Why Logic Pro for iPad Is a Touch-First Masterpiece

Logic for iPad has been a long time coming, but the signs were all there

  • Logic Pro (and Final Cut Pro) for iPad launched on Tuesday, May 23.
  • It's a complete touch-based redesign of Apple's best Mac app.
  • Most of its features have been developed publicly, for years. 


Apple's incredible Logic Pro music suite has been released for the iPad at last—and the clues have been there all along. 

Just thirteen years after launching the iPad and a scant seven years since the coming of iPad Pro, Apple has finally rewritten Logic Pro for the iPad. On May 23, Apple announced Logic Pro and its pro-video-editing app Final Cut for the tablet is now available. It's a huge moment for both the iPad and musicians. And the twist is, most of the iPad version has been visible in the Mac version for years. 

"As a music producer and musician, I can say without any doubt that I'm happy with Logic Pro for iPad. The potent M1 and M2 chips that the iPads nowadays come with are amazing for this kind of software. The ability to create music using touch gestures and tools can offer a more fun, unique, and immediate experience, plus the portability of the iPad means that I can work on music ideas anywhere," musician and music blogger Bear Greenholtz told Lifewire via email. 

Logic Pro Gets Touch-Friendly

Logic Pro live loops interface on the iPad


When Apple released a milestone version of Logic Pro for the Mac in 2020. Logic Pro 10.5 came with some rather odd-looking new sections. The Quick Sampler, the Step Sequencer, and Live Loops all looked oversized and toy-like alongside the existing modules. They looked very… touch-friendly. At the time, I remember hoping that this meant we would get a touch-screen Mac. But really, Apple was building and testing the iPad version way back then. As you can see in the images in this article, those old Mac screenshots look pretty much exactly the same as the new iPad version. 

Porting an incredibly deep and complex app like Logic from desktop to a touch tablet is not simple. Even though the iPad now uses the same chips as the Mac, you must reimagine everything for a touch interface. 

Apple already had the basics, with its excellent GarageBand for iPad, but if you take some time to study the videos and screenshots on Apple's site, you'll see just how different Garageband is from the desktop Logic Pro while still being familiar. 

It's having everything all in one app: Linear audio and midi recording, multiple synths and drum machines, all that content, extended export options, etc.

"For me, the big one will be having everything all in one app without [resorting to] workarounds. Linear audio and midi recording, multiple synths and drum machines, all that content, extended export options, etc.," music professional and studio owner Erik Magrini aka Tarekith, said in an Audiobus forum thread participated in by Lifewire.

While touch makes some features harder (tightly-spaced, mouse-pointer-friendly) menus, it also transforms the way you work with music. For example, the new Beat Breaker lets you chop up a recorded musical phrase and play the slices back in a different order, at different pitches, all by swiping your fingers. 

Person using Logic Pro Quick Sampler on iPad


"[A]dapting these apps has always been a tall order: they're not only exceptionally powerful, but they've never been made with touch interfaces in mind. Apple says it has created a brand new touch interface for Final Cut Pro," says Apple reporter and podcaster Dan Moren on his Six Colors blog. "Logic Pro also adds a few new features, such as a new sound browser and a new time and pitch-morphing plugin called Beat Breaker."

And the above-mentioned Quick Sampler and Step Sequencer, which looked suspiciously touch-friendly when they appeared on the Mac, now really are touch-friendly. Combined with things like GarageBand for iPad's velocity-sensitive on-screen piano keyboard, Logic Pro is transformed by touch. 

Can Logic Pro Go Round-Trip?

Person playing a guitar in front of Logic Pro on iPad


You will be able to "round-trip" projects between Mac and iPad, but this makes us wonder how it will handle one big problem. While many (but not all) third-party iPad music plugins can run on the Mac, the reverse is not true. 

On the other, you can open a Mac-based project on your iPad, add parts with all your cool iPad plugins, and then move back to the Mac.

Logic Pro for the iPad is Apple finally taking the iPad seriously as a pro device. People have been using the iPad to get work done, compose music, and edit movies for years, but Apple's apps have always been cut-down (GarageBand) or hobbled (the entire iWork suite) versions of their Mac counterparts. 

Now, we can finally see what Apple thinks a pro-level iPad app should look like. Logic Pro for iPad and Final Cut Pro for iPad are both now available from the App Store for $4.99/month or $49/year.

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