12 Great iPad/iPhone MIDI Controller Apps (iOS)

MIDI hardware devices can be quite an investment. They also don’t offer flexible control surfaces and layouts. That’s where MIDI Controller apps for iPads and iPhones shine.

In case you are looking for something different, here are two related articles:

If you want to take your music productions to the next level, spending a few bucks would be an investment that would go a long way.

Moreover, you would also have to install DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software and a virtual driver for wireless connectivity, which links the virtual MIDI keyboard to a DAW.

There are loads of great MIDI controllers on the App Store, from simple versions of fixed-CC generators to sophisticated systems for designing your own excellent touchscreen control surfaces.

Here is our round-up of the 10 best MIDI controller apps available online now: 

 1. Keynality

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Keynality facilitates music composition by providing a musical palette that enables the creation of chord progressions, develops certain harmonies or melodies by using either internal sounds from the built-in synth and sampler, virtual or physical MIDI source.

The app supports over 300+ musical keys, which already have more than 125 chords devised within. There are numerous scales included, such as variants of Heptatonic, Pentatonic, Hexatonic, and Octatonic. 

  • Allows you to use an oscillator, dirty synth, or sampler
  • Great connectivity with Audiobus (audio out, MIDI in/out), Inter-App Audio, and Core MIDI (virtual/hardware, in/out)

2. ChordUp

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ChordUp is a chord generating musical instrument and a MIDI controller that gives you fast access to a unique chord selector.

It supports musicians and producers to play almost any common chord instantly.

The only effort is a single touch, and the software starts playing full chords, single notes, or strum. 

  • 3 playing surfaces with several rhythm patterns; full chords, bass, and chords, strumming or arpeggios
  • 108 available chords, 10 integrated instruments, 12 pads surfaces, 6 strings surfaces
  • Octave transposition
  • Audiobus support
  • Nice chord variations and voicings

3. GeoShred Control

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It is an independent MIDI/MPE controller. If you need a simple MIDI controller without a built-in sound engine, GeoShred Control is the ideal program.

It can be used to perform MIDI/MPE synthesizers. Also, it lets users enjoy an arpeggiator, backing tracks, and 3D touch features (on devices that support 3D touch) that provide support for temperaments/world scales.

  • Flexible, expressive playing surface, brilliant pitches rounding, and inbuilt arpeggiator
  • Diatonic keyboard where every key you see on the screen is on scale
  • MIDI control (with preset configurations) using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Virtual MIDI, and digital interfaces

4. Arpeggionome Pro – matrix Arpeggiator

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Arpeggionome Pro is a matrix-control arpeggiator devised to play with your thumb. It regulates ultra-fast arpeggios with precision and brings pitchbend, tremolo, and vibrato into play with the help of your iPad’s accelerometer.

It enables the user to design an arpeggio pattern with a variety of knobs and buttons. You can move up-and-down the matrix to fix its speed, or left-and-right to set its pitch.

If you want to control the volume and pitch bend, just tilt your iPad or shake it for vibrato. The bonuses include:

  • Powerful MIDI implementation, enabling the control of other iOS music apps, external gear, and computer software
  • Most creative MIDI application
  • Supports MIDI, Ableton Link, Audiobus 3, and Inter-App Audio

5. Fugue Machine: Midi Sequencer

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Looking for unique sounds and rhythms? You will find the Midi Sequencer by Fugue Machine extremely useful.

If you’ve already got an amazing set of iOS synthesizers, the app will take your music to the next level. It is a step sequencer that has been designed with a different approach.

Not only is it a great performing sequencer, but Midi Sequencer is also a fantastic composition tool. Its revised MIDI implementation feature is quite flexible. The system for pattern backup and export works amazingly well.

The control of pitch, tempo, octave, and direction is an engaging, amazing, and creative experience. A beginner may be benefited by just tweaking and playing around a little, and so would an expert because this app is fully developed. 

  • Can create actual compositions on multiple parts of external hardware
  • Multiple play heads
  • Simple on hand with perfect results
  • Creates both simple and complex melodic sequences, keeping them interesting either way
  • Lacks the option to import midi patterns

6. Ribn

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With 8 assignable ribbons, Ribn is a unique MIDI controller app that facilitates recording and looping of your finger movement.

