How to Reverse a Track in GarageBand

You can reverse a track in GarageBand by using the Reverse Playback check box located within the Audio Inspector window on your Mac. You can also reverse a track in the iOS version of the app by using the Reverse option in the settings menu.

My name is Donovan, and I love everything about writing and recording music. I have years of experience working in GarageBand. I’m very familiar with most of the app’s tools and features, including how to reverse a track. 

This post will show you how to reverse a track in GarageBand. I’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to do this on your Mac or iPhone and highlight other important information along the way.

Let’s dive in. 

Key Takeaways

  • Reversing a track in GarageBand is easy to do, whether you use the macOS or iOS version of the app. The process for each is slightly different but can be accomplished quickly. 
  • Reversing a track can be a good tool to add unique sounds and texture to your audio projects. 
  • Reversing a track is different than inverting or undoing an action. 

Initial Thoughts

Before diving into the steps showing you how to reverse a track in GarageBand, I want to provide some clarification in case you are looking for information not provided in this post. 

This article will deal with reversing a recorded track in GarageBand, or essentially how to play it backward. If you want to undo an action, you can simply press Command Z, which will reverse your actions within the app. 

Inverting a track is something different as well and isn’t a feature currently available in GarageBand. You might be able to use a third-party app to do this, but I don’t know how to do it within either version of the app. 

How to Reverse a Track in GarageBand for Mac

Reversing a track in GarageBand for Mac is simple, and you can make this happen quickly with a few easy actions. It’s fun to play around with the sounds you can find in reverse and this has been a common producer trick for decades. 

To reverse a track in GarageBand for Mac, follow these steps. 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your Mac. 

2. Open the project with the track you want to reverse or start a new project. If starting a new project, record the track in order to reverse it. 

3. Open the Track Inspector window by double clicking the track you want to reverse or by clicking the Scissors icon located to the right of the Smart Controls icon. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

4. The audio inspector window will appear at the bottom of the project window. Make sure you click on the Region tab. 

5. Select Reverse Playback. The track you have selected will now play in reverse when you hit the Play button. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

If you plan on using a part of the reversed track in your mix, you’ll want to cut or trim a section, so you don’t erase your original track. You can copy any area of the track you want in reverse and then past it to a separate track to edit things further. 

How to Reverse Audio in GarageBand iOS

The process for reversing an audio track in GarageBand iOS is slightly different from the Mac version, but it’s still very simple. This method applies to anyone using GarageBand on an iPhone or iPad.

Follow these steps to reverse an audio track in GarageBand iOS. 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your iPhone or iPad. 

2. Open the project with the track you want to reverse or start a new project. If you start a new project, you’ll need to record a track before you can reverse it. 

3. Tap on the track you want to reverse. You’ll see a few different options appear above or around the track. 

4. Tap Settings. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)

5. A new window will appear. Scroll down until you see the Reverse option. 

6. Tap the slider across from the Reverse to turn on the reverse feature for the selected track. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)

7. The selected track will now play in reverse. 

Quick Tip: Just like with reversing a track in GarageBand on your Mac, make sure you cut a specific section of the track and then copy it to a new track if you want to keep your original audio in the mix. 

How to Reverse a MIDI Track in GarageBand

To reverse a MIDI track in GarageBand, you’ll follow the same steps mentioned in the sections above. The reverse process applies to any type of track, whether recorded externally through a microphone or by using a MIDI controller or the built-in software instruments.  

Again, make sure you properly cut and paste the track you want to use in reverse if you’re going to preserve the original track in the mix. Once you select the reverse option on a MIDI track, the entire selected portion will be heard in reverse upon playback.

What to Do If GarageBand Reverse Playback Is Not Working

Sometimes the GarageBand app can run into issues like glitches that cause its features not to work. If you follow the steps mentioned above and GarageBand reverse playing is not working, try closing the app and restarting it – just make sure to save your progress before you quit!

Also, note that the reverse playback button won’t kick in while a current track is playing in the regular direction. You’ll need to hit the stop button and then click the Reverse Playback checklist to engage the feature. 

You should also ensure that your Mac or iPhone has the most recent software update and check to see if any updates are available for GarageBand. Out-of-date software is another common cause of random glitches like reverse playback not working.   


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to how to reverse a track in GarageBand. 

Can you invert a track in GarageBand? 

You cannot invert a track in GarageBand. This is different than reversing a track and involves altering the waveform of a track to its opposite polarity. You can do this will other more advanced audio recording apps or through third-party options. 

How do you reverse piano in GarageBand? 

Reversing a piano track is easy, whether you’ve recorded a live piano with a microphone or used a keyboard connected to your computer or interface. You can use the reverse features in GarageBand for your Mac or the iOS version to reverse a piano track or any other type of track. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to reverse a track in GarageBand is a good skill for anyone commonly using the app to have. You can uncover some really unique and fun sounds to add to your recordings when you reverse audio. 

Keep in mind that the process for reversing tracks is a bit different on the Mac and iOS versions of the app. And also, remember that you can reverse an unwanted action by hitting Command Z!

Have you ever used the reverse playback feature on one of your GarageBand projects? How did you incorporate this into the mix? Let me know in the comments below.

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