Inter App Audio Apps: The Audiobus Killer?

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One of Garageband’s newest tricks, the Inter App Audio Apps function aims to bridge the gap between all of your audio creation apps.

It’s a great idea, and judging by the success of third party apps that do similar things (looking at you here, Audiobus) there’s a real thirst for this sort of thing among the iOS music making community.

With such a comprehensive and ubiquitous app like Audiobus already out there though, what exactly are the benefits of a Garageband native inter app audio functionality?


How Does It Work?


Apple made a slightly confusing design choice with IAAA, meaning you must have an app that is compatible with the function installed on your iDevice before the icon will even show up in Garageband’s instrument menu…

Intuitive it ain’t…

Anyway, here’s how IAAA works:

  First off, open the instrument selection screen and select Inter-App Audio Apps.


Inter-App-Audio-IE screen 1

 Next, you’ll be able to choose whether to link an instrument App or effect App to your Garageband project. In the above example, i’ve chosen Amplitube Fender™ as the effect app.



 Once you’ve chosen your app, you’ll find yourself at the Audio Recorder screen, with one very important difference: the input icon (it looks like a wee jack plug) will show the icon of the App you currently have linked to the track.

*Note: Your message may be different to the one shown here – I hooked up an iRig HD, if you set up without anything attached to your iDevice, you’ll get something along the lines of: “Point your iPhone/iPad towards the sound you want to record then tap the Record button above to begin.”



 Tapping on the jack icon will open the input settings screen. Here, you can change between linked Apps, select which channels to use (Stereo, Left or Right) and toggle the monitor function on and off (you’ll want this on if you want to hear what you’re playing…)



Tapping the icon of the App linked to your track will switch to the display of that App – with the addition of a small, Audiobus-ish control panel…

1. Switches back to Garageband

2. Skips back to the start of the project  

3. Plays the project  

4. Records audio from the linked App into your Garageband project.



You’re all done! Your recorded audio from your linked App will show up in your Garageband project.


Better Than Audiobus?


Now that you know how IAAA works, you would think that would be that – you can now dive in, link up all your apps and live happily ever after in musical Nirvana…. right?

Well, not exactly.

As I briefly mentioned at the start of this article, you must have apps that are compatible with Garageband’s Inter App Audio function to take advantage of these features.

The list of compatible apps is growing all the time though – You can find an incredibly hand list of them all right here:


 Inter App Audio Apps


So there we have it. While I can’t wait to see how use of Inter App Audio grows, I still fancy Audiobus (especially with all of it’s fancy new bells and whistles) will remain most iOS musician’s go to for app linking needs…

What do you think? Love Garageband’s Inter App Audio Apps function? Will you be using it on a day to day basis?

Let me know in the comments below!


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  • Rick Kline

    I’m a bassist, but have been playing some synth-bass lines in a couple of songs with one of the bands I’m in. Got iMini on my iPad Pro, and use it pretty much exclusively. IAA works just as it’s supposed to with GB and iMini.

    I’m about to have hand surgery on my fretting hand and will likely be unable to play bass for a couple of months, and have a recording gig and possible opening gig coming up next month. I can set up a song in Garageband, add a track with IAA connection to iMini, and another track with Picked Bass, which I can eq to sound pretty reasonable. Will be playing my bass lines on keys until I have fretting hand back in action.

    Here’s the sticky part – if I exit the song, then re-open it, the iMini doesn’t play in the IAA track. I have to create a new IAA track connected to the iMini for it to work. I guess I could run the iMini external to GB, pan the bass left and the iMini right, then run the headphone output to a mixer, and select from there, but my current mixer doesn’t have channel mutes, just level knobs, so I’d be resetting levels each time I switch “instruments”. Unless I run the output into a stereo channel, with less eq, and pan to select instruments.

    Any suggestions?