How to Loop in GarageBand

You can loop a track or region of a track in GarageBand by using the loop pointer at the upper right corner of the track. You can also control-click the track and choose to turn the loop feature on or off on a track or region. 

I’m Donovan, and I spend a lot of time writing, recording, and producing music. I’ve worked extensively with GarageBand for years and know how to loop a track or region when using the app. 

This post will show you how to loop in GarageBand. I’ll walk you through the steps to make a loop happen quickly and tell you when you might want to use this feature while making music. 

Let’s get to it. 

Key Takeaways

  • You can loop a track or region in GarageBand on Mac by using the Loop Pointer or selecting the track and hitting the L key shortcut. 
  • Apple Loops and the looping tool are not technically the same thing. But you can still loop an Apple Loops track. 
  • The process for looping is slightly different in the macOS and iOS versions of GarageBand.  

The Difference Between Apple Loops and Looping a Track

Before diving into the steps to loop in GarageBand, it’s important to clarify the purpose of this post a little bit. The sections below will deal with looping a track or region in GarageBand, which is different than using Apple Loops. 

The same steps apply to looping an Apple Loops track, but this post is not about making an actual rhythmic loop like the ones built into the GarageBand app. Instead, we are dealing with how to loop an actual track or make it repeat as part of the song or mix. 

To learn how to make loops or beats, check out my other post on how to make beats on GarageBand.

How to Loop in GarageBand Mac

Looping a track or region in GarageBand on your Mac is a good skill to know how to do. It can help you work towards a complete mix by extending rhythmic or melodic parts that you need a little more of. You can do quite a bit once you know how to do this. 

To loop in GarageBand on your Mac, follow these steps: 

1. Open GarageBand on your Mac. 

2. Start a new project or choose an existing one. 

3. Record a track if you are in a new project. Once you have a track recorded that you want to loop, click on it. 

4. Move your cursor to the upper right corner of the track or region you want to loop. You’ll see the loop pointer appear, which is an icon that looks like a circular arrow. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

5. Click on the loop pointer icon. Hold down your trackpad or mouse and drag the track or region to the right to loop the track. You’ll notice that you can loop the entire track or region or just a section of it. 

6. Extend the loop as far as you want. Then position the playhead at the beginning of the track or start of the loop to hear the looped track. 

Quick Tip: You can cut a part of a track you want to loop rather than just loop the entire track. This can be useful if you want to loop a small section like a measure or two of drums or a shorter sound. 

7. You can also Control-Click the track you want to loop and then select Loop On/Off. This will loop the entire track or region that you have selected. You can also just press the L key with the chosen track as a shortcut to do the same thing. 

How to Loop in GarageBand iPhone

You can also easily set up a loop on a track or region in GarageBand for iPhone. The process is different than doing it in GarageBand on a Mac. 

Follow these steps to loop in GarageBand on iPhone: 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your iPhone. 

2. Start a new project or open an existing one. 

3. Record a track if you are starting a new project. Once you have a track you want to loop, tap it. 

4. You’ll see several options appear when you tap a track or region. Tap Loop. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)

5. Once you tap Loop, GarageBand will automatically loop the track or region a few times in the track window. You can adjust the length of the loop by tapping and dragging the loop icon at the end of the track. 

6. If you want to shorten the length of the loop, drag the track or region to the right. If you want to lengthen it, drag it to the right. 

Quick Tip: You can follow the steps above to loop any type of track or region you have in a GarageBand project. This applies to Apple Loop tracks and anything you record with the software instruments or through external connections. 

How Do You Use Loops in GarageBand?

Loops can be a great tool to take advantage of for any of your GarageBand projects. This feature allows you to extend tracks or regions without recording new parts, making the production side of things much more manageable. 

There isn’t one exact way to use loops in GarageBand, and everyone finds their flow with the process. But it’s good to keep in mind that loops are available when building out a song or deep into the mixing or production process. 

I like to use loops on a drum or beat tracks. If you have a good rhythm track, it’s a solid foundation to start building the rest of the song. You can extend the track by looping it as long as you want or need to. 

Loops can also be used to add a bit of texture to your tracks. If you find a cool or unique sound that you really like, you can explore building a loop with it and see how it fits in your mix. Think of loops as another instrument you can use to develop your project as you go. 

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to use loops in GarageBand. If you have an idea about how to use the feature, try it out and see what you can create. Sometimes exploring is the best way to figure out how to use them. 

Final Thoughts

Using the GarageBand loop feature is easy and can help you extend tracks or regions when you are mixing a song. It’s a good skill to know how to do, and you can loop any track you record or the Apple Loops that come built into the app. 

You can use the loop feature in any way you want, and it’s a tool that can help you construct a fully produced song. If you have never used loops before, take some time to explore how it works and work it into your next mix. 

What kind of tracks do you like to loop in GarageBand? Do you have any tips for how to use loops in a mix? Let me know in the comments below.

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