The Best Music Production Apps for iOS

Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and getting away from your desktop can give you a boost of inspiration and unleash your creativity.

Mobile music production has come a long way in a very short time, with loads of great music production apps on the market for you to create new sounds on the go or just with a different set of tools.

Even though you might not need a four track recorder and mic any more to lay some tracks down now, the “less is more” principles of creating music this way can still be the same as on your smartphone or tablet.

Unfortunately, the app store divide is very real and not all apps are available on both iOS and Android - even the ones that are can differ in terms of features or performance. We’ve focused on iOS apps for this piece, but included Google Play links too where we can.

There’s also the issue of price. While you might not bat an eye spending £50 on a new plugin for your DAW, you’re very unlikely to be parting with the same amount for an app. We’ve mixed up our list with some free apps and also some paid ones for those who are happy to splash the cash.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our favourite apps for making music on your phone…

The Top 10 Best Music Production Apps for iOS



Garageband

A staple for macOS users for over 15 years now, Garageband’s versatility has helped producers, podcast owners and beginner musicians to start creating sounds with its simple and intuitive user interface.

The mobile version of Garageband has come a long way since its release on iOS in 2011, and now you can create a full song with its virtual pianos, drums, voice recorder, instrument loop, MIDI functionality and just about everything else that you could possibly want from a stripped-back DAW.

Price: £3.99 / iOS only - GarageBand

Animoog

First of all, what’s not to like about a Moog that can fit in your pocket? One of the best-selling music production apps, the Animoog captures the classic synth sound at a fraction of the price. It’s a lot to pay for an app, but still saves you hundreds off the hefty budget required to buy the real thing.

With modular synth panels, Moogerfooger pedals and more, the Animoog’s library of comprehensive sounds have been captured directly from classic vintage and modern Moog oscillators.

Price: £28.99 / iOS only - Animoog

Moog Filtatron

The Best Music Production Apps for iOS Moog Filtatron Another app from Moog Music but this one focuses mainly on filters and modulation. High-res oscillators, FX modules and LFO are just some of the key features of this neat little app, which also comes loaded with a bank of presets to give you a leg up if you have no idea where to start.

On Filtatron you can use line-in or mic inputs, samplers or the built-in oscillator to add filters and effects with a simple interface which mimics the original Moog filter. It’s less comprehensive than Animoog but it’s also a lot more affordable.

Price: £4.99 / iOS only - Filtratron

Figure and Take - Propellerhead

The Best Music Production Apps for iOS Figure and Take Of all the apps out there to help you make music, Figure is one of the most visually appealing. It’s incredibly easy to lay down some simple beats, a bass line and a lead synth within minutes, meaning you don’t need to have any existing production knowledge to get creative.

Version 3.0 comes complete with a drum machine powered by Reason’s Kong system, quantisation to keep you in time always and integration with your desktop version of Reason.

Since app developer Allihoopa closed in early 2019, the future of both apps seemed uncertain until Propellerhead reacquired both in April 2019.

Figure - Price: Free / iOS only - Figure

Take - Price: Free / iOS only - Take

Korg iElectribe

The Best Music Production Apps for iOS Korg iElectribe If you still need convincing that mobile apps aren’t powerful enough to create full releases then here’s where the buck stops. Whilst the Gorillaz toured the US in support of their 2010 album Plastic Beach, the virtual band’s frontman Damon Albarn create an entire record using a guitar, a handful of keyboards and an iPad with Korg’s iELECTRIBE installed.

While the impact of the album wasn’t as great as their other releases, Korg were impressed enough to create a special Gorillaz edition of the app, giving fans the opportunity to remix the tracks from the album.

Price: £19.99 / iOS only - KORG iELECTRIBE

Korg iKaossilator

As far as virtual instruments go, few look as cool as the Kaosillator, with bold, colour graphics giving you an exciting visual experience as well as a unique method of making new sounds. Whilst the proper kit can cost you a few hundred quid, the iKaossilator app is a fun and easy way of using their X-Y pad design to provide an expressive way of creating music at a fraction of the cost.

You can make new sounds by stroking, tapping or rubbing your device’s screen, use one of the 150 strong bank of built-in sounds, create a looped sequencer with multiple parts and much, much more.

Price: £19.99 / iOS only - KORG iKAOSSILATOR

Steinberg Cubasis 2

The Best Music Production Apps for iOS Cubasis 2 One of the most popular desktop DAWs moved over to mobile to take on Garageband in a big way. Since then, the second generation of Cubasis apps continues to push the boundaries of what should be possible on an iOS device with an incredibly powerful music system in your hands.

In one project you can have an unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks, assign up to 24 inputs and outputs, take advantage of the built-in VSTs and synthesizers. Mixdown within the app or link up with your desktop Cubase to pick up from where you left off. If you want to have a play without investing the cost, you can download a limited version in Cubasis LE 2.

Price: £23.99 / iOS only - Cubasis 2

Native Instruments iMaschine 2

Native Instruments’ iMaschine combines the classic pad input everyone knows and loves with the dexterity and intuitive controls of your iOS’s screens device. This means you can control the attack and release of notes with ease, as well as creating quick drum beats, sequencing and samples using the collection of sounds and projects in the huge library. For just under a tenner it might not give you the full experience of the Maschine MK3 but it’s a good starting point.

Price: £9.99 / iOS only - iMaschine 2

Casio Chordana Play

For years Casio have been at the forefront of music education, going all the way back to light-up keys to help beginners find their way through the early stages of learning the piano. Chordana Play has an intuitive music score and piano roll notation interface to teach you one of the 50 songs included in the app using the onscreen piano or linking with a compatible keyboard.

Best of all, it’s a free app and learning a few basic chords and patterns on a keyboard can make a huge difference to your music production so why wouldn’t you want to invest a few hours in having a play with Chordana Play?

Price: Free / iOS - Chordana Play

Voice Memos

The Best Music Production Apps for iOS Voice Memos Yep, that’s right - Voice Memos. The humble voice recorder app might not have all the bells and whistles of a bespoke DAW or an emulated synthesiser but its simplicity can help you capture ideas or sounds quickly and easily. If you get an idea for a new vocal melody, lyrics to make your next killer hook or just a song on the radio that you like the sound of then simply open up the app and hit record. Gathering your own bank of rough ideas and sounds gives you plenty of options for creativity should producers block kick in.

Price: Free / iOS - Voice Memos



So there we have it, our favourite apps for music production on smartphones and tablets. If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, check out our DAW templates for the likes of Maschine.

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