The best iOS music apps

This page lists the best music apps for iPhone and iPad,in my opinion. I tried to avoid duplicates and repetitions and did not insert good apps whose features overlap with those already in the list (and that,in my opinion,are slightly better or offer additional features).

Click on the name to visit the iTunes page,click on the icon on the product home page.

Digital Audio Workstations (DAW)

GarageBand
The musical production software by Apple,simple and versatile,with 8 tracks,touch and smart instruments,voice and guitar effects,arpeggiator and much more.
Cubasis
The iPad version of Cubase by Steinberg,one of the most powerful sequencers for PC and Mac. A must-have.
Auria
A state-of-the-art 48 track digital recording system,that can be expanded with plug-ins from many 3rd-party vendors.
MusicStudio
A powerful DAW with up to 127 audio and MIDI tracks,many sampled instruments,pads,roll bar editor,sample editor,drum loops,and effects.
NanoStudio
A synth with very good preset sounds,sequencer,drum machine,virtual keyboards and pads,note editor,effects,and the ability to control all these parameters via MIDI.
FL Studio Mobile
A music production system that is very similar to MusicStudio,but is also compatible with the desktop version of FL Studio.
Meteor
A 24-track recorder with audio and MIDI editors,virtual instruments,effects,and tons of great features.
BeatMaker 2
A music production system,with virtual keyboard and drum machine,effects,unlimited number of tracks and the ability to sample your own sounds and instruments.
MultiTrack DAW
An 8-track recorder (expandable to 24 tracks) that supports non-linear editing,several master and bus effects,and input via Audiobus.

Synths

Addictive Synth
A great synth based on additive synth,with morphing between sounds,a 4-track looper and one of the best arpeggiators for iOS.
Animoog
A super-synth for iOS from the creators of the mythical Moog.
Thor
The iPad version of the mythical synth included in Windows/Mac Reasons software,by Propellerheads.
Audulus
An environment for creating your customized modular synth,with MIDI features and effects.
Magellan
A synth that features two independent synt engines,each one with separate filters,effects,LFOs,arpeggiator,step sequencer. Fully MIDI implementation.
Sunrizer Synth
A very “aggressive”synth,based on SuperSaw technology.
Alchemy Mobile
The iOS version of Alchemy synth for PC/Mac,with which it can share presets and loops. Very good to create evolving sounds,thanks to its remix pad.
iMS-20
The iPad version of Korg’s MS-20 monophonic analog synthesizer,combine with a step sequencer and a mixer.
Figure
A simple app that can create loops with bass,drums and lead,based on the technology developed for the popular Reasons virtual instrument.
GyroSynth
A simple handheld synth for iPhone that uses the accelerometer.

Samplers

ThumbJam
One of the most expressive instruments for iOS,with sampled instruments and loops,session recordings,and voice-to-midi capabilities.
SampleTank
A sampler with over 600 instruments and 1000+ rhythmic riffs,pads,and 4-track recorder.
iGrand Piano
A high-definition stereo sample piano,with 9 piano models and full MIDI support for the highest expressiveness.
iLectric Piano
A great collection of perfectly sampled famous electric pianos
SampleWiz
A sampler that allows you to record your samples on the fly and modify them,using three different synthesis techniques.
Gestrument
An innovative music generator,that allows you to compose new music (and control other apps via MIDI) by simply swiping your finger across the iPad display.
bismark bs-16i
A multitimbral sample player,that supports SF2 soundfonts (including your own soundfonts) and extensive MIDI capabilities.

Virtual guitars

OMGuitar
A guitar simulator that uses intelligent algorhitms to adapt itself to the musician’s playing style.
iShred
A guitar for iPhone and iPad that is really playable,thanks to buttons that correspond to chords and scales.
12-String Guitar
A good 12-string guitar simulator,with automatic strumming and arpeggios and three guitar models.
Guitarist
An excellent guitar simulator,good both for comping and soloing;includes a session recorder and several effects.

