How to Update GarageBand (iPadOS, iOS, and macOS)

Apple continuously updates GarageBand iOS and macOS with each operating system upgrade. I’ve stated in other articles that they really seem to be adding a lot to GarageBand iOS for iPhone and iPad, almost on a yearly basis or even more.

GarageBand iOS often gets new sounds, instruments, and sample packs that aren’t seen in the macOS version until later. I think this is a sign Apple will probably start pouring more resources into mobile production as time goes on, but I digress. If you haven’t figured out how to properly update, here’s how:

To update GarageBand for iPad, iPhone, and MacBook, delete the software from your device and then reinstall it from the App Store. However, in the macOS version, you can click on the Apple icon and then upgrade it from the Settings menu. You may have to update your operating system as well.

And that’s all you have to do to update GarageBand for any of your devices. As I said, you may have to upgrade your operating system as well to get the latest versions of the software. In some cases, it may be wise to have a look at the websites for your 3rd party plugins to make sure you won’t encounter any incompatibility issues. For a step-by-step guide, let’s go down to the next part of the article…

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How to Update GarageBand for All Devices (Mac, iOS, iPad)

How to Update GarageBand for iPad/iPhone/MacBook - Featured Image  (1000 × 600 px)
I use GarageBand on a MacBook Pro from 2017, an iPhone X and 7 Plus, as well as a 2021 iPad Pro 1TB.

As I said at the start of my article and in my guide to reinstallation, updating either GarageBand for macOS or iOS doesn’t differ much because the principle is the same.

You just have to eliminate the application and then get the new one from the App Store, regardless of whether you’re on an iPad or Mac. I’ll walk you through the process for all 3 devices anyway for the sake of thoroughness.

How to Update GarageBand for iPad

1) Delete GarageBand by Long-Pressing the Icon and Selecting ”Remove App”

Removing the App - How to Upgrade GarageBand
Long-press on the GarageBand icon and then choose ”Remove App.” The operating system will remind that you many of your iCloud and Local files will remain.

Ensure you’ve chosen ”Delete App,” and not just removed it from your home screen. Wiping your drive clean of the GarageBand application will only remove the app, and not the Sound Library. The Sound Library has to be removed by going into the System Preferences as I explained in this guide.

2) Open App Store and Search for “GarageBand”

Click on the App Store as is shown in the first image, and then type in GarageBand in the App Store search bar. Select GarageBand once it shows up.

Because I’ve already downloaded GarageBand before, it’ll appear as a cloud symbol. It’ll more than likely appear the same way for you.

3) Select the Download Icon and Wait For It to Download

Downloading GarageBand - How to Upgrade GarageBand
Click the aforementioned Cloud icon.

Because GarageBand iOS is approximately 1.5 GB, it’ll usually take 5 minutes or more to download it depending on your device and internet connection. The same thing goes for iPhone, which we’ll do right now.

However, if you’ve only downloaded the Essential Sounds, you won’t have to wait as long. The entire sound library takes up a lot more space.

How to Update GarageBand for iPhone (iOS)

Remove App > App Store > GarageBand - How to Upgrade and Update GarageBand
Re-installing GarageBand for iOS isn’t terribly difficult either. It’s pretty much the same thing.

1) Delete GarageBand by Long-Pressing the Icon and Selecting ”Remove App”

All you have to do is remove the application like what’s shown in the 3-picture diagram above. Of course, just as it is for iPad, you want to delete it from your device rather than simply removing it from the Home Screen.

2) Open App Store and Search for “GarageBand”

Search for GarageBand again in the App Store and re-download it once it comes up.

3) Select the Download Icon and Wait For It to Download

Because you’ve already had it on your device at one time, you can click on the cloud icon next to it to re-install it. Because iOS stores files differently than macOS, you’ll have to re-install your Sample and Sound Packs too which we’ll talk more about later.

How to Update GarageBand for (macOS)

For macOS, it’s a bit different because you actually have more than one option. Assuming you’ve upgraded to the latest operating system, you should be able to access all available updates directly from the Home settings menu.

Updates from the Home Screen - How to Update GarageBand macOS/iOS/iPadOS
To update GarageBand macOS, go to your home screen and click on the Apple icon on the top-left. If an update is available, there will be numbers beside the App Store to let you know how many are available. Click on the App Store icon and you’ll be given the option to update applications.

Another thing you can do is go right into your App Store and click the “Updates” icon as you can see in the second image in the above diagram.

You can see that I have a System Preferences Update because I haven’t yet upgraded to macOS Monterey. Usually, when you click on the Apple icon, you’ll be reminded of updates.

However, this doesn’t always work for some reason. I assume this to be the case because there have been times when the operating system hasn’t let me know that such an update is available. In this case, delete your application and then re-install it as I showed you for iOS/iPadOS.

1) Find the GarageBand Icon, Right-Click It, and Then Delete the Application

Move to Trash - How to Update GarageBand .jpg
If you’ve already got GarageBand downloaded, you’ll first have to get rid of your old one.

Move it to Trash and then go into your Trash and actually get rid of it for good from your computer’s local drive. In my case, I’ve got mine on my external SSD so I don’t really have to do anything with it, considering there isn’t a copy of GarageBand on my actual drive.

I recommend you do the same, by the way, because then you can host all ~17GB of sounds and instruments on an external drive. This will free up a ton of space.

2) Open Your App Store and Search for GarageBand

Download GarageBand - How to Update GarageBand .jpg
After you’ve chosen GarageBand from the list of Applications, just click on the Cloud symbol.

3) Re-Install GarageBand and Wait For It To Download

Downloading GarageBand - How to Update GarageBand
Now you just have to wait for it to download – it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, assuming you don’t have horrendously slow internet.

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Important Things to Note About Updating GarageBand

1) In Most Cases, Your Files Will Be Safe

If you’re concerned about your files, projects, and plugins disappearing, you don’t have to worry because your operating system stores these files in places separate from where the App, itself, is stored. That’s why after you’ve deleted GarageBand, you can re-install it and have access to all of your old stuff.

However, this is not the case for GarageBand iOS. If you delete GarageBand iOS, you won’t retain all of the old Loops, Sounds, and Sample Packs. You will retain all of your project files, samples, and other files though, just not the Loops and Sample Packs that you get from the App Store.

For some reason, I find that when you go to re-install your Sound and Sample Packs, the download goes much faster than if you were getting everything for the first time. To reaccess these Sound Libraries, you just have to click the Loops Icon and then choose Sound Library.

Loops > Sound Library - How to Update GarageBand (iPad/iOS/macOS)
Select the Loops Icon, then choose Sound Library to access all of your Sound and Producer Packs.

And that’s it for updating GarageBand for all 3 platforms. Good luck and have a nice day.