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As you may or may not know, in addition to GarageBand for the Mac, there's also a version of GarageBand for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. Now, even though they share the same name and have a couple of common features, GarageBand on the Mac and GarageBand for iOS are two completely different apps. But if you're looking for a great, portable recording app, you can't do much better than GarageBand for iOS. Which, like the Mac version, is now free. I think in most cases, carrying around an iPad and a couple of accessories beats hauling around a laptop and a bunch of cables for your mobile recording needs.
And the nice thing is, you can start your work in GarageBand on your iPad, and then open your project in GarageBand on your Mac to continue recording and mixing it. So let's take a look at how to transfer GarageBand files from an iOS device, to GarageBand on the Mac. Now there are two main ways to do this. Via iTunes file sharing or, newest to the latest version of GarageBand, via iClouds. The iTunes file sharing method is one that's existed since GarageBand 4 iOS originally came out, but let's take a quick look at how that's done. In GarageBand on the iPad, tap My Songs to see all of your projects, then tap Select and select the project you want to export.
Then tap the Share button in the upper left-hand corner, and choose iTunes. Since we want to be able to continue working on this project in GarageBand, I'll choose GarageBand here. That prepares the project for iTunes file sharing. I'll tap Done, and now I just connect my iPad to my Mac via the USB dock cable. When the iPad shows up, I select it and then click Apps. And then down here under File Sharing, I'll Select Garageband. There's the file I exported. Now I can just drag this to my desktop. And you can see it's a GarageBand file.
Once it is copied over I can just drag it into GarageBand on my Mac. I won't bother saving this other file I was working on. Now the first time you do this, you may see this window telling you that this project requires additional content for compatibility with GarageBand for iOS. So, GarageBand on my Mac has to download some additional files, so I can work with iOS GarageBand projects. This only has to happen once. Alright. Once, the download is complete, I'm prompted to Save this file. This project is being saved as a GarageBand for Mac project. And now, here's the project I created on my iPad, open on my Mac, just like any other GarageBand project.
But this is the old method of moving projects from your iOS device to your Mac, and it involves needing to connect your iOS device to your Mac with a cable. Now let's take a look at how to do this with iCloud. So, back on my iPad, the first thing I need to do here is open System Preferences. Here I want to go to iCloud, then make sure I'm signed into my account, which I am in this case. Then I need to find the GarageBand Settings, and here I want to make sure Use iCloud is enabled. Now I can go back to GarageBand and here in the My Songs area, I'll tap Select again, select the project I want to save on iCloud.
And notice there's now an iCoud button up here at the top. I can tap that, and choose Upload Song to iCloud. I'll tap Done, and depending on the size of the project and the speed of your internet connection, it might take a few seconds to several minutes to upload your project. But once it's done, you'll see this i-Cloud icon up here on it, indicating that is now stored on i-Cloud. I can still open up this project and make a change to it, I'll just move this little region right here. And, any changes I make will be saved to the version on iCloud.
Notice I see the little uploading icon for a moment, and when it's done, I see the iCloud icon again. Now before I leave the iPad, I just want to mention that if you ever want to remove the project from your iCloud account and just store it locally on your iPad again, tap Select, select the project, tap the iCloud button, and then you can choose Remove Song from iCloud. I'm going to leave this project on iCloud for now though. So back here in GarageBand on my Mac, I can open that project by going to File, > iCloud > Import GarageBand for iOS Song. So here's the project already uploaded to iCloud.
Now again, you need to make sure you're logged in to the same iCloud account here. So under iCloud Settings, make sure you're logged into the same iCloud account you are on your iPad. Now I'll come back to GarageBand, open that window again, there's the file. I can double click it to open it. I won't bother saving the changes I made to this other project. Again I'm prompted to save it as a GarageBand for Mac file. And there it is. So, the iCloud method to me is preferable, because it doesn't involve having to export your project to iTunes file sharing, or even connecting your device to your Mac with a cable. All you have to do is connect it to iCloud from your iPad, and then download it on your Mac.
But, whichever method you use, you'll end up with your iOS project open on your Mac. Now, one thing to be aware of for either of these methods, is that you can't go the other direction. You can open iOS GarageBand files on the Mac, but you can't send Mac GarageBand files to your iOS device. And so that way if you want to learn more about GarageBand for iOS devices, check out my GarageBand for iPad course at lynda.com. So, now you have the portability and convenience of recording with GarageBand on your iOS device, with the knowledge that you can then transfer the project to your Mac, and continue working on it in the more powerful Mac version of GarageBand.
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