How to Export GarageBand to MP3

Exporting a GarageBand file to MP3 is a task you need to know how to do if you want to share your musical creations with others. It’s relatively easy to do, but the process is a bit different between macOS and iOS. 

My name is Donovan, and I’ve been writing, recording, and producing music for over a decade. I am very familiar with GarageBand and know the steps involved in converting files in the app to MP3s for both a Mac and iPhone or iPad. 

This post will show you how to export GarageBand files to MP3 so you can easily share them and listen to the tracks on other devices. I’ll provide you with all the steps you need to know for doing this on your computer and iPhone. 

Let’s jump in.

Key Takeaways

  • The process for exporting GarageBand files is slightly different on Mac computers and iOS devices, so it’s good to know how to do both. 
  • MP3 isn’t as common of a format as it once was, and you have other options to choose from when exporting songs. 
  • Exporting allows you to easily share the GarageBand song or listen to it on other devices.   

How to Export GarageBand to MP3 on Mac

We’ll start things off here with how to export a GarageBand file to MP3 on your Mac. This is a common thing to do after you are done creating and recording a song, and you want to share it with other people or listen to it on other devices or stereo systems.

The first thing you’ll want to do is either open up a new project and start making music or open up an existing project that is ready for export. From there, you can begin the process of exporting the file to MP3.

Follow these steps to export a GarageBand file to MP3 on Mac.

1. Open up the GarageBand project you want to export. 

2. Move your cursor over the Share tab at the top of the window. 

3. Select Export Song to Disk from the dropdown menu that appears

(Screenshot taken from GarageBand on my Mac)

4. The Export window will appear, and you’ll have a few options to choose from relating to what type of file you want to export. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand from my Mac)

5. Click on the MP3 button. Note that you can also adjust the audio quality of the file within this window, so make any changes you want with that in mind. Higher quality files will take up more storage space but obviously sound better. 

6. Click Export. Your file will be converted to MP3, and you can do with it what you want from here.    

How to Export GarageBand to MP3 on iPhone/iPad

GarageBand also comes included on iOS devices like your iPhone and iPad, making for a great mobile workstation when you want to create music on the go. But the process for exporting GarageBand to MP3 on these devices is a little different than on a Mac computer. 

There isn’t a direct option to export your song as an MP3 in GarageBand for iOS like there is for macOS, and you’ll need to use a file converter that can convert M4A files (the default export file type in iOS) to MP3 files.

You can get one of these converters for free on the Apps store, and they are all easy to use.  

Follow these steps to export GarageBand to MP3 on your iPhone or iPad:

1. Open GarageBand on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Go to the My Songs folder by clicking on the icon that looks like an upside-down triangle in the upper left section of the screen. 

3. Long press the song you want to export. This will pull up another window rather than opening up the track itself. 

4. Tap Share at the bottom of this window. 

5. Tap the Song icon button.

6. Choose the audio quality you want to export the song in. Note that you aren’t selecting MP3 here because it’s not an option. You are just picking one, so you can convert it in the next step. 

7. Tap Share from the top right of the screen. 

8. You’re file is now exported onto your device, most likely as an M4A file. Now open up the audio converter app. 

9. Run through the steps in the converter to turn the exported track into an MP3. This shouldn’t be very difficult, and you can see what the process is like in the video below. 

How to Export a Region in GarageBand

Sometimes you don’t need or want to export the entire song, and you just need to export a single region. This is useful during the music creation process if you are working on the track with other people. 

To export a region in GarageBand, follow these steps:

1. Open up the project with the region you want to export. 

2. Select the region you want to export. 

3. Move your cursor over the Share tab from the top menu bar. 

4. Select Export Song to Disk from the drop-down menu. 

5. When the Export Window appears, click the checkbox for Export cycle area or length of selected regions (if Cycle is turned off)

6. Click Export to export the selected region. 

What Type of Format Should You Choose for Export in GarageBand?

The type of format you choose is really up to you. It depends on the audio quality you want and the amount of storage space you want to take up on your computer or device with each exported song or region. 

Higher quality formats will take up more storage space, but they sound better. Lower quality formats won’t take up as much space, but you’ll sacrifice some of the audio along the way. 

AIFF and WAVE files are of higher quality but will take up more space. AIFF files will play on most Macs, while WAVE files will play on most PCs. 

AAC and MP3 files are smaller, so they are easier to share if you are working with limited internet bandwidth and aren’t too concerned with audio quality.  

I like to choose the highest audio format possible because that’s how I like to listen to, create, and produce music. But using another option is no big deal if you need to save storage space or just simplify the process. 

And keep in mind that on GarageBand for iOS, the files you export will be saved as M4A unless you make a different selection during the exporting process, as described in the sections above.  


Here are some short answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions related to how to export GarageBand files to MP3. 

How do I save GarageBand as mp4?

Saving a GarageBand as mp4 follows similar steps to what you went through in this post. When you go through the export process, you’ll have the option to choose what type of file you want. You can choose one that will give you an mp4 this way. 

What format does GarageBand use?

GarageBand gives you several different formats you can choose from when exporting songs. These include M4A, AIFF, WAV, and Apple Lossless files. Depending on what sound quality you want and any storage considerations, you can pick which works best for your needs.  

Final Thoughts

Exporting a GarageBand file to MP3 is pretty straightforward, and you can easily make it happen by following all the steps mentioned above. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get a file converter to turn iOS GarageBand files to MP3 but you can do it without one on your Mac. 

What type of audio format do you prefer for the songs you export from GarageBand? So you still use MP3s, or does another option work better? Let me know in the comments below. 

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