Apple: iPad & Mac GarageBand Projects Not Interchangeable (Yet)

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Apple posted a KnowledgeBase article Thursday clarifying that GarageBand projects created with the Mac version of the software and the iPad version are not interchangeable. this means that users won’t be able to start something on their iPad and finish it on their Mac, or take something on the road with them on the iPad that was started on a Mac.

Apple released GarageBand for iPad on the App Store for US$4.99.

Update: As noted in the comments below, the KBase article also notes that, “A future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.” Our apologies for missing that rather important note.

GarageBand Screenshot
GarageBand for iPad Screenshot


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So they’re retracting what they said in the iPad 2 GarageBand demo video? I wonder if they’ve updated the video. I’m downloading GarageBand on my iPad 1 right now so I guess I’ll see.


Well, that’s stupid.  What bonehead thought this was a good idea?

Lee Dronick

Hopefully this is a temporary technical problem.

Dorje Sylas

iLife sync for iOS and MacOSX Lion, available this summer, requiring an in-app purchase for both App and Mac App store programs. IT’LL BE THE BEST GOD DAMN THING EVER!!

(I love my Apple products for almost two decades.)


The article also says:

“A future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.”

Engine Joe

Way to bury the lede here, TMO.  From the link:

A future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.

Engine Joe

D’oh.  Tom beat me to it, by a healthy bit of time.

Bryan Chaffin

Way to bury the lede here, TMO.

Whoa, I deserve that! I can’t believe I missed that rather important bit of info in the KBase article, and I’m glad Tom and Engine Joe noted it.  I’ve updated the article and modified the title.

Thanks for the notes, gentlemen!

other side

If they can be made interchangeable in the future, why aren’t they now?  Why have TWO document formats of the same thing?

Steve Ballmer must be blushing; this is something very worthy of Microsoft.


Maybe GarageBand (for mac) needs an update thats coming in the next release of iLife ?

Lee Dronick

See Friday’s Joy of Tech comic for a play on Garageband and the iPad

Duck Quackson

I think the reason it’s not compatible yet is development time needed. They obviously wanted the release of garage band on iPad to coincide with iPad 2 release. I don’t use garage band on Mac so maybe it has to do with making the virtual instruments work on the Mac side. Also, they may be using some different file format to keep file sizes smaller for iPad which makes sense because when I went to export the song it allows you to export FOR garage band. To me that says it’s a different file format.

I must say it’s a pain in the ass to have to wait, but I already love the freedom to be able to rough out ideas on my new iPad rather than dwindling into the void before I can get to my DAW. Hopefully the update will come sooner than later because exporting individual tracks in ASC is not ideal, and I noticed dropouts when bouncing an entire song to AAC.

One thing that I wish they would add is the ability to edit individual notes and adjust the velocity sensitivity curve on a per-instrument basis, as well as globally. I felt like I was going to break my iPad last night. The most noticeable problem is on certain hihats and the snare drum which do not react properly to tap intensity.

For $5, and version 1, it’s pretty damn good.


As much as I hate the wait, i think the update has more to do with #1 getting users resposes and ideas and #2 making the ipad an instrument to be used with GB.  I specifically bought the ipad 2 for GB and for them to work together.  I hate that it only exports to acc.  well. Only choice now is to export it to acc and then to pro tools.  I wanted to be able to fix and edit the sounds before sending it to protools… WAITING APPLE…

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