How To Update GarageBand with Nearly 1,000 Instruments and Loops for Free!

Since even the early versions of Apple’s GarageBand software for OS X, Apple has released packs (previous known as Jam Packs) of both additional software instruments and Apple Loops. The trouble has always been finding these additional packs so you could download them. Unfortunately, they’re as difficult and convoluted to download even today. I put together this short tutorial so that others may more easily reap the benefits of additional instruments and Loops.

The latest “jam pack” which oddly enough isn’t labeled as such any longer, includes an additional 60+ software instruments and over 650 more Apple Loops. The download is rather large, at 1.2 gigabytes, but the extra content is definitely worth it (and it’s free!).

This extra content is treated as an update to GarageBand, and just as with all software updates nowadays (for OS X 10.7 and 10.8, anyways) you will download the update in the Software Update tab of the OS X App Store. The trick is getting the update to show up so you can download it; here’s how:

1) Open GarageBand and either create a new project or open an existing one (don’t worry, we won’t be making any edits to the project).

2) Navigate to the Loops section by clicking on the Loops button in the lower right corner of the application.

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3) Next, you have to find a Loop that GarageBand knows exists, but has yet to be downloaded. It appears Apple let GarageBand know that there are other Loops in existence that were not opted to be included in the base install of the application.

The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to first Click on the “Rock/Blues” category to narrow the number of Loops displayed, and then find the “70s Ballad Drums 01”; which will appear slightly greyed out and its icon will be an empty box with a dashed border.

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4) Double-click on the missing Loop, and a rather large (and semi-confusing) dialogue box appears. In short, you want to select the “Download Now” option and click OK.

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5) Next, you need to open the App Store application and navigate to the Updates tab. Once there, you will find the ‘Update’ to GarageBand nestled under Software Updates for OS X. It is entitled “GarageBand Instruments and Apple Loops 1.0”.

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Even though the large dialogue box in GarageBand said the update would be downloaded “now”; when I went through this process it did not automatically start the download. This may be due to how I have automatic updates turned off on my machine (for development reasons); so it may have already started downloading for you at this point, but just make sure the 'Update’ is downloading and you’ll be good to go!

One quick thing to note: you will have to quit and reopen GarageBand before you can start using the new software instruments and Loops that were downloaded.

Hope this helps, and happy jamming in GarageBand!