GarageBand MacOS (Compatibility Checked)

If you are a die-hard music lover trying out new stuff, you must have heard about GarageBand, the application on macOS and iOS. Some users complain that they have trouble downloading it on their iDevices. This write-up helps you understand why and some solutions to try.

So, can you get GarageBand on macOS Catalina? Catalina is incompatible with GarageBand 6.0.5 since this version of GarageBand only runs on a 32-bit system, a feature lacking in the Catalina macOS. The last version of macOS that can handle GarageBand 6.0.5 is version 10.14 known as Mojave.

There is a workaround that may work for older systems like Catalina. If you previously downloaded it using macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), you could reinstall it from the App store using your purchase history; otherwise, downgrade your system to a form that supports GarageBand. 

Several factors are to consider before downloading an application, including your device’s operating system. In this guide, I will tell you which macOS is compatible with GarageBand and whether there are bypasses for unsupported versions.

One of the challenges of dealing with outdated Apple devices is that it can be a task to download and install applications. Catalina is one such system after Apple released the newer macOS. If you are still running it and want to use GarageBand, you first need to know whether the system supports it.

Unfortunately, you cannot run GarageBand 6.0.5 on macOS Catalina because the application requires 32-bit systems, not 64. The last version that is compatible with the GarageBand 6.0.5 is macOS 10.14 (Mojave).

However, there is a bypass where you can install the latest GarageBand version 10 via a previous purchase. If you have downloaded it while running macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), you can install it afresh from the App Store. You can also downgrade your computer to run macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), which is compatible with GarageBand 6.0.5.

Release NameVersionGarageBand 6.0.5GarageBand 10macOS 32 or 64-bit
Snow Leopard10.6Y32-bit
Mountain Lion10.8Y32-bit
El Capitan10.11YY32-bit
High Sierra10.13YY32-bit
Big Sur11Y64-bit
GarageBand 6.0.5 vs 10 macOS compatibility table

App Store GarageBand Applications

There are two independent GarageBand applications in the App Store; GarageBand ’11 (also referred to as GarageBand 6.0.5) and the latest GarageBand. The first launched in 2010 with iLife ranging between 6.0.1 and 6.0.5, and chances are high that you are using it if you downloaded it a while back. It is exclusively a 32-bit version; hence, incompatible with 64-bit versions like macOS Catalina, Monterey, and Big Sur.

On the other hand, there is the modern GarageBand. Apple released it alongside OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) in 2013, falling in the 10.0.0 to 10.4.6 range (current as of March 2022). You will notice that the two GarageBand versions have distinct package IDs. Therefore, GarageBand 10 is not an advanced version of GarageBand 6.0.5. The two are two unique apps that work on different operating systems.

Luckily, if you had downloaded the GarageBand 10 before the release of Big Sur, you may have the advantage of reinstalling the application on your Mac running macOS Sierra to Catalina. On your old Mac running version Sierra to Catalina, you can obtain GarageBand from your purchase history.

However, if you have never downloaded it before, it will be impossible to find the install icon on your old Mac because of the error message from the store validation. When you tap the Apple ID on the bottom left, you should see the GarageBand app at the top as one of your recent purchases. You can even sign in and out a few times or reboot the device to find it.

Note that you cannot install GarageBand 10 by conventionally clicking the download icon in your search or from the GarageBand page; otherwise, you will see an error text pop up. The only way out is to tap the download button in the purchase history tab.

You should now have GarageBand 10.3.5 on your macOS Catalina, the last version that can run on the system. Otherwise, GarageBand 10.4 will need updated systems like macOS Big Sur.

macOS version for GarageBand

System incompatibility is one of the main issues preventing the download of particular applications. You may be worried if you own an outdated Mac and want to download some of the latest apps. If you need GarageBand, you should know which macOS can support it and compare it with your iDevice.

The best version of macOS you need to run GarageBand is the Mac OS X 10.3 or better, meaning that your Mac should run on at least macOS Tiger. It applies to GarageBand 6.0.5 and 10, each for various macOS. While the older operating systems can run 6.0.5, you need to update your Mac to Big Sur or later options to get the newest platform.

Your processor should also manage 600MHz or higher speeds, and the device should accommodate 256MB of memory and 2GB of hard drive space.

Each application has requirements that all devices should meet before running it. GarageBand is also strict in its rules and will not be compatible with outdated systems. MacOS Tiger or Mac OS X 10.3.4 is the suitable version on your computer before you try downloading GarageBand.

However, you will require the latest operating system to install GarageBand 10. You should update your Mac to at least macOS Big Sur; if your device is too old, you will have to stick to the other GarageBand version.

Hardware requirements

Besides the operating system, GarageBand also has other requirements to run smoothly on your Mac. First, Apple dictates that your processor speed should be faster than 600MHz, and if you want to utilize software instruments in the app, you will need at least a G4 chip.

For the memory, GarageBand needs about 256MBs. It is essential for your recording needs, but the capacity should be higher if you make a lot of compositions, for which 512MB will suffice.

The screen’s resolution is equally vital; you can check that yours is 1024x 768 or better. Lastly, although optional, you may require a system that allows you to connect external devices like microphones and guitars.

