iOS 13: has music production improved since the update?

iOS has come a long way since it started on the very first iPhone. Ever since the iPhone 6 came out, I was amazed by how powerful the processor can be in terms of music production and live music playing. An iPhone can be used in place of a laptop if you need a sound engine for your MIDI and DJ controllers. Even back in iOS 9 and 10, the quality of music production was already incredible. Now that a couple of years has passed since releasing iOS 9 and the iPhone 6, I wonder how powerful is the new iOS13, along with the new generation of phones, has become in mobile music production.

It is a no brainer that the chip in the new iPhone has improved in terms of speed, which is a key ingredient in music production. The other improvements with the new iOS are:

  • Dark Mode Integration
  • New Music Platform (sharing)
  • AU3 support
  • Shortcuts
  • USB Flash Drive Support
  • Files Upgrade
  • iCloud Drive Upgrade
  • iOS Catalina Integration (iPad Sidecar)


Performance Apple A10 Fusion Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 256GB (Highest) 512GB (Highest)
Display 5.5″ (13.97 cm) 6.5″ (16.51 cm)
Battery 2900 mAh 3696 mAh
Sensors Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope   Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope  
Audio Features n/a Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
Chipset Apple A10 Fusion APL1024 Apple A13 Bionic
Graphics PowerVR GT7600 Plus Apple GPU (four-core graphics)
Architecture 64 bit 64 bit


The devices supported by the new iOS are iPhone 6S and later, including the iPhone SE.

  • iPhone 6 s
  • iPhone 6 s Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPad OS 13 supported devices:

  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air (3rd Gen)
  • iPad (5th Gen)
  • iPad (6th Gen)
  • iPad (7th Gen)
  • iPad Mini 4
  • iPad Mini (5th Gen)
  • iPad Pro


iOS 13 will be a lot faster than the previous versions, which is good news for us mobile music producers. Speed is quite essential for music production as you will have multiple data-heavy apps opened all at the same time. In newer versions of the iPhone, the upgraded chip will ensure that it will not crash even if you have multiple apps open with the addition of several MIDI devices connected.


The new iOS has new features that will impact and improve your GARAGEBAND experience. If you are a mobile music producer, I’m sure you have used GB at least once or twice. Some users only use GB exclusively, and I am sure that they will get excited with these four new iOS and iPad OS upgrades that will affect GB music production. Here are the four new features from iOS 13:

  • External Drive Support

Finally, Apple has opened its doors and offers proper external drive support to import and export files not only within the GARAGEBAND app but with the use of audio data from a flash drive or iCloud drive. You can now connect and import files from an external hard drive, flash drive, card reader. I have been an Apple user for a while now, and this update is huge. It opens up many more possibilities for the future of mobile recording.

  • Mouse Support

Another thing that is not quite mentioned enough for the new iOS update is the mouse support. Mobile Music production has now become a lot easier with the use of a mouse and the touch screen at the same time. A huge number of Apple users been asking for mouse support for quite a while now, and guess what? Apple finally gave them what they asked for.

  • Stereo Screen Capture

Screen capture has been around since the release of iOS 12. It has been an excellent tool to share your projects and songs quickly. However, the audio of the screen record was only available in mono. Now, with the new iOS, you can screen capture your projects and share the sound in stereo. This feature gives your followers a better glimpse of your audio track when you share it with them.


The new iOS now supports zip files. You can now download zip files from the web or a flash drive. The new iOS 13 will make your iPhone or iPad feel like a real computer with all of these new features. You can now zip or unzip compressed files for faster data transfers.


Some of the apps for music production have integrated the new “DARK MODE” feature to get more productive. This feature will help your eyes rest from the brightness of your screen while editing and mastering your tracks for longer durations. Not all apps have the Dark Mode integration yet, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t take too long before they do.


Apple finally drops iTunes and comes up with three separate apps, such as Apple Music, Podcasts, and TV. Because there are new music platforms, there are more ways to create and share your craft with the world. You can now upload your music and stream or sell them in the all-new Apple music app.


It is sad to say that Apple’s Inter-app audio (IAA) will be removed with the new iOS. However, Apple introduces Auv3 to their mobile devices. Audio unit version 3 is the future of mobile music recording. Before IAA or Auv3 arrived, there was AUDIOBUS. It is an app that supports almost every music production app, and connects them, so you can use different apps to record music on one DAW. However, Apple created IAA back in iOS 7 as an answer back to Audiobus.

