Playing Back Mixdowns of iOS GarageBand Projects on your iOS Device

It's impossible to easily playback your mixes from GarageBand for iOS on your iOS device, right? Wrong! Mike Watkinson shows you some workarounds to share your iOS mixes with the world.  

iOS does not yet have an audio equivalent to the Camera Roll. Until it does, the choice of where to share your mixed down GarageBand projects can make them slightly tricky to access. It is important to be aware of the limitations of each method, in case you need to access them in any situation. So when you mix down your GarageBand project on your iOS device, where should you put it?

Option 1 - Upload to SoundCloud (or FaceBook, or YouTube)

GarageBand’s Share menu.

GarageBand’s Share menu.


  • Tap the Share button in GarageBand.
  • Choose SoundCloud - this will mix down your project and upload an .m4a file.
  • Enter your SoundCloud login details.

This is a great solution, but only if you know that you will always have Wi-Fi (or 3G) access. This is not always the case however especially when you're travelling, and when offline, your mixes will remain frustratingly out of reach.


Option 2 - Share via iTunes

This is a useful option, but only if you have a Mac attached to your iOS device.


  • Tap the Share button in GarageBand
  • Choose Share Song Via iTunes
Exporting to iTunes.

Exporting to iTunes.

  • Tap the iTunes option - this will mix down your project and create an m4a file.
  • The files appear in iTunes (on your Mac) in the File Sharing window (select your iOS device in iTunes and click the Apps tab).
  • Save the file to your Mac.
  • Add the file from your Mac to your iTunes music library and re-sync your iPad.


Option 3 - ‘Open In...’

Unfortunately, the current version of GarageBand does not offer ‘Open in Another App...’ from its Share button. Apple’s iWork apps have recently added this, so it can surely only be a matter of time? But in the meantime you can access this option by choosing to ‘Share Song Via Mail’:

  • Tap the Share button in GarageBand.
  • Choose Share Song Via Mail.
  • Email the file to yourself.

Tap and hold the attachment.

Tap and hold the attachment.


In your Mail app, find the email, then tap and hold the attachment – the ‘Open In’ dialog appears. Several choices here are worth considering:

  • ‘Open In’ a podcast player app like Downcast. You can organize your audio files as if they were part of the Podcast. In Downcast you can rename the ‘podcast’ tapping the Settings button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

Opening your song in Downcast.

Opening your song in Downcast.


  • ‘Open In’ an Audio Editor App like Hokusai or TwistedWave. Both Hokusai and TwistedWave allow you to organise and edit audio files, and play them when offline. They both also support the AudioCopy and AudioPaste protocol so you can reimport your mixdown back into GarageBand or another AudioPaste compatible app for further work.

AudioCopy in Twisted Wave.

AudioCopy in Twisted Wave.


These options do require you to email files to yourself while online however, so if you are offline (and with no access to a Mac) and want to prepare mixdowns for playback, you only have one option – ‘Share Song To iMovie’.


Share Song To iMovie

  • Tap the Share button in GarageBand.
  • Choose Share Song To iMovie.
  • In the iMovie project you could add stills to give the audio file a visual identity – but remember to resize the still from its default six second length so you can hear your whole audio file!
  • Share the iMovie project to the Camera Roll

Sharing the iMovie project to the Camera Roll.

Sharing the iMovie project to the Camera Roll.


In the Photos app, you can organize your audio (which is now video) into albums to make it easier to search.

Mike has been obsessed with music software since he first saw Fairlight's Page-R, and has tracked its development through his work as a performer, composer and producer. As a writer he has contributed articles to Sound On Sound since 1999, and currently writes their Apple Notes column. As well as being a certified Logic Pro and Pro Too... Read More

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