Drum machines

DM1
A vintage (and free) drum machine with tons of drum kits and many interesting features.
Instant Drummer
A family of apps that generate drum parts in various styles,with different tempos and styles.
iKaossilator
The iPad version of Korg’s Kaossilator hand-held device for producing loop-based dance,hip-hop,techno,and dubstep music.
iElectribe
The iPad implementation of Korg’s Electribe•R device,used by countless dance music producers.
ReBirth
The iPad implementation of Propellerhead’s Techno Micro Composer,which combines two TB-303 Bass Line synths,one Roland TR-808,one Roland TR-909,a step sequencer,an FX unit,and a mixer.
Stochastik Drum Machine
A classic drum machine with the ability to play random beats to generate millions of different grooves.
Robotic Drums
A drum synth with a probabilistic sequencer,with Audiobus,Midi Clock,and Dropbox support.

Percussion

DrumJam
A drum machine with several instruments and custom drum kits,plus the ability to solo on preprogrammed grooves and tweak the sound using filters and other effects.
Drums XD
A realistic drum simulator for iPad.
Impaktor
A very peculiar synth drum,which allows you to turn any surface into a playable percussion instrument,with several effects,filters,and a 6-track recorder.
Kalimba Live
A kalimba simulator,with 5 different instruments,effects and the ability to record your own performance.

Loops and mash-up

GrooveMaker 2
A family of apps to create loops and grooves without having to learn music theory.
LoopMash HD
A groove generator based on the concept of track similiarity,from the producers of the popular Cubase for PC/Mac.
Studio.HD
A good program to manage and combine prerecorded loops and to record your own audio tracks,to apply effects,etc.
GlitchBreaks
An app for mashing up 4 different samples and use them as drum sample,control delay and other effects,and more.
Loop Twister
A simple but complete beat-remixing app,loaded with about one loops and the ability to load your own samples.

Matrix sequencers

TNR-i
The iOS version of the popular Tenori-On by Yamaha,to create grooves and loops,either deterministic or random.
Aurora Sound StudioAurora Sound Studio
One of the most flexible grid-oriented apps,with internal synth and generative options.
Genome Midi Sequencer
A pattern-based MIDI sequencer.
SoundGrid Live!
A loop to build loops and sequences,similar to the Tenori-On.
Synth Arp & Drum Pad
A quite complete MIDI arpeggiator,which includes a synth as well as pads to play rhythmic sequences.

Generative sequencers

Mixtikl
One of the most complete programs for generative music,with loops and with MIDI sequences that evolves in time.
XynthesizrXynthesizr
A 32-step matrix sequencer/synthesizer with MIDI output and generative features.
Otomata
A generative music app,based on cell automation theory.
Sound Cells
A generative music app based on cell automation theory,with MIDI capabilities
NodeBeat
A generator of loops and ambient music,with the ability to send MIDI sequences.

Effects for guitar

AmpliTube
The most popular program to add effects to guitar and bass,with built-in recorder and optional MIDI control.
AmpKit+
A flexible program to create effect chains for guitar and bass.
Shredder
A synth for guitar,that is also able to control MIDI instruments and apps that support Virtual MIDI.
JamUp Pro XT
An app to create effect chains for guitar and bass players;includes a looper,30 effects,and 17 amps (some of them available through in-app purchase).
PocketGK –Bass Guitar Amp
An amp and effect simulator,designed especially for bass player in collaboration with Gallien-Krueger Corporation.
LiveFX
A dynamic effect processor,with Audiobus support and the ability to use up to four effects at once.

Loopers, harmonizers, vocoders

VocaLive
A suite of effects for singers and acoustic instruments.
Loopy HD
A loop station that is able to manage 6,9,or 12 simultaneous loops,also with MIDI control.
iVoxel
A synth + vocoder based on sound particle (“voxel”) manipulation.
VoiceSynth
A vocoder that is able to radically modify the sound of your voice (pitch,gender,timbre),with a 24-band equalizer and other effects.
Harmony Voice
An harmonizer that is able to generate up to 4 additional voices,either manually (using the built-in or external keyboard) or automatically.
VoiceJam
A loop station for singers by TC-Helicon,that allows up to 6 simultaneous loops and a few high-quality effects.
ImproVox
A simple but effective harmonizer and vocal processor,with several harmonization styles and effects.

