Solving the Mystery of Greyed-Out GarageBand Files

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If you’ve ever opened GarageBand and noticed that some of your files are greyed out, it can be a bit of a head-scratcher. You may have thought that this meant the files were inaccessible, but luckily there is a way to get them back and make them usable in GarageBand.

The cause of this issue is usually due to the fact that the file type is not one of the standardized audio files (AIFF, CAF, WAV, AAC, Apple Lossless, and MP3) accepted by GarageBand. It could also be because the file was downloaded from an mp3 converter or ripped from a protected CD. In either case, the solution is easy: convert the file into a WAV format or a standardized MP3.

You can use programs like Media Converter (for iOS users) or Online-Convert (for macOS and iOS users) to convert your audio files into an acceptable format for GarageBand. Once you’ve completed the conversion process, you should see your previously greyed-out files turn white and they will now be accessible within GarageBand.

It’s also important to note that any songs you download from Apple Music will appear in iTunes but won’t be usable in GarageBand because it uses its own specific file types. Additionally, the file browser in Numbers, Pages and Keynote Apps will only allow access to files compatible with those Apps. Any other type of file will show up as a grey “ghost” icon.

We hope this article has given you some insight into why some of your audio files may appear greyed out in GarageBand and how to make them usable again!

Troubleshooting Greyed-Out MP3 Files in GarageBand

The most likely reason your MP3 file is greyed out in GarageBand is because it was not created using a standardized audio file format such as AIFF, CAF, WAV, AAC, Apple Lossless, or MP3. GarageBand only accepts files that have been made using these formats and cannot recognize files downloaded from Youtube to MP3 converters. To fix this issue, you can right-click on the file and rename it to a .wav extension.

Solving the Mystery of Greyed-Out GarageBand Files 1

Greyed Out Files in GarageBand on iPhone

The files may be greyed out on iPhone GarageBand because they are not compatible with the app. GarageBand only supports crtain audio file formats, including WAV and standardized MP3. If the audio files you’re trying to use are in a different format, they will appear grayed out. To fix this, you need to convert the audio files into a supported format such as WAV or MP3. You can use Media Converter (iOS) or Online-Convert (macOS and iOS) to easily convert your files into an appropriate format for GarageBand.

Troubleshooting Issues with Files Not Working on GarageBand

GarageBand requires certain types of audio files to work properly, and the files you are trying to use may not be compatible. Music purchased from the iTunes Store is in a protected AAC audio file format, which cannot be used in GarageBand. Additionally, any music ripped from a CD is likely not in a compatible format for GarageBand either. If you want to use songs with GarageBand, you’ll need to purchase them in a supported format (e.g. .mp3) from a vendor other than the iTunes Store or rip them from CDs as uncompressed WAV or AIFF files.


In conclusion, it is not possible to import MP3s into GarageBand because it only accepts certain standardized audio files. To fix files that appear greyed-out in GarageBand, you must convert them into a WAV file or a standardized MP3 using Media Converter (iOS) or Online-Convert (macOS and iOS). Additionally, any song downloaded from Apple Music will appear in iTunes but will stll not be usable in GarageBand. The file browser within Numbers, Pages and Keynote Apps will only allow access to files compatible with the App. Any other files are shown as a grey “ghost” icon.

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Sanjeev Singh

Sanjeev is the tech editor at DeviceMAG. He has a keen interest in all things technology, and loves to write about the latest developments in the industry. He has a passion for quality-focused journalism and believes in using technology to make people's lives better. He has worked in the tech industry for over 15 years, and has written for some of the biggest tech blogs in the world. Sanjeev is also an avid photographer and loves spending time with his family.