GarageBand

Last modified
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Category

Description of App

GarageBand turns your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses. They sound and play like their counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument. Enjoy a full range of Smart Instruments that make you sound like a pro — even if you’ve never played a note before. Plug an electric guitar into your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and play through classic amps and stompbox effects. Use the built-in microphone or a guitar to record, or capture any performance. Then mix up to eight tracks to create a song you can share.

Play your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch like a musical instrument

  • Perform on dozens of musical instruments on the innovative Multi-Touch keyboard
  • Tap out beats from the seat of acoustic and electronic drum kits
  • Recreate legendary guitar rigs with 9 amps and 10 stompbox effects 
  • Record your voice using the built-in microphone, and apply fun sound effects 
  • Use the Sampler to create an instrument from sounds you record, then play them on a keyboard

Sound like a virtuoso with Smart Instruments

  • Tap chords to instantly create keyboard grooves with the Smart Keyboard
  • Strum chords on acoustic and electric Smart Guitars, or trigger fingerpicking patterns for popular chords 
  • Groove with an onscreen electric or upright Smart Bass by tapping on chords
  • Drag drum instruments onto a grid to create your own beats with the Smart Drums

Create a song anywhere you go

  • Arrange and mix your song with up to eight tracks using Touch Instruments, audio recordings, and loops
  • Trim and place musical regions exactly where you want them to play
  • Use the Mixer to fine-tune each track’s volume – solo or mute any track, or adjust pan, reverb, and echo 
  • Use over 250 professionally prerecorded loops as a backing band to your song

Share your songs

  • Email songs right from GarageBand (AAC)
  • Export your song and add it to the iTunes library on your Mac or PC 
  • Send a project to your Mac and open it in GarageBand to continue refining your song

Version

1.1

Free or Paid

Paid

Apple Watch Support

Not Known

Device(s) App Was Tested On

iPad

Accessibility Comments

AppleVis Editor Note: the comments below refer to version 1.0 of this app. The accessibility and usability ratings for this app have since been amended to reflect changes in version 1.1. See comments further down this page for information on improved accessibility.

Original comments on version 1.0 posted by Esther: The initial startup screen come up in landscape mode and is mostly not responsive to touch. There is an annoucement of "Instruments" and "Keyboard", and playing an onscreen keyboard with piano, organ, and synth sounds". If you toggle VoiceOver off, and tap on the screen. you can get the app to come up with a keyboard, with keys along the bottom part of the screen (in landscape mode). After going to the Apple Web site for the Garageband iPad app at: http://www.apple.com/ipad/from-the-app-store/garageband.html and selecting the watch the Garageband videolink, I was able to make some more progress (on the original iPad), but it's still hard going. The first screen is for instrument selection, but these don't get announced, because you can't scroll to them. (Try flicking right or left and tapping on the screen to get to these with VoiceOver off -- you have to get back to this with the "Instruments" button on one of the selected screens.) After listening to some of the demos, I could change some of the settings, but you basically have to know what you can do -- like change the keyboard to a double row keyboard -- outside of using the app. And I couldn't wokr out how to get into a compose mode or recording mode. Maybe somebody more experienced with Garageband on the Mac can get further with this. I'd advise reading about this in some articles or watching a YouTube video before trying to launch the app cold. While VoiceOver does read a number of the elements on the page, it's not clear where you've been dropped, since you get stuck at the first page (which is apparently instrument selection.)

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads most page elements.

Button Labeling

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability

There are some minor accessibility issues with this app, but they are easy to deal with.

Other Comments

Comments made in relation to version 1.0: This may be more usable for someone who is experienced with Garageband on the Mac, and its layout, but there are certainly plenty of accessibility issues to deal with. For comparison, I can do a lot more with ThumbJam on the iPad, including the instrument switching, configuring, and loop recording; and that app is a lot more intuitive to use than the current layout of Garageband on the iPad is for VoiceOver users. Perhaps this works better on the iPad 2.

Recommendations

2 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Piotr Machacz 4 years 10 months ago

Options

Comments

Submitted by Sean Terry on Friday, March 11, 2011

The garage band app is quite accessible on the Mac with voice over. I think it should be accessible on iOS devices ass well! Maybe in the future, we will some voice over improvements.

Submitted by Cory K on Friday, March 11, 2011

My thinking is that this would be nearly impossible to use with voiceover. This is because to activate something, you have to double tap it. With out voiceover, you just tap it. This would mean if you try to play a beet with voiceover, having to double tap would not allow you to keep that beet.

