How to Fade Music In and Out in GarageBand


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With GarageBand, you can easily apply fade-in and fade-out effects to your songs.

audio editing equipment

Fading effects have several purposes. Radio DJs typically utilize fade-out to avoid “dead airing,” which is when there is silence between tracks or when they’re talking. And a fade-in allows them to begin playing the next song while the current one is coming to an end. This encourages listeners to stay tuned in.

Fade-in is also a good way to avoid shocking a listener, allowing them to ease into the song. From a creative point of view, fade-outs give listeners that satisfactory, incessant feeling when the song eventually comes to an end.

We’re going to show you how to add fade-in and fade-out effects to your music using GarageBand.

How to Fade Music Out in GarageBand

There are two ways to fade out your track in GarageBand: applying the automatic fade-out effect, or by using automation. They both achieve similar results, but there are some key differences.

Before continuing, ensure you have GarageBand installed on your Mac or iOS device. In this article, we’ll be using the GarageBand app for iOS.

Download: GarageBand for iOS | Mac (Free)

The Automatic Fade-Out Option

GarageBand has a built-in fade-out option which simplifies fading out. To add it to your track:

  1. Open your song from the Home Screen, and make sure you view it in the Mixer Window.

    Mixer Window GarageBand
  2. Tap on the Settings icon at the top right and select Song Settings.
  3. Scroll to Fade Out and turn it on.

    Automated Fade-Out GarageBand
  4. Hit Done.

This fade-out option doesn’t give you much control. It functions as a master track and adds fade-out effects over all of the track channels, so you can’t pick individual ones that will obtain the effect. You also can’t edit the fade-out, meaning it will automatically pick a point where the fade-out starts, as well as the intensity and speed of the volume drop.

This is a good option for fading out shorter tracks or edits with a small number of tracks, as not too much audio will be lost. It’s also convenient for people who aren’t too fussy about customizing their fade-outs.

Related: How to Use GarageBand and Free Music Loops to Create Your Own Tracks

Fade-Out With Automation

Automation is a tool that gives you precise control over the volume of a track. You can add it on individual tracks and stipulate exactly where you want volume changes. Here’s how to use the tool:

  1. Open your song from the Home Screen, and make sure you view it in the Mixer Window.

    Mixer Window GarageBand
  2. Locate the bar on the left that displays all your instruments and drag it to the right. This will open up a couple of settings and tools for each track.

    Track Options and Features GarageBand
  3. From the left, you’ll see a Speaker icon, tapping it will mute that track.
  4. The Headphones icon will solo the track, essentially muting all the others that don’t have that icon selected.
  5. And there is also a Volume Slider, so you can control the main output volume of each individual track.
  6. Now, from the Settings menu, ensure that the automatic Fade-Out effect is off.

    Turn Fae-Out Off GarageBand
  7. In the left bar, click on the Instrument Icon (not on the track in the timeline). This will bring up a menu with several options and features.
  8. Select Automation. This will expand all of the tracks to give you a clearer display of the volume, which is currently represented with a straight, gray line. The track on which you’re about to apply automation will be highlighted in green.

    Select Automation GarageBand
  9. At the top left, you’ll see a Pencil and a Lock. Drag (not tap) the Pencil over the Lock. This unlocks the volume point tool. Volume points are what’s going to allow you to adjust the volume.
  10. Go to the very end of the track and tap on the volume line (which will now be yellow). You’ll see a dot appear on the line.
  11. Solo the track via the Headphones icon and tap the Playback Button at the top of the window to determine when you want the track to start fading out. Place another volume point there by tapping on the line. Now there will be two dots. To get rid of a dot, simply tap on it.
  12. Locate the volume point at the end of the volume line and drag it down. You’ll see the line curve in accordance with the dots.
  13. Select Done at the top right. The lines and dots won’t be visible anymore but you’ll hear the fade-out effect during playback. To adjust your automation, simply open the automation feature on the track again.

    Automation Fade-Out GarageBand

How to Fade Music in on GarageBand

GarageBand doesn’t offer an automatic fade-in effect, so we’re going to use automation again. It’s very similar to using automation for a fade-out.

  1. In the left bar, click on the Instrument icon.
  2. Select Automation.
  3. Unlock the Pencil Tool at the top left.
  4. Go to the very beginning of the track and tap on the volume line to create a volume point.
  5. Determine when you want the track to stop fading in and place another volume point there by tapping on the line.
  6. Locate the volume point at the beginning of the track and drag it down.
  7. Select Done at the top right.

    Automation Fade-In GarageBand

Fading In and Fading Out an Entire Song on GarageBand on iOS

If you want to achieve the fade-in and fade-out effects on your entire song, you’re going to need to do some exporting and importing. Using this method is necessary since GarageBand for iOS doesn’t offer a master track.

Related: How to Make Beats on GarageBand

First, you’re going to export the song into the GarageBand file itself:

  1. From the Mixer Window, tap the arrow at the top left and select My Songs. This will save your track and redirect you to the homepage.
  2. Locate the track you want to edit, hold down on it, and select Share from the popup menu. Then, tap on Song.

    Export Track GarageBand
  3. It will prompt you to select the Audio Quality. Pick one, and tap Share at the top right.
  4. In the popup menu, select Open In, and wait for it to export. Now, in the popup menu again, select Save to Files.
  5. Locate the GarageBand for iOS folder and select GarageBand File Transfer.

    Save Track to Files GarageBand
  6. Hit Save at the top right.

Now, you’re going to import the song and edit it using the same steps for automation as above:

  1. Either open an existing file or create a new one by tapping the plus (+) icon from the home screen.
  2. Select the Loops icon at the top right, tap on Files, locate the song you just exported and drag it into the Mixer Window.

    Import Track GarageBand
  3. If you’re importing it into a file that already has tracks, remember to solo your new track by tapping the Headphones icon in the left bar.
  4. Next, follow the steps outlined above to apply fade-in and fade-out with automation and hit Done.

    Automation on Entire Track GarageBand

Fading Music Made Easy With GarageBand

Fading music in and out is a simple but impactful editing technique that most musicians and producers will use at some point. GarageBand simplifies the process, letting you quickly get the job done on your iOS device or Mac.

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