What is the best app to make your own music for free?

Music making apps allow users to compose, record, edit, and share music using just their smartphone or tablet. The global music app market was valued at $27.71 billion in 2024 and is expected to grow to $34.75 billion by 2029, with a CAGR of 4.63% [1]. Music production on mobile continues to expand as apps become more sophisticated and user-friendly.

With so many options available, determining the best free music making app can be a challenge. This article reviews the top free music production apps for iOS and Android and makes the case that GarageBand is the best free option for most users to easily create great sounding songs.

[1] https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/music-app-market

Criteria for Evaluating Music Apps

When choosing a music production app, there are several key criteria to evaluate:

Ease of use – The app should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. Complex apps with steep learning curves will hamper creativity (Source).

Available features – Look for an app with a wide range of tools for editing, mixing, synthesizing, and sequencing. The more options for manipulating sounds, the greater range of possibilities (Source).

Quality of sounds – The app should have high-quality instrument sounds and effects. Listen for clarity, richness, and professional polish in the audio samples (Source).

Sharing and exporting – It should be easy to export your finished creations and share them with others. The ability to export MP3s or upload to sites like YouTube is ideal.

By evaluating music production apps based on these criteria, you can identify the best options for making your own music easily.

Top Free Music Making Apps

There are several excellent free apps available for making your own music. Here are 5 of the top options:


GarageBand is Apple’s free digital audio workstation that allows you to record, mix, and share your own music right on your iPhone, iPad or Mac computer (Source). It comes pre-loaded with a wide selection of virtual instruments, drum kits, loops and effects so you can start creating music instantly. GarageBand makes it easy for beginners but also has advanced tools to satisfy more experienced musicians.


Soundtrap is a free cloud-based music studio that runs in your web browser. It provides a simple drag-and-drop interface to produce music using virtual instruments, loops and effects. Soundtrap allows for recording vocals and instruments through your computer’s microphone and webcam. It also enables online music collaboration so you can create songs together with others (Source).


BandLab is a free, user-friendly DAW designed for mobile devices as well as desktop web browsers. It offers a library of pre-produced beats and loops along with virtual instruments to create complete songs. BandLab’s simple editing tools make it easy to record, mix and share your music creations through their cloud platform and social network (Source).


Audacity is an open-source, cross-platform audio editing and recording software. While not as intuitive as some apps, Audacity provides more advanced capabilities for multi-track mixing, applying effects, editing audio files and exporting music. With some learning, Audacity can be a powerful free tool for crafting customized songs (Source).

LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio)

LMMS is an open-source digital audio workstation similar to FL Studio. It allows you to produce music using synthesizers, samples, effects and more. LMMS has a learning curve but includes detailed documentation and tutorials. For intermediate to advanced users on Windows or Linux platforms, LMMS provides advanced music creation capabilities for free (Source).

GarageBand Overview

GarageBand is a music creation software application developed by Apple Inc. It is part of the iLife software suite and is available for macOS and iOS devices. GarageBand was originally created by Apple in 2004 to allow users to easily create and record their own music using pre-made loops, software instruments, presets for guitar and voice effects, and a virtual drum kit (Source).

GarageBand is available on macOS computers as well as iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. This makes GarageBand a versatile music creation tool that can be used across multiple Apple devices (Source).

Some of the key features of GarageBand include virtual software instruments like keyboards, drums, guitars and basses that provide realistic sounds. It also has a large library of pre-made audio loops to choose from across many genres. GarageBand also allows users to record vocals and acoustic instruments directly into their projects. Finally, it provides various effects like reverb and distortion that can be applied to tracks to help shape the overall sound.

GarageBand Pros

One of the biggest pros of GarageBand is its intuitive and easy-to-use interface (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/655947). GarageBand is designed specifically for beginners, with simple controls and a layout that makes it easy to start creating music right away, even with no experience. There are templates and tutorials built right in to help guide new users.

GarageBand also provides access to a huge library of high quality instrumental and drum sounds (https://www.careersinmusic.com/how-to-use-garageband/). From realistic-sounding pianos and guitars to electronic synthesizers and beat loops, it has professional audio samples to choose from. This makes it possible to produce great sounding tracks just using the software.

Finally, GarageBand seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Apple ecosystem (https://caproni.fm/en/resources/audacity-vs-garageband-for-podcasting/). It’s pre-installed on Mac computers and iOS devices, allowing projects to be easily shared across platforms. For iPhone users, this provides a full-featured music production app that syncs with their computer work.

GarageBand Cons

While GarageBand is a powerful free music creation app, it does have some limitations users should be aware of. The biggest drawback is that GarageBand is only available on Mac and iOS devices (Source). This leaves Windows users unable to access the app. GarageBand is also more limited in capabilities compared to paid digital audio workstation (DAW) options like Logic Pro or Ableton Live (Source). The free version of GarageBand lacks certain advanced features like automation, sidechaining, and extensive effect plugins that pros may want access to.