Cory, you may be correct that usage of the full range of Garageband on the iPad is nearly impossible with VoiceOver, but I can only expand on this by comparing this to my experience with using ThumbJam on the iPad (and iPod Touch) with VoiceOver, and also try to back up my earlier comments with examples. To play most musical instrument apps on the iPad or iPhone, you need to toggle off VoiceOver so that when you touch keys or strings, the notes play without requiring a double tap. However, it's possible to select the instrument and configure it before you toggle VoiceOver off. In GB on the iPad, although most (but not all) the buttons are labeled on the keyboard screen that you get onto if you just toggle VO off once GB launches and tap arround the screen, then toggle VO on again, I would hardly call them "Clearly labeled." For example, if you move your finger down from the time announcement at the center of the status menu at the top of the screen, you'll encounter a large button that VO announces as "Floating Display" button. Double tapping this gives the announcment, "Selected, keyboards, 1 of 6". This is pop up menu occupying the bottom part of the screen that lets you select either the type of keyboard instrument or change to another class of instrument. (Flicking right gives "Synth Classics, 2 of 6", "Synth Bass, 3 of 6", "Synth Leads, 4 of 6", "Synth Pads, 5 of 6", "FX, 6 of 6", and "Save" (all buttons). Further flicking right gives "Grand Piano", "Classical Grand", "Electric Piano", "Whirly", "Soul Organ", "Classic Rock Organ", "Heavy Metal Organ", and "Smooth Clav".) Now, it's gratifying to make progress and find that there are controls for setting up your instrument selection, but I doubt anyone would consider a button labeled "Floating Display" is something you would look for! Also, the way that programs like GigDaddy! and ThumbJam work, you can set a metronome beat with VoiceOver on. That beat is not heard when you record loops, even though you can hear it, and use it for your playing. At present I'm using the App Switcher to kill GB each time I exit the app, since I don't otherwise know what state it leaves the iPad in (e.g., could be trying to record). Esther

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yesterday Apple made garage band available for iPhone and iPod touch, I got it and can say it works very well. First of all, you do not need to turn off voiceover to play, because as soon as you focus the keyboard it will go into a sort of pass through, and as soon as yout ap the buttons at the top you will once again be able to move around the interface. Hints are provided where needed. The only thing I was unable to get to work is the Arpegiator, because when I went in to set it up the keyboard would disappear. Maybe I was doing something wrong. Over all though I believe the entry should be updated. If you have both an iPad and a smaller device, you can install it on tge snaller device for free. Also, I believe this works better than Thumb Jam accessibility wise, since I was successfully able to record and then playback a track - not something I could do in TJ.

Submitted by Casey on Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In reply to by AppleVis

Is there a guide for this, or would someone be willing to post one? I'd love to begin playing with it, but not sure how to get started?

Hi everyone. I can load up akeyboard, or drum set, or other things, but, I can't figure out how to switch instruments in each catagory. The guide would be awesome, especially from a blindness perspective. In the drum kit section, The top bar of options are not read, and so I have to restart VO for it to show. this doesn't happen with anything else. I would assume the resoning behind this is because the kit is layed out on screen.

When you picked like keyboards, etc, tap the toolbar home button. then Keep flicking and eventually you'll see a button saying the currently selected instrument, IE if you went into keyboards, by default it will say grand piano. tap that, and there you go. Tapping on a selection from here takes you back to the playing screen with the keyboard on the bottom. Some things I had difficulties with is dragging loops and setting the tempo, it seems very confusing. it says to tap the arrows to change the tempo but you don't see them when flicking, but if you find the tempo display at the top on the left and right ends you see a button called tap to change tempo. and that's what you need. It is still confusing though and if the tempo slider was adjustable with swipes (which it is visually) it'd be much easier.

Submitted by Sean Terry on Friday, November 4, 2011

In reply to by Piotr Machacz

Hi, Thanks a lot for the reply to change instruments. I just bought the IRig MIDI yesterday and am hoping to be able to hook up my keyboard up to the iPhone via midi and play the instruments with that.

Submitted by Carlos Taylor on Friday, November 4, 2011

I am amazed at how accessible this app seems to be on my iPhone. I'm confused on a couple of things. Has anyone figured out how to add a loop to a track? Also, how do I delete a track?

Submitted by Sean Terry on Monday, November 7, 2011

Hi, I am wondering if there are anymore instruments to download for the iOS version of GarageBand? I would love to be able to have strings, and violins and horns, and other things. Is this possible? If so, can someone please give a guide on how to get these instruments? Thanks a lot in advance.

