How to Fix GarageBand No Sound Issue

There are several potential fixes if you are experiencing no sound issues with GarageBand. The first fix is to restart your computer or phone, and you can also try closing and restarting the app. You also might need to update the software. 

My name is Donovan, and I’m an avid musician and producer. I worked with GarageBand extensively over the last decade and am very familiar with fixing many issues that can appear within the app. 

This post will show you how to fix GarageBand no sound issues. I’ll give you instructions for several different fixes you can try to get the sound working in GarageBand on your Mac or iPhone. 

Let’s get started. 

Key Takeaways

  • Make sure you have the volume turned up on your Mac and in the output levels in GarageBand first. 
  • Restarting the GarageBand app or your Mac or iPhone is often the fix for random glitches such as no sound. 
  • A no sound issue could also be caused by not having your software updated or because you don’t have the correct output source selected within GarageBand. 

How to Fix GarageBand No Sound Issue

There are several reasons why you might be experiencing a no sound issue in GarageBand on your Mac. It could be related to volume levels, output selection, or caused by a glitch. 

I’ll walk you through several potential fixes here that should get the sound back on. 

Fix #1: Check Volume and Output

It’s always a good idea to start with easy fixes before moving on to anything complicated. And the most basic reason why you might not hear sound in GarageBand is that you don’t have the volume up in the App or on your Mac or iPhone. 

Start by turning the volume on your Mac or iPhone up. It might be muted or turned down really low to a point where playback is not audible. If that doesn’t work, check the volume and mute on the tracks in your project. 

The image below points out the volume slider and the mute button within a GarageBand project. If the volume is turned down, you won’t hear sounds from that track. If the mute button is on, the track will be muted. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

If that doesn’t work, you should check the output source for your tracks or projects. If you have the output source setup to something like a pair of speakers that aren’t actually connected to your computer, you won’t hear sounds. 

To check the output source on your Mac, follow these steps. 

1. Move your cursor over the Apple icon in the main menu. 

2. Select System Preferences

3. Select Sound

4. Make sure the output source is correct and the volume is turned on. 

Fix #2: Restart App and Device

Once you check the volume levels and output source, close and restart the GarageBand app. This often fixes weird glitches you can’t figure out, and it’s another good initial step to deal with no sound issues. 

To restart the GarageBand app on your Mac, press Command Q to quit. Make sure you save any progress if necessary. Then open the app back up and see if the sound issue is fixed. 

To restart the GarageBand app on your iPhone, slide up from the bottom of your screen to see all open apps. Then slide up on the GarageBand app to close it. Locate and tap the app again to restart it. 

If restarting the app did not fix your sound issues, try restarting your Mac or iPhone. 

Fix #3: Software Update

Another cause for the no sound issue is not having your software updated. If you don’t have your Mac or iPhone set up for automatic updates, you may have missed a recent one and will need to install it manually. 

Updates will affect your operating system and the GarageBand app, so it’s a good idea to do these whenever available. If you don’t, you are likely to run into unexpected issues. 

Follow these steps to update the software on your Mac. 

1. Move your cursor over the Apple icon at the top of the main menu. 

2. Select About This Mac. 

3. Select the Overview tab from the about window. 

4. Select Software Update

(Screenshot taken on my Mac)

5. Update the software if needed. 

Follow these steps to update the software on your iPhone. 

1. Tap Settings. 

2. Tap General

3. Tap Software Update

4. If an update is available, download it to update. 

Fix #4: Check Device and Software Compatibility 

If you are using an external audio interface or an instrument connected to your Mac or iPhone, you need to ensure that it is compatible with GarageBand. If it’s not, you can run into issues when trying to get sound from the device to GarageBand. 

Check the manufacturer’s specs for compatibility. These should be listed with the product packaging or found online on the manufacturer’s website. You might need to contact customer service if you can’t find exact compatibility parameters. 

If the device is not compatible with GarageBand, you won’t be able to use it with the app. Sometimes there are updates or driver installs you need to do with an interface, which you should check out while exploring compatibility. 

By following these steps, you can also run a quick check to see if you are having an issue with your interface. 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your Mac. 

2. Open a new or existing project. 

3. Select the Smart Controls icon on the top of the project window that looks like a control knob. 

4. Change the input setting to your computer microphone from the track controls window at the bottom of the screen. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

5. Select your computer speakers as the output source for your audio on your computer by following the steps mentioned in Fix #1 above. 

6. If you hear sound coming out of GarageBand after following these steps, you know you have an issue with your interface rather than with your computer or the app itself. 

Fix #5: Disable AU Plug-Ins

If you are using AU plug-ins on a project, this can cause issues with the sound upon playback. By following these steps, you can disable these plug-ins to see if this is the issue. 