Utilities

Audiobus
This must-have app allows you to route the audio output from one or more apps into other apps,to process or record it.
AudioShare
A powerful audio document manager,with flexible import and export capabilities,and support for a multitude of file formats.
MidiBridge
A MIDI router/patchbay,which allos to redirect the flux of MIDI messages,filter messages,modify their channel and other values,and so on.

Score management

Calypso Score
Arguably the best score manager for the iPad,with automatic page layout,annotations,associated audio files,and more.
Symphony Pro
A complete music notation program;scores can be played and exported as PDF,MusicXML and other formats.
forScore
A manager for scores in PDF format;it supports annotations and includes an automatic page changer.
iGigBook
An app to store and display fake books with hundreds of scores in PDF format.
Guitar Pro
Stores and plays guitar scores,displays the tabs,etc.
OnSong
Manages song collections,with lyrics and chords,supports annotations,displays on an external monitor,and more.
Achording
A meta-search engine of guitar chords and tabs,with auto-scroll features and the ability to save tabs locally.
SyncScore
A new way to enjoy and study classical music compositions:you listen to the music while its score flows on the display in a synchronized fashion.

Practicing

iReal Pro
An archive of chord progressions,it can produce the comping and displays the piano fingerings and the guitar tablatures (available as in-app purchases).
SessionBand
A family of apps that let you create a song using pre-recorded sampled loops with piano,guitar,bass,drums,etc.
Ear Trainer
A series of 160+ exercises that teach you how to recognize intervals,chords,and scales.
Beat On
An advanced metronome,with many customization options and training modes.
Steinway Metronome
A free metronome,produces sounds or just a visual clue,supports many time signatures.
n-Track Tuner
A chromatic tuner that can compete with expensive hardware instruments.
Slow Down Music Trainer
A special music player that can slow down a song without altering the pitch,allows to study the most difficult themes and solos with ease.
Play By Ear
This app allows you to exercise your ear training abilities by using your own instrument.
Drum School
An excellent program that teaches how to play drums,for players of all levels.
VocalizeU
A complete training course for singers and vocalists,with videos,theory lessons,and voice analysis to propose how to fix your own mistakes.

MIDI controllers

Midi Studio
A simple MIDI controller,with virtual keyboard,faders,knobs,buttons,and a mixer.
Midi Designer Pro
A very complete MIDI controller for iOS,with multiple pages and support for MIDI pedalboards.
Lemur
The most complete (and expensive) MIDI controller for iPad,with scripting capabilities,physics,tons of powerful features,and many available templates.
Mira
A controller for Max applications running on Windows or Mac.
Band-in-a-Box
A controller for a Band-in-a-Box application running on Windows or Mac.
iMoov
A MIDI controller for iPhone,able to send messages when the accelerometer reacts to special movements.
Midi Player
A MIDI file player,with the ability to create loops,modify the instrument assigned to each track,change volume and pan,and record audio tracks.

DJ-ing

iDJ
A simple app to create mixed sequences of songs,with beat matching and cross-fading.
djay
One of the best app for DJs,with dual turntable,scratching,loops,cues,and effects.
DJ Rig
Another DJ app,with dual turntable,scratching,3-band EQ,9 pads,and many effects.

Players, radios, recorders

Equalizer Pro
A music player that supports FLAC and OGG files and that includes a very good band equalizer.
Audiophile for iPad
An enhanced music player that uses the MaxxAudio technology for a better listening experience,with support for FLAC,WAV,and many other formats
TuneIn Pro
A player for 50,000 radio stations,with the ability to search for an artist or song,pause,resume,and record what is on the air.
iRig Recorder
The simplest way to turn the iPhone/iPad into a digital portable recorder.
Classical Masters –Anywhere Artist
A collection of compositions from famous classical music composers,with pictures,bios,and useful links.
Classical Music Master Collection
A collection of 700+ famous classical music compositions.

Miscellaneous

SoundHound
A free app for song tagging,that is the ability to automatically recognize the song being played in the mic.
Tango Remote
A simple app to remotely control the music player of another iOS device.
Songify
Say something –anything! –and this app will turn your words into a song.
AutoRap
Just speak into the mic to create your next rap hit!