The 5 Best iPad DJ Apps For 2016

iPad DJing

With great power comes great responsibility. The current crop of iPads are stronger than ever, but have iOS DJ apps caught up? We round up the five best from pro to casual, including the one on the iPad Pros used by Juicy M pictured here.

It's been a little over a year since we published our first iOS DJ app roundup, and quite a bit's changed for the platform: the introduction of the iPad Pro brought desktop processing power to mobile, plus the bump in maximum hard drive space to 256GB for the new iPad Pro 9.7" brings iPads closer to laptop spec than ever before. We're all just practically waiting for iOS to catch up with all this power!

In this roundup, we bring you five of our top iPad DJ app picks for 2016.

The 5 Best iPad DJ Apps

1. djay Pro

djay Pro

Price: US$19.99

djay 2 was one of our top iOS DJing apps, but the new djay Pro really brings gig-grade performance, features, and muscle to the iPad, whether you've got the new iPad Pro or even an iPad Mini 4. Four-deck mixing, video, and controller support from Pioneer DJ and Reloop mean you can use both the touch screen and hardware controls to your heart's content. Drop in the ability to stream music from Spotify into the mix, and you've got a full-featured DJ app that rivals even its desktop counterparts. Currently the "pro" app to beat.

Pros: 4k video mixing, four-deck mixing, Spotify integration. Keyboard shortcuts work great, especially on the Apple Smart Keyboard. Comprehensive set of tools for the modern digital DJ, but on your iPad (it's the app Juicy M's using in photo at the start of this article)

Cons: Pricey compared to the rest on this list. More hardware integrations and library browsing tweaks would make this an even sweeter deal

Read the full review: Review & Video: Algoriddim djay Pro For iPad

Get it on the App Store: djay Pro


2. DJ Player Pro

DJ Player Pro iPad

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

We've previously called DJ Player the "Traktor" of iOS DJing because of its deep level of mapping, customisation, and usability. You can hook it up to a Midi controller and create your own custom mappings for use along with the iPad or iPhone's touch screen, plus you can even configure it to work with a DVS of your choice. Currently, it's the only iOS DJ app that lets you mix with Stems, proving again the app's "tweakhead" pedigree that fuels its loyal base of users.

Pros: Deep customisation, hardware integration, and mapping. Has music streaming via Deezer, and also has one of the best music library browsers

Cons: The user interface has got a lot more appealing, but it could still be a bit confusing for some beginners. Not the app of choice for those who simply want to mix two songs together with a minimum of fuss.

Get it on the App Store: DJ Player Pro


3. Cross DJ Pro

Cross DJ Pro

Price: US$3.99

Another app that's jumped on the "pro" bandwagon is Cross DJ Pro, which has evolved to become one of the better-looking DJ apps in the iOS space. It's got the usual plethora of DJ features like sync and manual beatmatching controls, but Mixvibes has done a great job of cleaning up the interface here to make it easy to use, even on smaller iPhone screens. It also lets you stream music from SoundCloud, as well as letting you upload your mixes straight to Mixcloud.

Pros: Simple design paired with great functionality. Middle ground between the "power apps" like djay Pro / DJ Player Pro and the more casual ones in this list

Cons: Not enough hardware support to make it a consideration for bar gigs where you'd want to use a controller

Get it on the App Store: Cross DJ Pro


4. Pacemaker

Pacemaker

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

One of our favourite "casual" DJing apps on the iPad. It's really easy to use, got the simplest interface of the lot, plus it's also got Spotify integration which makes it perfect for house parties when you just don't want to leave a playlist on in the background. You can get extra effects, skins, and added functions through in-app purchases, but it works fine as is.

Pros: The simplest of all the apps here, which could get even the most casual of all users interested in the very basics of DJing

Cons: No manual beatmatching, feature set can be limited for more serious and performance-driven DJ sets

Our full review: Review & Video: Pacemaker DJ App For iPad

Get it on the App Store: Pacemaker


5. Serato Pyro

Serato Pyro

Price: Free

Serato's take on auto playlist building takes it one step further - it actually beatmatches the songs and mixes them for you. Cool little app with Serato in its DNA for long drives and get-togethers, and also a cool way to passively discover new tunes and how they'd mix with each other.

Pros: Easy drag and drop playlist-building app for "set and forget" parties and back to mines

Cons: No DJ controls at all here

Get it on the App Store: Serato Pyro

What, no Traktor DJ?

Some may be wondering why Native Instruments' Traktor DJ app isn't on the list. It was in our roundup last year, but in 2016 it's facing some pretty stiff competition this time around - most all the DJ apps here have improved vastly, either through feature updates or complete graphic overhauls.

