Audio Manipulation, Editing

How to Reverse A Sound in GarageBand

Written By : Andrew Siemon

Open your project and then click on the blue audio region to bring up the editor in the smart controls.

Select the “Region” tab, make sure “Follow Tempo & Pitch” is unchecked, and then select “Reverse Playback.”

Drag the pointer back to the beginning, and re-start playback.

If the short blurb above and YouTube video aren’t enough for you, I’ll give you a step-by-step process in the following section.

There are some important tips you need to know as well, otherwise, the “Reverse Playback” option won’t work as expected.

The Simple Way to Reverse A Sound in GarageBand

1) Double-Click on the Blue Audio Region

Double click on Audio - Reverse A Sound in GarageBand
You’ll need to double-click on your audio region as shown here in order to bring up the editor in the Smart Controls.

As far as I know, there is no way to quickly bring up the part of the audio editor where you can check the “Reverse Playback” box.

However, you can use the (B) to bring up the Smart Controls or (Command + F) to bring up Flex time. Check my guide to keyboard shortcuts to see what’s available.

2) Disable the “Follow Tempo & Pitch” Option By Unchecking the Box

2) Disable the Follow Tempo and Pitch - Reverse Audio in GarageBand
You also want to make sure the “Follow Tempo & Pitch” option is disabled. Uncheck the box. In this image, it’s currently enabled.

If you keep this turned on after you’ve turned on “Reverse Playback,” it won’t work as expected.

3) Check the “Reverse Playback” Box

3) Check Reverse Playback. - Reverse Audio in GarageBand
Check the “Reverse Playback” box as shown here and then pay attention to the way the wave form changes its shape and structure.

You’ll know that it’s about to work because the shape of the wave-form will flip upside down (or from right to left, depending on how you look at it).

You can see what I’m talking about in the images below.

Waveform before Reverse Playback
This is what the waveform looks like before we’ve selected “Reverse Playback.”
This is what the waveform looks like after we’ve used “Reverse Playback.”

Obviously, there is a noticeable difference between the two.

4) Bring the Pointer Arrow to the Beginning to Restart Playback

4) Drag Pointer Back - Reverse Audio in GarageBand
If you don’t do this, the track will continue playing as it previously was.

For whatever reason, you have to go back to the beginning of the audio file to actually hear the changes in action.

And that’s pretty much it for reversing your audio in GarageBand.

Personally, I think Reverse Playback is one of the cooler features to use. It’s a great way to add some flavour to a boring section or create something new entirely.

Do you have any questions or comments about this process? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to all things music, including music production, music theory, recording, and how to use the most popular DAWs. Starting out as a metal guitarist, Andrew has since moved into other areas of music production including hip-hop and fusion

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