Sampling in Garageband Using iOS (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Sampling in Garageband iOS is actually pretty simple.

In my honest opinion, the hardest part about sampling in iOS Garageband is not the software itself, but figuring out how to sync your iTunes library with your iPhone, which honestly took me several hours until I finally discovered how to do it. 

Regardless, that’s neither here nor there. First, I’m going to lay out a simple step-by-step process for you, and then we’ll explore each part in detail. 

How To Use The Sampler in Garageband iOS 

1) Grab Audio/Video clip from iTunes, YouTube, etc, using a Youtube to mp3 converter. 

2) Drag & drop the audio file into your iTunes library and then sync your iPhone.  

3) Open Garageband’s Sampler and then select “Import.”

4) Select the file, import the sample into Garageband, and then hit record. 

The preceding steps shown above are essentially how you go about this, however, of course, there are more details. 

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, it’s necessary to have a solid understanding of how to sync your iPhone’s iTunes library, which has become somewhat of a pain in the last few years, due to Apple’s changes to iTunes and their push of the iCloud. 

What you want to do, is either download the audio file onto your iPhone through the iCloud, assuming you’ve purchased a subscription to the Cloud, or you can just import the necessary files from your local files. It’s up to you and your individual situation. 

Step-By-Step Guide To Using The Sampler in Garageband iOS 

In some ways, using the Sampler in Garageband’s iOS is actually better than the Mac version in my opinion, just because of the relative ease of importing the files once you’ve figured out how to sync your iTunes library, as well as the easy-to-use Sampler interface. 

1) Grab Audio/Video clip from iTunes, YouTube, etc, using a Youtube to mp3 converter. 

For this section, you may want to head on over to my other article on how to Sample in Garageband, which you can find at this link here. I actually explored this already in detail, however, for the sake of convenience, I’ll talk about it once again here. 

How you obtain the audio file depends on where you want to get your sample from. In other words, if you already have the audio file in your iTunes, all you have to do is sync your phone to your library and you’ll have access to it. 

On the other hand, if you want to sample a video, which I often do, you’ll have to use Youtube to Mp3 converter, which you find at the following website. I actually prefer to use this website here:

It’s very easy to use, you just have to select the video you want to use by grabbing the link through copy and paste, and then you drop that link into the conversion bar of the aforementioned website. 

From here, you just hit the Convert button, and then the process will begin, and you’ll soon have access to the audio file. What I usually do is I drag and drop the file onto my desktop, that way I can access it easily. 

2) Drag and drop the audio file into your iTunes library and then sync your iPhone.  

Once you have access to the audio file, make sure you label it appropriately, that way you can find it easily in iTunes after you’ve dragged and dropped it into the interface. 

At this stage, you’ll notice that iTunes will start automatically playing it back to you. Make sure that everything worked correctly before you move on to the next step. 

b) It’s ready to go in your iTunes library, so grab your iPhone and then sync it to your computer. Wait the necessary amount of time, and then from here, open up Garageband on your iPhone. 

3) Open up Garageband’s Sampler and then select “Import.”

Once Garageband has been opened, go to the first page on the app, and select the “Sample” icon that goes along with a little symbol of two eighth-notes. 

Select it, and open up the Sampler. From here, you have several options, including “New Sample,” and “My Samples,” as well as the other option, “Import.” 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4-Sampler-Interface-Sampling-Edited.jpg

You want to select “Import,” and then choose the “Music” option. 

Once you’ve brought up that specific interface, you can choose “Songs” or “Artist,” depending on how you labeled it, and then type in the name of the file into the search bar to find it. 

Hit the little box with the arrow pointing down on the right-hand side of the screen, and then wait for Garageband to import the audio file. It typically takes just a few seconds. 

4) Select the file, import the sample into Garageband, and then hit record. 

The next thing you want to do is remember to turn the metronome off because now you’re actually going to create the sample, and you don’t want the metronome playing in the background of the sample.

The sample is loaded into Garageband’s interface, and now you just want to hit the red Record button, and then record whatever part of the sample that you want after hitting a note on the MIDI Keyboard. 

Moving on from that, once you’ve recorded the part of the sample that you want, you just have to click on the little icon on the top-left-hand side that looks like a bunch of bars on top of each other. 

Clicking this small icon is going to send you to the Workspace where you can now see your Sample sitting in a track-header. 

From here, it’s up to you for what you want to do with the sample. Moreover, as I mentioned above, you can adjust the tuning, play it at a different pitch, shape the sound of it, and so on and so forth. You can add effects and do all kinds of stuff with it. 

Alternatively, you can, of course, record your own samples by just hitting on the “New Sample,” option, and then hit the big red “Start” button, to record yourself talking or whatever sound you want. 

This makes recording your own sounds extremely easy and effective. 

Tips and Tricks for Using The Sampler in Garageband iOS 

You can trim it manually before you’ve actually made the sample. You can “Tune” it differently, or use the “Shape” button. 

The “Tune” Option 

Obviously, the “Tune” option is going to give you the option to change the tuning of the sample, using two different parameters, the “coarse tune” and the “fine-tune.” 

The titles are self-explanatory, in the sense that the one is going to adjust the sample by a semi-tone, whereas the other one seems to do it by a much smaller denomination. 

Another thing that’s worth mentioning, is the fact that you want to hit the Middle C on the MIDI keyboard to play the sample at the regular pitch that it was imported as.


You can also use other functions like the “Eighth Note” icon which is going to give you access to different scales and key signatures, whereas the arpeggiator is going to give access to all kinds of different pre-determined patterns. 

I usually don’t use either of these, but maybe you want to.


The “Shape” option is actually a volume control, which gives you the ability to adjust the volume of the track across time.

In other words, it’s kind of like the Volume automation that comes with the Mac version of Garageband. You can read more about volume automation at this link here.


The Glissando option allows you to slide from each note individually, kind of like the way you would slide your fingers across the fretboard of the guitar after plucking the string.

However, with the Glissando option turned on, every time you slide to a new note, the Sample will start playing from the beginning.


The Scroll button, on the other hand, allows you to select a note on the MIDI keyboard while at the same time moving across the MIDI keyboard.

In other words, you’re playing the note while at the same time scrolling through the available keys as you’re playing the note. 

Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what the point of this feature is, but regardless, we have access to it.


The Pitch button allows you to adjust the pitch of the sample gradually. In other words, you can actually hit the “Middle C,” for example, but then slide up to the next note if you want, and it’ll slowly adjust the pitch to the relative key on the keyboard. 

This is in contrast to if you have the “pitch” selection turned off, which means that when you play another note on the keyboard, it’ll actually just play the sample starting from the beginning of the track again. 


The sustain option functions as it sounds. What it does is that it stops you from having the hold down the key on the keyboard in order for the sound to continue playing. 

Importing from Apple Loops

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that you can add in a bunch of the Apple Loops that come with Garageband. It’s pretty self-explanatory, you just have to select the one that you want, and then Garageband will automatically drop it into the sampler. 

YouTube Video Tutorial 

Sampling in Garageband Using iOS (A Step-By-Step Guide)


And that’s it for this tutorial. I hope this was of use to you, if it was, make sure to share it on your social media with your producer friends.

This is my first iOS tutorial. In the future, I’ll be doing way more of these.

Also, subscribe to my mailing list and subscribe to my youtube channel if you want my newest articles and videos. 

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