Can You Download an Older Version of GarageBand?

Having trouble downloading GarageBand onto your Mac?

You’re not alone.

It seems to be a big issue for some Mac users at the moment. 

I explore the issue and offer some solutions in the video below.

Update to Big Sur

The latest version of GarageBand, version 10.4 and above is only available to users who are running MacOS Big Sur. So if you haven’t updated to Big Sur, doing so will allow you to download GarageBand from the Mac app store. 

Simple, right?

Well, no. Hardware and software compatibility issues and macOS updates unfortunately go hand in hand nowadays so holding off from updating to Apple’s shiny new operating system until all the wrinkles have been ironed out is perfectly understandable.

Having said that most big issues with Big Sur have been sorted, so you shouldn’t really run into many issues though a quick google search will be able to tell you if a particular piece of hardware or software that you rely on is compatible. 

Another issue you may run into regarding Big Sur is the age of your Mac. Machines older than six or seven years old are unable to install Apple’s latest operating system and as such, are unable to install the latest version of GarageBand. Owning an older machine can actually stop you from accessing any version of GarageBand, but more on that later. 

If you have a machine older than the models displayed on screen now then unfortunately you won’t have access to big sur or GarageBand version 10.4. 

If you do plan to update to Big Sur, as always make sure you make a Time Machine backup first. That way if you DO have compatibility issues or just hate it or something, you can revert back to your current setup.

Purchased Tab

If you don’t have GarageBand installed, and can’t access the latest version via the Mac App Store, but you HAVE downloaded and installed at some point with the iCloud account you’re signed into your Mac with then it should be a simple fix.

  • Open the Mac App store
  • Click on your face – it’s in the bottom left of the window for me, it may be somewhere else for you if you’re running a version of macOS older than Mojave.
  • Scroll through this list of previously purchased apps until you find GarageBand.
  • Click to download it and the last available version that is compatible with your machine will be installed on your Mac. 

No, this won’t be the newer 10.4 version, it’ll probably be 10.3.5 which despite looking different from the current version, works in exactly the same way, you’re not missing out on any big features by using this older version or anything. 

What About Older Macs?

If you’ve bought an older, Big Sur incompatible Mac second hand and don’t have any purchase history linked to your iCloud account then you’re probably wondering how you can download an older version of GarageBand that works with your Machine, right? There must be a page or link on apple’s website that will let new Apple users with older Macs download the newest version that your machine can handle.


Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

It’s bizarre. I honestly thought that I must just be missing something really obvious, so I reached out to Apple support on Twitter, figuring that they would surely be able to point me in the direction…. 

After mentioning the solutions I’ve already mentioned in this video, they invited me to DM them for more info. Which i did.

 After ‘meeting them in DM’ the Apple support person went on to say that “it does not appear that there is is a way to get an older version of GarageBand without owning the software previously”. They went on to say that I could schedule a call with a GarageBand specialist to discuss further. Which I did. The person on the phone was very nice and was genuinely trying to be helpful, but in the end answered the question ‘Can You Download an Older Version of GarageBand? by saying that there is currently no way to get an older version of GarageBand without owning the software previously. 


Andrew left a comment on this post a while back with a solution that seems to work. Here’s his comment in full:

I’m running OS 10.12.6. I don’t have Garageband associated with my appleID, so the App Store wouldn’t allow me to download it. I thought I was screwed. But I actually figured out a way. My wife has a new Mac Pro. I had her create a 2nd user profile for me and signed in with my Apple ID. Since it’s a newer machine, it had GarageBand already installed. I simply deleted it, then downloaded it again using my Apple ID. That’s it! I logged back into the old machine and went to the App Store. GarageBand is now associated with my Apple ID. When I clicked “Install”, it gave me the message indicating it will download an older compatible version. Today, June 20, 2022, I was able to install an old version of GarageBand on a machine running Sierra 10.12.6, with an Apple ID that didn’t previously have any version of GarageBand associated with it. And it actually works!

If you try this method and it works, please take a second to thank Andrew in the comments below!