Actually, it is more accessible than you might think. If you are playing an instrument, you will need to find the Home button on the top left of the screen. double tap this. then you will see a button on screen called instruments. double tap this button and you will be on the screen that shows you which type of instrument you are currently using. tap once on the part of the screen that shows the instrument type, wether it may be keyboard or drums. once that is selected, you will need to use 3 fingers to swipe either left or right. just like you would when moving from page to page on the main home screen of the device. once you use the swipe jesture, it will then anounce the new type of instrument you are using now. just double tap on this to open that type. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Friday, March 9, 2012

A couple days ago we got another garage band update which does improve on a couple things. The tempo adjust is now a slider and can be changed with your usual swipes. Smart drums seem to work a lot better also, and the "toolbar Home" button has a clearer label of "menu". I didn't test everything but other people do say everything had been fixed. I don't still quite get how loop dragging works, but I do like this update.

Submitted by Williams Cuevas on Saturday, March 31, 2012

In reply to by Carlos Taylor

Hi: to ad a loop in a track does not completelly accessible, but you must be on track view and press the loop button, to te next side to the record buton. Navigate in the loops and when you have a amassing loop for you song, doble tap and hold to drag the loop in the screen. Positioning the loop is not accessible for now, but calculating the position of the track you can do it with practising. the oter ting, deleting a track, locate the track to delete, and swipe your finger to te left to locate the mixer control for this track. Double tap and hold, and when you listen the three tone sound, release and tap again, and bingo!, the tracks menu, between this options, the delete option. Regards!

Submitted by Kelly Sapergia on Thursday, May 24, 2012

I purchased GarageBand a couple days ago, and so far am really enjoying it on my iPod Touch. Does anyone know if it's possible to do any editting on a song, such as if you need to replace a wrong note? I thought I read somewhere that there's a piano roll view or something, but so far haven't found anything like that.

Submitted by xenacat3 on Saturday, May 18, 2013

I've just started to use GarageBand on my iPhone 4S and I think everything would be really easy to use with VO if only the sliders worked in the standard way or came with alternative combo box type controls. I'm not a programmer, so I don't know how difficult this would be to implement but it would sure be exciting to sequence and record music just as easily as it is for those with sight. How do I go about contacting the makers of GarageBand, how do I explain what we need and what suggestions can I make to help them more easily change the things which will make this work for us? I'm not an activist by nature, but this is something that is important to me. Lisa

Hi: I sent an email to Apple to explain my issues with GarageBand along with lots of appreciation for the amount of accessibility built-in already and some uneducated suggestions on how it might be improved to work better with VO. I'd really appreciate it if anyone else who has tried to use this app would email them as well. Maybe if we can generate enough interest in making the app totally accessible Apple will listen? Lisa

Submitted by Ken Downey on Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In reply to by xenacat3

Definitely worth doing, but I'm starting to wonder if Apple will listen, since the Headings navigation issues with voiceover aren't even fixed yet after three updates.

Agreed there. since the government does not have to use garage band they don't' have to listen as it is not really a 508 app. I hope they can make at least the note editor on the mac side of things accessible. I've been emailing them about that for about 2 years now with no hope of them even doing it. I even submitted a ticket number through the dev website with no luck. and they normally reply to those. They have to.

Submitted by allseed on Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Aside from crashes when swiping across instrument categories, this app works beautifully. There are however one or two things that seem not quite right such as the instruments in the strings category. It is hard to select and deselect them or I'm doing something wrong which is a distinct possibility. I've used gb on iOS since it's inception and it's come a long way. I love the way it is spread out on the mini and the interface couldn't be more intuitive if it were built especially for vo users. It is one my best apps on the mini since I began using it a couple of months ago. This means that I was able to use it easily almost from the start while other apps were not as kind.

Does anyone know how to add multiple loops in garageband? If I have a loop in the first track, the second loop I try to add goes into track 1 as well. I'm trying to figure out how to get a second loop to get added to a second track so both loops can play simultaneously. Any ideas?

Submitted by rosey on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It would be nice if someone could do a podcast on the current version as I simply can not record and play my songs or anything.

Submitted by JeffB on Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hi is there a way I can add more Instromints? I've looked all over the app and haven't found such an option. I found how to change the Instromint but I would like to add more than the current app offers. Any help would be great!

