It’s the most helpless feeling in the world of recording. You’re halfway through—or worse, wrapping up—an epic guitar solo or an entertaining two hour-long podcast, and you notice GarageBand isn’t responding. Oh no. The infamous beach ball is spinning, and it looks like your genius may be gone forever.

Luckily, there is a way to recoup this seemingly lost audio, even if your project appears empty. Following a scare on Monday when lightning made my power flicker in the final minutes of our Let’s Talk iOS recording, I came across this cool tip for recovering my GarageBand file that was created before the software crashed.

How to recover a GarageBand recording if it crashes

Step 1: The first thing you need to do is locate the GarageBand file you were recording in when the app crashed. This should be fairly easy, as GarageBand forces you to pick a save destination when starting a new project, but if you can’t find it, try doing a search for ‘.band’ in Finder.

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Step 2: Once you’ve found the file, right-click on it and select ‘Show Package Contents.’ This should take you to a directory, which houses a variety of folders. Find the one labeled ‘Media’ and open it.

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Step 3: Inside the Media folder, you should see an .aif file (if you have multiple .aif files, find the largest one). This is your recording. Simply open GarageBand and drag and drop the file into your project. And that’s all there is to it! Just to be sure, though, you’ll probably want to press Play to verify you have the correct audio.


For context, I am running GarageBand ’11 6.0.5 on OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, and have read this tip works for folks on GarageBand ’09. It’s also worth noting that my MacBook did not turn off between GarageBand crashing and me locating the file. The brief power outage just caused GarageBand to freeze.

Did this tip work for you? Feel free to tell us about your experience or ask questions down in the comments below!

Source: Tom Elliot

  • Bert Sierra

    This is a very helpful post, and MAY enable me to recover two very long stereo binaural recordings I have made of ambient “monsoon storm” audio out here in Prescott, Arizona.

    I let GarageBand record my two Behringer B-5 mics through a pro-grade Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB audio interface yesterday during a hailstorm. Let it run three hours… reviewed (replayed) the captured stereo (binaural format) audio in GB. Everything was hunky dory until I tried to save the GB project and then when I saved it… there was an error in the WAV file being copied, and when I relaunched GB and tried to play back the recording, it said the associated WAV file for that one stereo track was missing.

    I thought it might be a one-time issue, but the same exact thing occurred the next evening when I tried to record the heavy thundershowers on that night. Missing WAV file. Same symptoms.

    This doesn’t occur with my 60-minute and 100-minute recordings, but when you go to 180-minutes in GB 10.2.0 (over macOS Sierra 10.12.5 on a nice 2012-era iMac i7 with 32GB), the exact same failures seem to occur.

    So I’ll definitely be filing a bug report with Apple, but those three hour recordings were so “one of a kind” and irreplaceable, that there may be some help in recovery of the underlying WAV files. I should also point out that TIme Machine won’t be of any use in recovering those files as I recently had to reformat a 6TB volume and so TIme Machine is still dealing with what appears to be new content that needs to be backed up. There’s zero chance those WAV files were ever backed up.

    Thanks again for this most informative writeup!

  • Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I recorded nearly two hours of podcast content and GarageBand force closed on us. Thanks to your post, we were able to recover the recording without any issue.