You might have come across this like I did that when you start to record in garageband you can only record for about 8 seconds. For the musical types this might make sense but for those like me who pick up and fiddle about with things, its confusing. Here’s how you increase the recording time in Garageband.

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It’s a mystery why Garageband limits recordings by defaults to 8 bars which just happens to equate to 8 seconds of auto.

Ready to record your first Podcast in Garage Band that’s longer than 8 seconds? Right then, fire up garageband and get the recording screen. On the top bar where the slider moves along at the top, tap the nicely hidden + button. This brings up the song sections dialogue.

The guide has been updated for the latest versions of Garageband for iPad and it applies to the Mac version of GarageBand as well.

And before we get into the HOW TO if you use GarageBand, produce a podcast or anything at all (within reason) let us know and we’ll be happy to share your creations with the world. Hit the contact us link at the top and go from there.

20120505 145240 How to increase the recording time in Garageband for iPad or iPhone

Tap on the area that says “Section A 8 Bars” or whatever you have there if you’ve already been tinkering to get the below options.

20120505 145951 How to increase the recording time in Garageband for iPad or iPhone

Slide Automatic to the right and Garageband should look like this.

20120505 145248 How to increase the recording time in Garageband for iPad or iPhone

Tap anywhere on the screen and start recording.  You can now record for more than 8 seconds.

The same also applies when trying to increase the recording time for garageband on your iPhone. Did you know that it’s easy to hook up a decent microphone to your iPad or iPhone in the guise of a 3.5mm jack to XLR box which will allow you to use a condenser microphone if you do podcasting.

 How to increase the recording time in Garageband for iPad or iPhone

Check out how we record the EssentialApple Podcast article where we take you through all the steps for a decent enough sounding podcast.


  1. Remember when Apple products used to be intuitive? Now everything is just a pain the ass.

  2. I’d not say everything :). Sure GarageBand is a bit of a mystery as to why it only does 12 bars (something like that) but pages, numbers, Keynote give a blank slate to work with. Afaik the GarageBand issue has been like this since the iPad 2 times 🙂

  3. I cannot believe the stupidity of a song-recording software that by default stops at 8 bars. Do people customarily stop singing a song after 8 bars? It’s like they’ve deliberately planned and put stupidity into it.

    And given that senseless frustration, they should have some OBVIOUS way to extend it. On my Garageband, you can add an extension, and the software then begins recording at the 25th bar. Great. Or at the 8th bar it goes back and records over the first 8 bars!

    It’s like, WTF? What A-grade fucken moron dreamt this up?

  4. I agree with the frustration all apple users, including multi-decade, dipped in 1984 silicon originals, who know their way around a user interface. Only to have all user controls yanked away ironically not long after the disastrous Apple/Microsoft lovefest followed by a icons-only auto-hide home desktop nav (which I’ve adapted to but my point is…) Dumbed down apps/programs are such a wasted opportunity to improve the world.

  5. Just stumbled through the same issue. This was a very helpful post. Apple: The New Microsoft should be their slogan. Insult to boot, without Google, we’d never be able to find the answer to their software failings.

  6. I have stupidly tried to use GarageBand for a long time it is the most frustrating program I have ever encountered. As someone stated above why in the name of heaven you would stop recording after eight seconds is simply a mystery to me. I hate all the smirky musicians to say it makes sense I don’t care what anybody says it does not make sense. I’ve earned thousands of dollars playing music and it doesn’t make sense to me.

  7. I was recording very nicely for days, it was going great, did a couple pieces, all way more than 8 bars, with absolutely no hint of a problem. Then I laid down a full-length track and looked up at the end to see NOTHING was recorded. WTF suddenly it stopped listening to the mic. A quit/relaunch of GB, reboot the Zoom, no change. Why am I even bothering to type this.

  8. This is the stupidest default setting in the entire world. I ONLY bought an iPad to work with music. I can’t describe how stupid this is.

  9. Thanks, Mark – was pulling my hair, about to quit music and take up painting. 😛 Totally agree with all the commenters about this being really, really STUPID! And “+” sign to change to Automatic seems purposely tiny, as though trying to hide. And it’s not just Apple – Microsoft and Google have also joined the “hide the function” evil cabal.

  10. Apple shit the bed when the company went public! That is when they moved from being the artistic industries cutting-edge innovator with the software programs that always worked flawlessly with every new iOS to just another money grubbing corporate POS company that doesn’t care at all about the people like myself that have used them since 1995 and a garage band user since it’s first release. I remember being amazed that I could now record at home the same as when I was doing session work in major studios. Now nothing is setup to work together anymore nothing is backwards compatible and every new OS takes so much more space that you lose programs capability with nearly every update. They intentionally outdate their own products to force you to buy the newest version of whatever you are operating. They have literally cost me jobs by suddenly not having my digital interface compatible or only getting An 8 bar recording or the plethora of other hassles that have been issues over the past few years. It’s time for someone else to release a new studio app that is reasonablly priced easy to use and doesn’t out date the current model with every new update. Shame on you Apple for shitting all over your founders dream of maybe not being the biggest but for sure being the best with your new philosophy of screw your current customer just to land another one mentality. I literally hate this company now but their nature is so transparent at this point its only a matter of time before their reputation reflects their business ethics and lack of loyalty to their to their longtime supporters like myself. In case this was at all ambiguous let me end with f#*ck you Apple I can’t wait for your replacement to hit the market so I can throw all of your products into my fire pit and have the most satisfying non fire perhaps of my life.

  11. … and here we are in March 2023 with the same problem.
    My PC was causing too much noise for my podcast recordings, so I thought… Fanless! Yay, set up my iPad, cued the track, checked my levels and hit record. I saw the track laying down and then spoke for about 45 minutes in a single take… Went to the iPad to stop the recording, and Boom!!! WTF were the last 45 minutes gone? All I had was 8 seconds.

    Truly bizarre.

    I use Reaper FM for my editing on the PC, but this doesn’t run on iOS. Fortunately, my 11-year-old Macbook Pro is all but silent, so I was able to run reaper FM on that but what a total PITA!

  12. It’s astonishing this issue still exists. Ran into it last night and spent 10 minutes looking for the cleverly hidden fix and failed. Apple spends it’s time making new icons for their latest and greatest OS but can’t be bothered to read 10 years worth of gripes to fix their horrible UI . Tsk tsk.

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