How to Fix GarageBand No Input Source Selected

If no input source is selected in GarageBand, you can fix it by choosing an input in the track controls window or going into the Audio/MIDI preferences in the app. Sometimes this issue can also be a glitch, which a restart of the app and your device could fix. 

I’m Donovan, and I’ve been making music for most of my life. I love writing, recording, and producing and have years of experience working with GarageBand. I’m also very familiar with a number of issues within the app and their fixes. 

This post will show you how to fix a no input source selected issue in GarageBand. I’ll provide you with a few quick fixes to iron out the problem so you can start making music again without worrying. 

Let’s get started. 

Key Takeaways

  • You need to select an input source if you don’t already have one selected. You can do this in the track controls window or by going into the Audio/MIDI preferences in the app. 
  • An input selection must be made for every track that you have in your project, so you need to select an input source for all of these. 
  • This issue can also be caused by a glitch or a problem with an interface you might be using. A restart of the GarageBand app or the device you are using could fix it if that’s the case. 

GarageBand No Input Source Selected: The Fixes

There are several ways to fix the issue of not having an input source selected in GarageBand. If you don’t have an input source selected, the app won’t recognize any microphone or app you are using to record a project. 

Here are several fixes to the problem, which should get everything back to normal quickly and easily. 

Fix #1: Select an Input Source

The first thing you should do if you see the no input selected alert is to choose an input source. You can do this in the track controls window in GarageBand or Preferences.

Follow these steps to select an input source using the track controls window. 

1. Open the GarageBand project for which you want to select input sources or are experiencing the issue of not having an input source selected. 

2. Click the Smart Controls icon on the top of the project window. This icon looks like a control knob and is just to the left of the Editor’s icon that looks like a pair of scissors. 

3. Click the Track tab in the controls window at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see the input source box here. 

4. Click on the arrows to the right of the input box to select the input for the track. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

5. Select the input source you want for the track. 

6. Repeat these steps for any additional tracks that you need to assign inputs to. 

Follow these steps to choose and input using the Preferences option in GarageBand. This will help you out if you are running into issues because of a previously connected audio interface or other input sources that are not on your computer. 

1. Open GarageBand on your Mac. 

2. Open a new or existing project. 

3. Move the cursor over the GarageBand tab from the main menu at the top of the screen. 

3. Select Preferences. You can also use the shortcut Command , to access the Preferences window. 

4. Select the Audio/MIDI tab. 

5. Select the input source you want from the Input Device line. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

6. Check your input sources from the track controls window and see if you can now select sources for your tracks. 

Fix #2: Restart the App and Computer

If you are still running into issues after following the steps above, you might be dealing with a glitch in the GarageBand app or your system. A quick restart of the app and your device can often fix this. 

Be sure to save any progress in your projects before restarting the app or your computer, so you don’t lose any work you’ve done. 

To restart the GarageBand app, simply press Command Q to quit the app. Wait a few seconds and then restart it. Attempt to select an input source again to see if this fixed the problem. 

If it did not, restart your computer. You might need to close any currently running apps before a restart. Once your computer is restarted, open the GarageBand app again and attempt to select an input source. 

Fix #3: Mac Not Recognizing Audio Input

If you have an external audio input connected to your Mac like an audio interface or instrument, the system might not always recognize it. This can be caused by incompatibility or other minor issues. 

To deal with this, try unplugging the device from your computer. Then close and restart the GarageBand app. Reconnect the audio interface to your computer and see if your Mac now recognizes the audio input. 

If it does, you should be all good to go and don’t need to take further action. If it does not, you might be dealing with compatibility issues. 

Check the manufacturer’s specs to see if your device is compatible with GarageBand. You also might need to contact their customer support if you can’t find any compatibility information listed. 

Updating the software on your Mac or updating to the latest version of GarageBand might also help fix this issue. If you don’t have the latest update, you might run into issues where GarageBand won’t recognize an audio input you have connected. 

GarageBand No Input Selected Bluetooth 

I’ve also encountered issues trying to use Bluetooth headphones as the input source for GarageBand. You might try to do this if you want to record with the microphone built into your headphones while also listening to the rest of your project with them as well. 

Unfortunately, you can’t really set up GarageBand where the input and output sources are the same device. This would be convenient in this situation, but you will only run into issues, such as no input source when you attempt it. 

I’ve tried this with AirPods and a set of Bluetooth studio speakers, and neither of them has worked. You can set up your Bluetooth speakers as the audio output with no problem, but you’ll run into issues when you try to make it the input source as well. 

I don’t know of a workaround to this issue. It seems like it should be possible, but every attempt I’ve made did not resolve the issue. If you know how to connect Bluetooth headphones as the input and output source, let me know!

Final Thoughts

Running into the no input source selected issue in GarageBand can be frustrating. But luckily, there are some quick fixes you can try to resolve the issue and get your input sources properly set up for your next recording session. 

If you’ve tried all of the steps above and still can’t get an input source selected, you are most likely dealing with compatibility issues with your audio interface or need to update your system. Remember to start with a quick reset of the app and device before attempting anything else. 

Have you ever run into the no input source selected issue in GarageBand? How did you end up fixing it? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • John

    Hello Donovan. I stumbled in your post regarding issues regarding issues on garageband showing no input controls. I have the same issues and yes it’s very frustrating as i’m still in search of help on how to fix the problem. I did all what you’ve stated and still no luck on this issue. I can’t even adjust the record level as it’s all grayed. There is still no input therefore I can’t record. Mac can play or has sound when i play youtube videos. Any help?

    • Donovan

      Hi John,

      Sorry to hear about your issues with getting an input source set up. Are you using an interface or just trying to record through the microphone on your Mac? If it’s an interface, you might be running into incompatibility issues. Try reaching out to the manufacturer if so. And you tried updating the app and your OS as well? Try adding a new track to the project and see if that lets you select an input source. There’s usually a pretty quick fix to this one, and I feel like you are maybe just missing something minor. Let me know, and hope that helps!