Apple dropped a surprise on us with its GarageBand 1.4 update for iOS because it added support for a third-party app called Audiobus. What makes Audiobus so cool is that it lets you link together audio from different apps, which means that you can now record from an app into GarageBand on your iPhone or iPad, and it's fairly easy to do.
To start, you'll need GarageBand for iOS, Audiobus, and at least one other Audiobus-compatible app. I'll be using NodeBeat for the iPhone because it's easy to use even if you aren't a musician. Here's what to do:
- Launch Audiobus, then select the app you want to make music in from the Input button. Now select GarageBand from the Output button. The middle button lets you select audio filters from Audiobus-compatible apps.
Select the app to record from, and select GarageBand as your Output app
- Tap the GarageBand icon in Audiobus to jump to GarageBand so you can create a new project. You'll need to select an Audiobus-compatible instrument, which includes the Audio Recorder, Guitar Amp, and sampler instruments. I chose Audio Recorder since all I need is to record what I'm playing in NodeBeat.
- Audiobus adds its own control panel to the apps it links together, so choose the app you're going to play in from there. For example, when I tap the NodeBeat button, I jump to that app so I can start recording.
Audiobus adds its own controls to the apps it links together
- Once you're in the Input app you plan on using, you'll need to tap the Redord button next to GarageBand's icon in the Audiobus control panel to start recording. Now whatever you play will appear in the active audio track in GarageBand.
Tap Record to send the audio you create to GarageBand
- When you're done playing, tap the Record button again to stop recording. Your masterpiece will be waiting for you in GarageBand.
Your recorded audio shows up as its own track in GarageBand
Adding support for a third-party app in GarageBand was unexpected and a very welcome surprise. It makes Apple's iOS music editing app far more useful because now it can use other apps as audio inputs, which brings the iPhone and iPad another step closer to being true on-the-go audio editing studios.