1. Open the GarageBand project that you are having sound issues with. 

2. Move your cursor to the top of the screen over the main menu and select the GarageBand tab. 

3. Select Preferences. You can also press Command , as a shortcut to access the preferences window. 

4. Select the Audio/MIDI tab. 

5. Uncheck the Enable Audio Units checkbox. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

6. Click Disable if you see a prompt warning you that this might cause playback issues. 

7. Return to your GarageBand project and attempt playback again to see if that fixes the issue. 

Final Thoughts

Not having sound while using GarageBand is obviously a big issue, and you won’t be able to make or edit music until you resolve it. The steps mentioned here should help fix this problem, so go through all of them before looking into additional help. 

Remember that you should always start with minor fixes before moving on to anything more involved. In my experience, a simple restart of the app often fixes many frustrating issues, and knowing that has saved me so much time over the years. 

Have you ever run into a no sound issue in GarageBand? What did you do to fix the issue? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Diana

    Garage band recently updated, and now no sound. I tried all your fixes. The airpods are working with the sound on the computer. It seems to be something in the program itself. Is there a recent new bug?

    • Donovan

      If your AirPods are working with GarageBand, but you don’t hear sound through your speakers, it might be because of the Bluetooth connection between them. Disable Bluetooth on your Mac or turn off your AirPods to see if that fixes the issue. And did you do a restart after the update? That might iron out any bugs/issues.

  • GC

    Hi! Thanks, but none of those worked. Everything is on. The Audiobox is working (I can hear the instrument). All of the settings are correct. All of the settings you included are set properly. Any other ideas?

    • Donovan

      Are you getting sound from other audio sources on your Mac? Try playing something like a video or music to see if your speakers are generally working. You can rule out whether it’s something with GarageBand or your computer that way. If that doesn’t work, ensure the app is up to date again, as it could be a bug or compatibility issue in the OS. Other than that, it’s difficult for me to assess directly if the steps here didn’t work. Are you having any other issues?

  • Skye

    Thank you for this article! The Disable AU Plugins fixed my issue.

    • Donovan

      Hi Skye,

      Awesome, happy to hear it! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Xan

    Donovan, Your comment about turning off the AU’s solved it! Thank you. I didn’t want to believe it. True!

    • Donovan

      Hi Xan,

      Glad to hear that you solved the problem. Thanks for taking the time for all the comments.

  • Xan

    Yes, I am throwing my hands up over it right now but will look forward to trying the fixes in this article! My teacher is away on tour with his band so I’m glad there is some internet help. i heard there were tutorials online but I was thinking I needed more specific help. And here it is. Hope it’s not the AU but it might be. Will try that last! Thank you.

  • Carrie Quinn

    Thank you so much! Your detailed instructions helped me identify and fix my no-sound issues!

    • Donovan

      Hey Carrie,

      I’m happy to hear that! Thanks for letting me know, and I hope your project turns out great.

  • Fran Hart

    Finished recording a song and mixed it. Now, all tracks are silent. I’ve tried every remedy that I’ve found on the Internet and still can’t hear the tracks. Disabling the audio units did not work for me. Any other suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Donovan

      Hi Fran,

      Sorry to hear about your issues. My advice for this sort of troubleshooting is to always start with simple fixes before going too far down the rabbit hole. Did you reset your device and GarageBand? Did you make the track on your iPhone or Mac? Try turning off your Bluetooth and double-checking your output source as well. Do you have audio output on your device when you aren’t working in GarageBand? There has to be a cause and a solution for it. You could try sending the track to someone else to open on another device. I’ve hit the wall with random issues only to find that it was something small that I overlooked or didn’t think was the issue. Not saying you didn’t try everything listed in this post, but it never hurts to try again. Keep me posted when you get it resolved, and I hope that helps.

      • Xan

        Hi, Donovan! I have a few questions:

        1) I did all the quitting out and reatarting
        and it didn’t work so I
        2) Went into GarageBand preferences as you said.
        w! Well I couldn’t disable AU because it was grayed out
        but I did 1st turn off my ARP AU so maybe that’s why?
        3) Could the lack of Piano and Flute sound be due to having too many orchestral instrument tracks at once?

      • Xan

        I guess my basic question(I can’t seem to search) is What is the upper limit of tracks you can do in GarageBand?

        I may try sending out or exporting the tracks not sounding although coach is away. Thanks!

  • Madeleine Innocent

    Thank you. The final point about disabling audio units finally worked for me.

    • Donovan

      Hi Madeleine,

      Happy to hear this post helped solve the problem, and I hope your recording projects are coming turning out well!