I have forgotten but I think there is an in app purchase to get all the instruments. I don't think there is a way to add instruments other than what Apple provides. The latest update has included Chinese instruments and life Loops. Have you tried swiping left or right with three fingers when you are in the instruments category to see more types of instruments?

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, May 23, 2016

Cool that worked! I don't see any in app purchisses though.

Submitted by swordsmasher on Friday, June 10, 2016

Hello. Love this app. I do however have a question. Did they remove pitch correction and auto tuning? Or do they only have this in the mac version only.

Submitted by Lou Smith on Saturday, June 11, 2016

The only way I know of to add new instruments is to download audio units. Theses are are software synthesizers as I understand it. The process of downloading them is simple, but The problem here is that I can't figure out the process of how to add them using VO. I'm putting out inquiries to several sources on this subject, and I'll add to this site when I find out how to do this, assuming the process is accessible.

Submitted by Chester Thrash on Monday, October 24, 2016

I'd love to record for more than 5 or 10 minutes. How do you get it to record for as long as you'd like to record? Thanks! Have a really blessed day.

Submitted by Dhiraj borkar on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Hi esther!

The cote from your article is:
Use the Mixer to fine-tune each track’s volume – solo or mute any track, or adjust pan, reverb, and echo.
But These features are not accessible now. So can you share any tricks to solve this with voiceover. Thank you.

Submitted by Perry Simm on Friday, September 27, 2019

Hi!
Much to my delight, there has been an update to Garageband for iOS, and it seems to fix the problem that some of the knobs/sliders could not be manipulated with VoiceOver. I was able to change the volume, bass, treble, pan, and intensity of master effects on a track of my choosing in a controlled way.
Apple, it is very, very much appreciated.
Cheers Perry

From making the sound library easier to use, to helping editing be less of a chore with VoiceOver, Apple really double down on accessibility this time. There are definitely still issues, but it's at a point now where I can say if you need a good digital audio workstation for iOS, this is the one to choose. Also I posted in the Mac App Directory just a second ago, but GarageBand is free for everyone and has been for quite a while now. I think the entry should be updated to reflect this change. Would anyone like a podcast series on GarageBand? If so, I'd be more than happy to make a multipart series discussing many of the features of this app. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Saturday, September 28, 2019

I definitely would be. Have wanted to learn to use GB for a while, but find it overwhelming, even after doing some today at Apple sessions on it, in which I was the only person, and the creatives teaching them really tried to understand how VoiceOver interacts with it. I have to give them credit for that. It was interesting having a speghetti mess of wires comthe out the bottom of my iPhone so all three of us could hear what was going on. lol

Submitted by John Gurd on Saturday, September 28, 2019

I've been trying to figure out Garage Band on IOS for months. I've posted to several groups with little joy. I would very much welcome a podcast series on using Garage Band.

Submitted by Endarion on Saturday, September 28, 2019

Hi folks!
Now this is exceptionally great news!
@Zachary I'd love to listen to a podcast on how editing has improved. For example, I still have trouble moving a track right and left on the time axis, or trimming off the beginning or end, because of the following observations:
1. VoiceOver often has a hard time locating the little sizers to the left and right of a track which are used for trimming.
2. VoiceOver can land on those sizers even when they are not visible on screen.
3. When double-tapping and holding one of them, often instead of moving just the sizer, the entire track is moved.
4. VoiceOver gives very rudimentary and scattered feedback about where the track, or sizer, is currently located. Often it doesn't say anything for the entire time I move my finger, so I have to let go and then find out where I placed the object.
Can you please point out what I may be doing wrong, or create a little podcast demoing how it's supposed to work?
All the best,
Endarion

Submitted by Zachary on Saturday, September 28, 2019

All right I'll get on this soon. Hopefully I'll have one by either today or later on this week. I'm planning on starting from the basics, then slowly moving to more advanced topics. I am by no means an expert in using GarageBand, because I primarily use Logic on Mac for music production, but I'll try my best to be as thorough as possible. Unfortunately the recording quality for the podcasts won't be as good as I would like at the moment. I don't really have any mixer or equipment to record my phone directly, so you'll have to deal with the Mac internal microphone for now. I hope that's OK with everyone.

Submitted by Endarion on Saturday, September 28, 2019

Sure that's ok. I'm excited!

Submitted by Zachary on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Just a quick update to let everyone know that the podcast is still going to happen. It's going to take a little longer than expected, as I'm in college and pretty busy right now. Look for something to be up by either Friday or Saturday this week.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Did these podcasts ever happen? If so, where can they be found? Thanks.