GarageBand is free on all Apple devices. That means if you have a Mac computer, iPhone, or iPad, you don’t have to pay anything at all to get the app. It is preinstalled on these devices, so you don’t even need to download it.
My name is Donovan, and I’ve been involved with home audio recording for well over a decade. I’ve used GarageBand extensively and am very familiar with how the app works, what you can do with it, and how much it costs.
In this post, I’ll explain why GarageBand is free and what type of device you need to have to use the app. I’ll also touch on some pros and cons of free audio recording software and a few potential costs to consider if you want to expand your recording possibilities.
Let’s get after it.
Is GarageBand Free?
One of the best things about GarageBand is that it won’t cost you a penny, as long as you have an Apple device with the app installed on it. This is one of the main reasons GarageBand is so popular and accessible, and it’s great news for anyone who wants to start recording music.
Why is GarageBand free? Well, sometimes it’s better not to ask too many questions and just appreciate a good deal when you find one. But jokes aside, Apple supposedly wanted to make music recording software accessible for just about anyone, so they kept it free.
As long as you are an Apple device user, you can use GarageBand without paying anything for it. If you use a different device or operating system, you won’t be able to use GarageBand at all, as it isn’t available for Windows or any other option out there.
Another reason Apple doesn’t charge anything for GarageBand is that it serves as an entry-level experience to their full-fledged audio production software called Logic Pro. Logic Pro is a great platform, and GarageBand is similar in feel and function.
GarageBand hasn’t always been free, and the app was available through the App Store as a paid download for a brief time. But that didn’t last very long, and it soon was offered for free again – which was good news for every Apple-using music maker out there.
Potential Costs to Consider When Using GarageBand
Even though GarageBand is free, there are some potential costs to consider if you want to unlock the program’s full potential and do more than just make a little music with the software instruments included in the app.
There are limitations to using GarageBand on its own. If you are trying to record a complete song by playing live instruments, recording good vocals, or tracking a full band, you’ll need extra equipment to make this possible.
One of the most critical pieces of equipment you might want if you want to really start recording music is an Audio Interface.
An interface allows you to connect various instruments or microphones to it, and then the interface will connect to your computer. A basic audio interface can cost a few hundred dollars, and a high-end one might cost you a thousand or more.
You also need to consider the cost of any instruments you want to play or microphones you want to use to help you record. The cost of all of this can add up quickly, which you might not think about at first.
Then on top of all the instruments and your audio interface, you also need to consider the required cords or cables to connect everything to make recording possible. That might not seem like much, but if you need five $30 cables, that adds up to $150.
You don’t need to spend a bunch of extra money on recording equipment and instruments if you don’t plan on doing in-depth recording. But if you really want to dive into audio recording, even in GarageBand, you should consider all these potential costs.
I always view these added costs as an investment in one of my passions. So even though you might need to dish out more money at first to get a full recording setup, even with a free recording app like GarageBand, all of this equipment will last for years and years of use.
How Much is GarageBand for iPhone?
GarageBand is also free for all iOS devices, including your iPhone. If you just purchased a new iPhone or are starting to explore mobile audio recording and have one, the app should already be installed on the device.
If you happen to delete GarageBand from your iPhone for whatever reason, you can always reinstall it. You won’t need to pay for this, and you can easily access the download from the App Store on your phone.
Free Audio Recording Software: Pros and Cons
GarageBand is a pretty sweet recording app, especially for beginners or anyone who doesn’t want to spend a bunch of money on more advanced audio recording software. But let’s take a quick look at some pros and cons to free audio recording software in general.
The most significant advantage of free audio recording software is that it doesn’t cost you anything! This is great if you are on a budget or just starting to explore audio recording for the first time. You don’t need to invest any money to get started.
Another advantage of free apps like GarageBand is that they work on basically any Apple device. So you can explore working within the app on your MacBook or iPhone and take it with you on the go.
One of the main cons of using free audio recording software is that it will be somewhat limited in what you can do from a professional recording perspective. You can make basic recordings, but GarageBand has its limits by design.
If you want to truly pursue audio recording and start to work on full albums, tracking, mastering, and the technical side of things, you’ll need to invest money in getting high-end recording software such as Logic Pro.
Alongside the technical limitations of free audio recording apps and software like GarageBand, there is somewhat of a negative perspective in the music industry of people who try to make pro recordings with it.
If you want to be taken seriously by professional engineers, producers, or other people in the recording industry, you’ll need to start working within a paid platform.
GarageBand is free if you have an Apple device like a MacBook or iPhone. The app will allow you to make some pretty solid basic recordings, but you might need to purchase higher-end software if you want to create professional recordings.
And don’t forget that even though GarageBand is free, there are still costs associated with full-scale recordings, such as purchasing an interface, instruments, and cables. Things can get expensive pretty quickly.
What sort of projects have you made on GarageBand? Have you ever used any paid audio recording software? Let me know in the comments below!