Mobile music producers were ecstatic. Having a built-in inter-audio app is better than paying $10 bucks to do it. Audiobus, however, has some features that you won’t find in Inter-app Audio. I like to use the Audio bus to combine my apps to jam out on a MIDI controller. Auv3, on the other hand, will work to integrate more music production apps to the Garageband interface. You can do anything that can do on Audiobus and more. I like how Audiobus can be a third-party app that would work as a plugin interface for recording music in a DAW app.

With the invention Auv3, your iPhone or iPad will be as useful as a computer for recording, given that you know what you are doing. You can add VSTs and plugins to record in your preferred DAW. You can also use it to combine more sounds if you play live utilizing a keyboard or MIDI controller.


Shortcuts is another neat app you can use to create new alternatives for almost any command on an iPhone. You can use “Shortcuts” to develop ways to launch all your apps to create music easier quickly. You can also set the templates such as the volume and number of tracks you want to have with a tap of a button. You can also set your default in different keys and tempos, so you wouldn’t have to do it when you start creating a new song manually.


Files have gotten one of the most useful upgrades. You can toggle and search folders as if you are using a real PC for different purposes. In the recording, it is now easier to browse, drag, copy, and paste audio files straight to your song timeline. The same goes for editing videos or transferring pictures using a flash drive. You may also quickly delete any unwanted files from the file browser to save space on your mobile device.


  • iPad OS Upgrades and Improvements

Every time Apple gets a significant upgrade for MAC OSX or iOS, the iPad OS will not get left behind. Most of the updates in iOS apply to the iPad as well. However, the iPad OS now features “Sidecar” for Mac integration. You can now use your iPad as a secondary monitor that works seamlessly with your Apple computer. Make sure you install the newest version of MAC OSX, which is named CATALINA.

To learn more about how MAC OSX CATALINA will affect your music production, click here.

  • New Music Productions Apps for iOS/iPad

The more unique versions of the iOS and iPad OS paves the way for new apps in the market. Mobile music producers already used some apps in iOS 13, but they may have upgraded versions to full integrate with MACOSX. Here are some of the new music production apps and updates that are catching attention in the music production scene:

  • DJAY by algorithm
  • Audiobus 3
  • Ferrite Recording Studio
  • Poison-202
  • Moog Model 15
  • Fugue Machine
  • Overcast
  • Do the newer versions support MIDI Controllers?

The newer versions of iOS and iPad OS will still need a powered USB HUB to use earlier versions of a MIDI controller. However, some of the more modern MIDI controllers will already come with the necessary cables and adapters to connect it to your mobile device. With the advancement and growing popularity of Bluetooth technology, wires and cables are being phased out of the market. This action can be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference. Some new Bluetooth devices work with less to zero latency nowadays. Using modern MIDI and DJ controllers will Bluetooth connectivity to work as if they have a wired connection.

Types of MIDI controllers you can use for iOS and iPad OS


Keyboard controllers consist of keys and resemble a keyboard piano. You will need to connect the keyboard controller to a DAW to produce sound. Keyboard controllers come in different sizes. The number of keys will depend on the size of the keys and the size of the controller itself. Most modern keyboard controllers have a combination of keys, pads, and knobs.


Pad controllers consist of velocity-sensitive pads that you can use to trigger samples. Finger drumming is easier on pillows rather than keys because of the bigger and soft rubber surface. You may also assign loops on the pads. Midi pads often have different banks, so you can interchange the pads in the middle of a performance with a push of a button.


Midi control surfaces is a midi controller that is used to adjust the volume and effect levels in a DAW without having to use your mouse and keyboard. You can assign certain functions on the knobs and faders such as HPF, LFO, delay, and reverb.  Having a control surface is very helpful in mixing and mastering a song in your DAW.


DJ controllers resemble turntables. You can play live DJ sets, as well as recording a DJ set with the use of a DJ controller. On a turntable, you will have to change the vinyl records when you want to switch through different songs. Midi DJ controllers allow you to switch between tracks with just a click of your mouse. Streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud have integrated with DJ apps. This feature means you can buy a mobile compatible DJ controller and do a live DJ set without a massive sound library.


With the advancements of mobile technology nowadays, I would not be surprised if more music producers switch from using a laptop to a mobile device. However, it does not really matter as long as you can create or learn how to create the best quality of music you can do. Music production is a never-ending learning process. Even the best of the best are still learning. Every day you pick up your laptop or phone to create is another day full of learning.

Click here, for tips on how to create quality music using only your iPhone.

Recent Content