like “traditional” daw workflow than just use the arrangement view. who said that ableton is non linear? thats just incorrect

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