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GarageBand for iPad and Mac Not Yet Ready to Play Together

Last Thursday, while I was still dreaming about getting a new iPad 2, I discovered that Apple had already released the GarageBand app for iPad, which is also compatible with the original iPad. With $4.99 burning a hole in my credit card, I scurried to the App Store and bought myself some music-making magic for my soon-to-be-obsolete iPad.

Briefly, the app really is magic, and I can’t imagine how Apple managed to make it work on a portable device and sell it for such a low price. Naturally, it doesn’t have all the features and capabilities of its desktop sibling, but it truly is a remarkable achievement, and one of the best procrastination-enabling technologies I’ve encountered. With it, I was able to make a credible-sounding song within minutes. The only drawback was that I could find no way to do a slow fade on a song, which I needed so my amateur ditty wouldn’t end abruptly.

No problem, I thought. GarageBand on the iPad and the Mac are compatible. It says so, right in the app. So I exported the GarageBand file to my Mac and tried to open it up to apply the song-ending slow fade I wanted. And saw a disturbing dialog box.

Apparently, GarageBand on the Mac is not yet compatible with GarageBand on the iPad. What’s more, choosing GarageBand > Check for Updates in the Mac version responds that I have the latest version. A little online research revealed A Very Terse Apple Tech Note, which read, “Songs created in GarageBand for iPad can not be opened in GarageBand for Mac. Projects created in GarageBand for Mac cannot be opened in GarageBand for iPad. A future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.” Well.

In the scheme of things, this incompatibility isn’t all that important, and I fully expect to see a GarageBand update for the Mac within days. But be warned, you early adopters out there: If you want to create a song on your iPad and edit it on your Mac, today is not that day.


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Comments about GarageBand for iPad and Mac Not Yet Ready to Play Together
(Comments are closed.)

Do u have the latest OS? I have an older version of the OS that will not let me download the latest iLife software. I recently bought a new macBook pro & realized that even though my old iMac said it has the latest version of GarageBand, it did not.
Michael Cohen  2011-03-12 20:43
Yes. I have the latest released version of Snow Leopard and the latest released version of GarageBand for the Mac. The problem is that Apple has not yet released a version of GarageBand for the Mac that is compatible with the iPad version released earlier this week. As I said above, I fully expect that situation to change in the very near future.
Tom Quinlan  2011-03-12 18:45
I am experiencing the exact same problem. Without the fade, it is difficult (and seemingly impossible) to end the "smart instruments" gracefully if you are recording.
Michael Cohen  2011-03-12 20:24
The lack of volume controls for things like fades is unfortunate but not unexpected in a version 1.0 app like GarageBand. I suggest sending (polite) feedback to Apple requesting such a feature in their next release:
Ron Manke  2011-03-15 17:18
They say that a future version of GB will open files created in GB for iPad, but they don't say the reverse.

It would really suck if we couldn't go back and forth, but I suppose it would be difficult to make the Mac version iPad compatible, if it doesn't have all of the same instruments and stuff.
MrQwerty  2011-03-17 13:34
The other thing is that when compatibility is possible between the iPad & Mac, how backwards compatible will it be. I'm using Leopard (10.5.8) on one of the early 2006 Intel machines and can't upgrade any higher. Will I be able to move files from the iPad to my older version of both the operating system and Garageband?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-17 14:04
Are you using GarageBand '11 now? Apple claims that iLife '11 requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later, and if that's true, then I'd be quite surprised if they'd update the previous version of GarageBand for iPad compatibility.
MrQwerty  2011-03-19 23:02
No I'm using the iLife '09 version, and I imagine what you suggest is most likely, but very disappointing if it turns out to be the case. My Mac isn't that old, and the difference between 'BAND files can't be that different between these relatively recent versions to ensure compatibility? Would it be too much to expect?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-20 18:27
Since it would require an update to a now-obsolete version of GarageBand, I'd be a little surprised if Apple would provide that level of compatibility. But you never know - GarageBand '11 is pretty recent, so it's possible Apple will update GarageBand '09 too. Just don't hold your breath.
MrQwerty  2011-03-30 07:16
I hope so, it will show some regard and respect to long standing Apple customers, not just recent converts, but appreciate what you say.
eddie Gray  2011-03-23 03:21
When will you be able to load garargeband from my ipad on my garage on my Macpro , I is not very good. when will they fix the problem