How to Download GarageBand Without App Store

If you have an older Mac or Apple mobile device that isn’t compatible with current operating systems, it might be possible to download an older version of GarageBand without using the app store by using your purchase history. 

I’m Donovan, and I’ve been writing, recording, and producing music for years. I’m very familiar with using GarageBand and have researched some workarounds to downloading GarageBand outside of the App Store. 

This post will show you a possible way to download the GarageBand app without using the app store. This won’t work for everyone, and it depends on what model of device you are using and your purchase history in the app store. 

Let’s dive in.

Initial Thoughts

If you’re reading this article, it’s most likely because you are running into issues with getting GarageBand to work on an older Mac computer or iPhone. Unfortunately, the truth is you might be out of luck with getting the app to work because of compatibility issues. 

I am going to walk you through one potential workaround in this post, but it won’t work for everyone in every situation. Due to the nature of how Apple updates its apps and operating systems, sometimes older devices basically become obsolete. 

This can be super frustrating, especially if you can’t afford to purchase a new computer or phone and want to make music with GarageBand. But there really isn’t much you can do if you run into the issues. 

How to Download GarageBand Without App Store

Downloading GarageBand with the App Store is by far the most common way to get the app if it isn’t on your computer or phone. But there is a workaround you can try to use if you have an older operating system and want to download the app. 

To try and download GarageBand without the app store, follow these steps: 

1. Open the App Store from your Applications folder in the Finder on your Mac. 

2. Click on your name (or account name) in the lower-left corner of the App Store window. 

3. You’ll see your App Store purchase history here, and you should be able to find GarageBand if you’ve downloaded the app on a different device in the past. 

4. You can click Restore Purchase to see if you’re device might download without using the App Store. 

I know this approach technically uses the App Store to direct you to your older purchases, but it’s the only option I’ve found even to attempt to get an older version of GarageBand. Like I said earlier, you are most likely out of luck.

And if you’ve never used GarageBand before and it’s not in your purchase history, there really isn’t any other way to download it other than by using the app store.   

How to Install GarageBand on an Old Mac

If you want to install GarageBand on an old Mac, you might run into issues depending on how old the computer is. If the Mac is too old to run the current macOS, then you probably won’t be able to install the current version of GarageBand on it. 

You can try running through the steps mentioned above to download GarageBand on an older Mac to see if you have it in your purchase history. If your Mac is older than 6 or 7 years, you most likely won’t be able to download a version of GarageBand onto it.

Additional Resources

I did some fairly extensive research to figure out any other ways to download GarageBand without the App Store. I came across one Reddit thread about the issue, which had a bit of information you might find helpful. 

You also might be able to search through other threads or forums and have better luck than I did. But I think the reality is that you will probably need to get a new computer or phone if you want to use GarageBand.

The video below also has some decent tips that might (repeat might) work. But it’s about a year old already and deals with macOS Big Sur rather than the current macOS Monterey. It’s still worth checking out, though.  


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to how to download GarageBand without the app store. 

Is GarageBand only for Apple?

GarageBand is only available on Apple devices. This includes Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads. There is a macOS version and an iOS version of the app, which are slightly different from one another. But you can’t get GarageBand on other types of computers or phones.  

How do I download GarageBand on my iPhone?

GarageBand should come included on any new iPhone because it’s one of the apps bundled into the iOS operating system when you buy it. But you can always download the app from the App Store if it’s not on your iPhone.  

Can you get GarageBand on Google Play?

You cannot get GarageBand on Google Play. This app is only available for Apple devices, which means you can only find it on the App Store, which is exclusive to devices like a MacBook computer, iPhone, or iPad. 

Final Thoughts

There really isn’t a way to download GarageBand without the App Store. If you have an older Mac or iPhone and are having trouble finding a version of GarageBand that works, you might be dealing with compatibility issues that can’t be solved. 

You can try the workaround in this post, but there are no guarantees that it will work. Still, it’s worth a shot if you want to get GarageBand on an older device. 

Do you know of any other ways to download GarageBand without the App Store? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Bobson

    Thanks so much for this Donovan you’ve saved me an entire afternoon of OS upgrades, peripheral conflicts etc, great help

    • Donovan

      Happy to hear this article helped out! Believe me, I’ve dealt with my fair share of troubleshooting delays for this fix and many others. It’s always great to streamline things when you can!