If GarageBand isn't working on your Mac

Learn what to do if GarageBand on your Mac won’t open, you can’t play or record in a project, or you’re experiencing another issue.

Try these steps in order

After trying each step below, test GarageBand again to see if you've fixed the issue. 

Restart your Mac

Choose Restart from the Apple menu .

Update GarageBand

Choose Apple menu  > App Store, then click Updates in the toolbar. If a GarageBand update is available, click the Update button to download and install it.

Check device or software compatibility

If you're using an external audio interface, MIDI interface, storage system, control surface or plug-in not made by Apple, make sure that it’s compatible with the latest version of GarageBand. Contact the manufacturer for support. If an update is available, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to update the device or software.

Use built-in audio with GarageBand

If you’re using an external audio interface, try using the built-in audio on your Mac instead of the interface.

  1. Unplug your external audio interface from your Mac.
  2. Open GarageBand, then choose GarageBand > Preferences > Audio/MIDI.
  3. Choose Built-in Output from the Output Device pop-up menu.
  4. Choose Built-in Microphone (or Built-in Input, depending on your computer) from the Input Device pop-up menu.
  5. Open and play back a project that has been experiencing issues. 

If the project opens and plays back properly, you might need to update or service your audio interface. Contact the manufacturer for support.

Open GarageBand without audio input and output

  1. Open GarageBand and immediately press and hold the Control key before a project opens.
  2. In the alert, click Don’t Launch.

If GarageBand opens, it can indicate the following:

  • You might need to update or service your external audio interface. Contact the manufacturer for support.
  • An Audio Units plug-in might be damaged or it might not be compatible with your version of GarageBand. You can try disabling plug-ins to troubleshoot your issue.

Disable Audio Units plug-ins

If you're using Audio Units plug-ins, try disabling them. Damaged or incompatible Audio Units plug-ins can create unexpected behaviour in GarageBand.

To disable Audio Units plug-ins:

  1. Open a project in GarageBand.
  2. Go to GarageBand > Preferences > Audio/MIDI, and deselect Audio Units. 
  3. Play back a project that has been experiencing issues. 

If the project opens and plays back properly, a plug-in you're using in the project might be damaged or incompatible with your version of GarageBand. Check with the manufacturer of the plug-in for support. 

Test with a new project

You can create a new project and test to check if the issue is with your project or with the GarageBand app.

  1. If GarageBand is open, quit the app.
  2. Open GarageBand and choose File > New.
  3. Choose Empty Project in the New Project window. 
  4. Add audio files or Apple Loops to the new project.
  5. Try to recreate the issue you were having. For example, if the project you're having an issue with uses a particular third-party plug-in, add it to the test project. If the problem reappears, the plug-in might be damaged or might need to be updated.

Test GarageBand with a new user account

Create another user account on your Mac, then try to recreate the issue in the new user account. If the issue doesn't occur in the new user account, settings in the original account might be causing the issue.

Reset GarageBand preferences


Resetting preferences doesn't affect your project files, presets or patches. However, you do lose any custom preference settings that you may have made.

  1. Choose GarageBand > Preferences, and note any specific preference settings you've made.
  2. Close GarageBand.
  3. In the Finder, choose Utilities from the Go menu. 
  4. Open Terminal.
  5. Copy this command, paste it into Terminal, then press Return:

    defaults delete com.apple.garageband10

  6. If you have ever updated from a previous version of GarageBand, also copy this command, paste it into Terminal, then press Return:

    defaults delete com.apple.garageband

  7. Restart your computer.

After your Mac restarts, open GarageBand and try to reproduce the issue you were experiencing. If the issue no longer occurs, open GarageBand preferences and reapply your custom settings.

Still not working?

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