This results in an easy designing process of creative modulation. However, you can switch off the loop function giving you standard ribbon control. Numerous aspects highlight this amazing app, such as:

  • Configurable MIDI channel and CC# per ribbon – you can give a title to each ribbon for parameter identification
  • All settings are saved automatically
  • Supports Audiobus and Ableton Live and works with external hardware and other iOs synths
  • Simple and efficient for beginners

7. MidiLFOs

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MidiLFOs is a MIDI controller app and an AUv3 MIDI effect that circulates MIDI modulation control data to other music apps and peripheral synthesizer units. It has four independent LFOs that send 7 bit MIDI CC messages in repeating low-frequency oscillating patterns.

The app does not create any sound or music as it controls other MIDI-capable synth apps/devices. Modulate the filter cutoff frequency of your favorite synth app, the feedback amount of a delay effect, or the pitch of an external hardware synthesizer, or use all four at the same time. Other specialties of MidiLFOs include:

  • Four independent LFOs that send 7-bit MIDI CCs
  • Easily set up CoreMIDI port, channel, CC# per LFO, sync LFOs to MIDI clock or Ableton Link
  • Smoothly adjusts shape, rate, offset, lag per LFO, and modulate the rate and amount of an LFO using other LFO apps
  • Provides a large number of LFOs
  • Has great sync, key sync, tons of shapes, and shape morphing

8. Patch Base

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Patch Base is another very useful app that caters to your MIDI needs. It’s an app that includes a variety of patch editors and librarians for synthesizers with simple viewing, editing, and organization.

It offers a wide selection of popular synthesizers from Korg, Roland, Yamaha, Oberheim, and more being added as time goes on.

  • Real-time editing
  • Wide selection of synthesizers
  • Free app.

9. TouchAble Pro

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This one is the shining star. An ableton controller, touchAble Pro controls the app provides transport, metronome, cues, and quantization easily. It mixes, pan, crossfade, and control sends and returns.

The TouchAble Pro Version enables instruments with grid or piano style layouts, scales, note repeat, aftertouch, and velocity features, all at the flick of your finger. 

  • Navigates the Live’s Browser and drag and drop devices and samples
  • The new template editor is awesome

10. MIDI Controller Pro

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MIDI Controller Pro is an extremely powerful software. It allows the users to design their MIDI controller interfaces by making use of a visual designer that has all control types one could require.

However, there are still some shortcomings that can be improved. 

  • Lets users create their own layout and customize colors
  • Nice interface.

11. Midi Wrench

Screenshot of apps.apple.com

MIDI Wrench is a MIDI Monitor and Controller app that has a plethora of interesting features, designed for various uses. It is referred to as the Swiss army knife for MIDI setups.

The app is suited for MIDI setups, which means you can connect your MIDI device and edit it through the app as you please. The app also has a controller function, meaning if you don’t have a MIDI device the app will provide you with one.

  • Free app
  • Displays a list of all CoreMIDI devices
  • Virtual Keyboard
  • On-screen configurable MIDI controls.

12. MIDI Designer Pro 2

Screenshot of apps.apple.com

MIDI Designer Pro 2 is a highly rated and paid app by Confusion Studios LLC. While this app comes at a high price, it does allow a huge range of features, all combined within a portable studio on your phone. It has synths, effects, DAWs, plug-ins, and many more features to explore and use.

You can design your very own controller and start creating and editing your sound. You can also connect it to your MIDI device and take this app even further with your musical ideas.

  • Manage all MIDI-capable equipment and software
  • Design your very own controller
  • Save, load, edit, play..

Conclusion

Today, MIDI controller apps are extremely popular, IOs apps contain a wide range of MIDI controller apps. The problem with most MIDI controller apps is that they are limited to one specific type of MIDI hardware or software. However, nowadays smartphone interfaces are growing in popularity too, though most are designed for live use they can be quite useful in the studio as well.

MIDI controller apps can be a great help, whether you need a controller for your DAW or a MIDI hardware setup. However, some people do prefer the traditional MIDI controller over any app, as it is more reliable and not limited to one type of equipment.

With this list, you have a range of different apps to choose from, so you will surely be able to find an app that can suit your needs.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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