While GarageBand covers the basics well, its relatively simple interface and feature set may leave some users wanting more customizable options and in-depth editing capabilities. The lack of VST plugin support also limits the sound design possibilities. So while GarageBand is an excellent gateway into music production, musicians may eventually outgrow its capabilities and require a more fully-featured paid DAW.

GarageBand Versus Other Options

GarageBand is the most popular free music making app available on iOS and Mac, but it faces some competition from similar apps like Soundtrap and Spotify’s Anchor app.

Compared to Soundtrap, GarageBand offers better usability for beginners and an easier learning curve. Soundtrap provides more advanced features for intermediate and expert users, like collaboration and cloud storage. However, GarageBand has the advantage of being preinstalled on all Mac and iOS devices, while Soundtrap requires a download. GarageBand also offers a larger collection of virtual instruments and loops.

Spotify’s Anchor app focuses more narrowly on podcast creation, while GarageBand provides full music production capabilities for songs, podcasts, and more. GarageBand gives more control over audio editing and effects. One advantage of Anchor is the built-in podcast distribution to Spotify and other platforms.

Overall, GarageBand remains the best free option for making music on Mac and iOS devices due to its approachability, intuitive interface, large sound library, and Apple platform integration.

Getting Started with GarageBand

GarageBand is free to download on all Mac computers and iOS devices. To download on Mac, go to the App Store and search for “GarageBand” – click Get and it will install automatically. On iPhone or iPad, download from the App Store as well. GarageBand used to be preinstalled on iOS but now needs to be downloaded. The download is free for all Apple devices (Apple).

When you first open GarageBand, you’ll see the main project browser view. Across the top are options like File, Edit, Track, Control, and Window. On the left side is the library of instruments and loops you can browse through. In the middle is the timeline showing your tracks stacked vertically.

For beginners new to GarageBand, focus first on exploring the different instruments in the library. These include Software Instruments which are digital recreations of real instruments, as well as drum machines, synthesizers, and sampled instruments. Click on an instrument to add a new track with that sound. The piano and guitar are good starters.

It’s also helpful to watch Apple’s official introductory tutorials to learn the basics of navigating the interface. Their lessons cover how to record audio, edit regions, use effects, mix tracks and export the final song.

Creating Full Songs in GarageBand

GarageBand on iOS makes it easy to record and produce complete songs. Here are some tips for creating full tracks from start to finish:

To record vocals or instruments, simply connect a microphone or guitar to your device and tap the record button. GarageBand has built-in effects like reverb and compression to enhance your recordings. According to an Apple Discussions thread, you can record multiple software instruments at once by using the track header record enable buttons (source).

GarageBand also allows you to add virtual software instruments like keyboards, drums, and bass. The Smart Drums feature generates realistic drum grooves that you can customize. As you build your song, arrange sections like verse, chorus, and bridge on the timeline.

Mixing and effects help blend all the elements together into a polished, radio-ready track. Apply volume changes, panning, EQ and other effects using the intuitive controls. Use automation to vary effects over time. Refer to filters like visual EQ to optimize the sound. According to a WordPress blog, constantly tweak notes as you mix to create the perfect sound for your song (source).

When your song is complete, export it directly to your music library or share it online. GarageBand supports exporting your song as an MP3 file or ringtone. With an Apple Music subscription, you can also share your song directly to Apple Music.

With these powerful features, GarageBand provides everything you need to produce complete songs and albums entirely on iOS devices. The intuitive interface makes music production accessible for beginners, while offering depth for more experienced users.


In summary, GarageBand is the best free app for making your own music. It offers an intuitive interface, a wide range of virtual instruments, and powerful editing tools. While it lacks some advanced features of paid DAWs, GarageBand has everything you need to create complete songs in a variety of genres.

For beginners, GarageBand’s Smart Instruments make it easy to start playing and recording music right away. The built-in lessons help you learn to play guitar, piano, drums, and more. You can even connect a MIDI keyboard to GarageBand to play instruments live.

When you’re ready to arrange your song, GarageBand provides a full multitrack studio with enough tracks for the most complex compositions. With its virtual synthesizers, drum machines, sampler, and built-in loops, you can assemble a complete arrangement without needing outside audio samples or instruments.

While other free options like Soundation and BandLab offer worthwhile alternatives, GarageBand remains the most powerful and user-friendly free DAW. For Mac users, it’s a no-brainer – GarageBand offers an unparalleled music production experience at no cost. So if you’re looking to make your own music without spending a dime, GarageBand is the best place to start.

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