I recently found myself wanting to capture some audio from the excellent Moog Model 15 iOS app onto my Macbook Pro. This isn’t a difficult thing to do by exporting audio from the recorder and sharing over Airdrop or Dropbox, or if you want a more complete solution there is the possibility of setting up audio routing between apps using Audiobridge and Inter App Audio.
I wasn’t in the mood for setting up any virtual routing between apps, something I’ve always found to be more straightforward in theory than it ends up being in practice and, while in the case of this app I could have just recorded into the internal recorder, If I had been in the studio I’d just have patched using an analogue cable. Thankfully my iPad still has a 3.5mm jack but my iPhone doesn’t. This got me thinking, is there an easy way to get out of an iOS device over a lightning cable connection and into a DAW on a Mac desktop computer?
Routing Audio From iOS Devices Over Lightning
The short answer is yes, though spoiler alert - if you use Pro Tools it’s a bit of a pain.
If you connect your Mac and your iOS device using a lightning cable you can use the iOS device as an audio device. However, it won’t show up in your core audio devices unless you enable it in Audio Midi Setup.
To get to the setting, open Audio Midi Setup in Utilities on your Mac (CMD+Shift+U), if it isn’t already open, open the Audio window by selecting Show Audio Devices from the Windows menu. You will see something like the following. Click enable and you’ll see the iOS device as an output only audio device in the audio setup settings in your DAW.
Setting Up A DAW To Record An iOS Device Over Lightning
If you want to use Logic or Studio One then using this lightning connection is straightforward. The iPad will show up in your audio devices list and you can simply use the iPad as an input device while using your regular audio interface as an output device. See the screenshots of the relevant sections of Studio One and Logic.
The options in Pro Tools are less flexible because Pro Tools doesn’t offer the facility to select a different playback engine for playback and recording. Because of this, the options are to record without monitoring, or to monitor from the iPad, or to set up an Aggregate Audio Device. Aggregate Audio devices are easy to set up but can be troublesome in practice. Pro Tools installs the Pro Tools Aggregate IO as a way to access the built in audio inputs and outputs on macs which still have them, this Aggregate IO can be the cause of issues and I wrote a piece about this and the usefulness of the Pro Tools Aggregate IO considering most Macs no longer have input and output audio hardware.
For more on setting up Aggregate IO in Pro Tools look at this piece on using USB microphones which deals with exactly the same playback engine limitation.
More Complete Solutions Are Available
For those who want to integrate iOS devices more thoroughly into their workflow there are other options using AUM and Audiobus to route audio between apps and of course Ableton users have access to Ableton Link. However, if like me, you just want to get some audio over from an iOS device and get back to using your DAW, using a Lightning cable is a handy alternative.
How do you get audio from your iOS device on to your Mac?