However, GarageBand will still work fine even with the computer and a mouse, unless you are more musical and need more peripherals to connect. A strict restriction is on the latest GarageBand version 10.

It is only available for users running at least macOS Big Sur. Therefore, you must update your system if you want the newer GarageBand. Still, you should also check for the other requirements from Apple; otherwise, GarageBand won’t work seamlessly for you.

Many users ignore the age aspect, but it is critical. If your device is over seven years old, it will be impossible to update the most recent macOS; by extension, you won’t install GarageBand.

GarageBand Mac availability

If you are a music enthusiast, you must have bumped into GarageBand. Before you download and install it, it is crucial to know whether it is compatible with your Mac version; otherwise, it will not be available, and you will have to find an alternative.

The latest GarageBand is available for all Macs running Big Sur and later macOS. However, newer computers cannot operate the dated app version, and vice versa. Unfortunately, computers released by Apple before the launch of GarageBand are all incompatible, meaning Macs older than 2004 cannot run it.

Therefore, to enjoy a fantastic music experience from the program, it is vital to first check for compatibility with your computer. The latest app can support macOS Big Sur, but, later, you will need to update your device to obtain it.

Most old and new Mac’s support GarageBand unless your computer is outdated, and you bought it before Apple launched the application. However, provided that your device can handle macOS Big Sur, or you can upgrade to it, it will be easier to download and set up the app on your computer and get straight to using it. The software is impressive in all music matters and can completely immerse you into a new world.

It is a free program available in your Mac App Store for downloading if you are yet to access it. From the name, you can tell that it is a game changer when it comes to offering a studio-like experience when you want to make music or record podcasts.

It has a brilliant library of instruments, including drums, guitars, piano, voice, and percussion. All these are advanced systems that are easy to learn and play, and it also features in-built lessons for reference in case you run into problems maneuvering the software.

GarageBand Options

GarageBand allows you to manipulate and synthesize sounds to get the best notes. Additionally, you can fine-tune your tracks using sound-shaping techniques to provide impressive sound quality.

Besides tweaking your recordings, you can also get creative and produce great music without several instruments; you only need a guitar and a mic. You can decide to go classic or jam with the various modern instruments.

GarageBand has a lot to offer, and you have the power to run the studio however you like. You are free to adjust the shapes and instruments, provided that you get the desired results. Lastly, GarageBand not only assists in creating music but is also the chance to share your talent with family, friends, and the world with a click of a button.

You can send the tracks to various social media or save them to help improve your skills. Interestingly, you can sync all your Apple devices through iCloud and use the app from any iDevice, even if on the go.

Problems downloading GarageBand on Macs

Most Macs available today run GarageBand comfortably, and you are sure of unmatched performance. However, the system can also run into issues like any other application. If you have problems downloading GarageBand on your Mac, this section helps you find solutions. 

If you can’t download GarageBand on your Mac, your device and the app may have incompatibility issues, especially when dealing with outdated iDevices. The only way out is to install the older version of the app that your Mac can support.

Insufficient space may also be responsible for the installation issues. Moreover, if your Mac runs on macOS older than Big Sur, you may not download GarageBand. Lastly, you may have problems because of following the wrong download procedure.

Primarily, GarageBand download issues are due to hardware and app incompatibility where older firmware cannot support the latest GarageBand version. Dated Macs find it challenging to run modern programs since they lack the required components to manage the advanced software. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of GarageBand, ensure that your computer is up-to-date, and you have installed the program’s latest version.

Otherwise, you will likely encounter download issues. Apart from hardware incompatibility, your macOS also has a role to play. GarageBand cannot download on iOS older than Big Sur because the previous versions cannot handle it.

Therefore, all your efforts to install the new music studio app on old macOS will only be futile. Additionally, the storage space available on the computer may also affect the process.

Since GarageBand requires approximately 50GB to launch on your Mac comfortably, it is crucial to have adequate space. If you have “lack of storage” alerts, you may need to free up more space by deleting apps you don’t need.

Still, if you have an older device, you can stick to an old software version or download the GarageBand 10 on newer systems. This way, you will adhere to the compatibility rules and get smooth downloads and excellent performance.

Apple always advises users to upgrade their system, and this will come in handy when you want to download the newest GarageBand. There are simple procedures you can use if you are among the users constantly struggling with installing the program on your device.

First, ensure that your computer fulfills all the basic requirements to run GarageBand. Next, click the Launch Pad or Dock and find the App Store.

Double tap it and type GarageBand on the search bar. If you get the software, click the Buy or Get action button. Another prompt may ask you to “Install App”, press and provide your Apple ID and password if necessary. Finally, select “Sign In” and let the software download. You can now use the Finder button to get GarageBand from your Mac or go to the Applications folder.


GarageBand is one of the best software to use if you are a massive fan of making and listening to music. However, you first need to consider whether your Mac can support it. There are two GarageBand versions, 6.0.5 and the latest.

While the former works even on outdated systems, only macOS Big Sur and later are compatible with the new GarageBand. Therefore, downloading or installing the app will be challenging unless your system can handle it. Luckily, there is a bypass for the older OS to run GarageBand.

You can either downgrade your macOS to a version that supports it or download it through your purchase history. Ultimately, it would help to first confirm compatibility with your Mac before trying to download GarageBand.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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