Traktor DJ has stayed the same for the most part, in fact the last update to the software was back in February 2015 (according to iTunes), including the continued absence of the oft-requested metadata sync between Traktor Pro 2 and Traktor DJ that was once a feature of the app but was removed - this was one of the come-ons of the app because it let you prepare tracks on your iOS device and sync it to your laptop.

Pacemaker's perhaps the only one that's stayed the same, but it's aimed at more casual users whereas Traktor DJ is for "pro" purposes.

Traktor DJ is still a great iOS DJ app though, it's just that the lack of new features like music streaming have made it look somewhat dated compared to the other apps in the iOS DJ space.

Finally...

We're starting to see DJing in the iOS space mature: apps like djay Pro and DJ Player Pro are gunning for power-hungry DJs who want to do more than just mix two songs together on a touch screen. Add to that the new USB 3 To Lightning Connector, which lets you charge your iPad while you DJ, as well as the expanded 256GB hard drive of the new iPad Pro 9.7", and you've got the makings of what could be the most viable laptop replacement solution for digital DJs, although it's still too early at this point in time to say whether or not that will become a reality (creatures of habit that we DJs are!).

Coupled with iPads (and tablets in general) ageing as a platform, we're seeing less innovation on the hardware itself, but this could also be the plateau that app developers need in order to catch up and create an even more stable, professional DJ experience on it.

What other iOS DJ app do you think should be on this list? Any app here that you own and enjoy gigging with? Let us know below.

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Comments

  1. I've been a huge fan of DJ Player for years and I like to use djay 2 because of the Spotify integration, though I'm still annoyed that I can't get the 320kb songs on my iPhone 6s Plus. It's also annoying that I can't just buy a copy of the new DJ Player Pro with a one time charge because I hate subscriptions. I'd pay $50 for it. DJ Player wins the day because it records stereo wavs even if you have your settings set to split cue so, you can make mixtapes in your headphones. It's not a complicated mix, but I did this one on an airplane, for instance. http://www.mixcrate.com/allstar930/jet-ii-10093161

  2. Jason George says:

    Traktor DJ no where in sight. Shame as it started so well. I know use Djay pro and Djay 2 with my Beatpad 2 and love it. Sold my Traktor s4, s2 and f1.

    • Hi Jason. Would you consider using your Beatpad2-iPad-DjayPro/2 for gigs? I would really value your opinion as I've got DjayPro on my iPad and love it. I've been looking for a small set up I can take on my travels this summer for playing out in small beach bars etc. and I'm really attracted to the Beatpad by what I've read here about how responsive it is. In your experience, do you this the iPad's processor is fast enough to keep up if it was really given a workout with the beatpads' pads and jogs? Have you had any problems with the cables as some users have reported? I'd really be interested to hear of whether or not you think of it before I invest. Thanks :)

  3. No wonder Traktor DJ is not on the list, The app is actually great and the integration with S2/ S4 mk2 is great, feels like 1:1 response. I always carry my ipad for backup player with my S4 TT setup. NI's problem is that they do not regularly update their App just like their Traktor Pro / Scratch.
    Traktor DJ need to add more detailed feature such as autoplay, Sampler, etc2 like DJay & Cross DJ alike..
    I hope soon they will take the ipad DJing competition seriously.. :/

  4. So I'm not the first to notice Traktor DJ's conspicuous absence from this list.
    Such high hopes for that app, but mostly for its touted Metadata Sync features that were broken by iOS 7's release. So without Metadata Sync, there's no prepping tracks and playlists for playing out on your computer setup.
    I'm just not interested in working through Traktor DJ's quirky workflow, so it all comes down to features that are no longer offered. Not sure whether to point my finger at NI or Apple, though.

  5. It would be great for us Windows users if Pioneer or Serato would develop iPad versions of their DJ apps. Right now there is no way to manage playlists/cue point metadata between Windows and existing iPad DJ apps (except maybe Mixvibes Cross?). This is only possible between Djay for Mac and iOS. DJ Player for iOS used to read Serato Cue point metadata but this no longer works (is it just me?)... Does any one else have a cue point metadata solution for us Windows users that wish to use those cue points in existing iPad DJ apps? If not, I really hope that Serato DJ/Rekordbox DJ for iPad is just around the corner! I guess I could try Cross DJ but I'm not a big fan of the iPad app...

    • The only program I'm familiar with exporting cue points to DJ software is Mixed In Key, though it only does for Serato DJ and Traktor Pro currently, nothing for iPad. Would be a good selling point to have an iOS option for those programs

  6. Drew Weber says:

    If any app devs come across this thread, please note this down, and build it, and you can charge $25.00 for it or much more. What do we think when we think of a automix or crossfader app? We think, sounds like radio. "Simple DJay app that allows for building and adding to a cue, Includes autovolume leveling (dynamic compression) and smart crossfading or, segways". HERE'S THE TICKET! "Crossfade when less than 5 seconds of track remain, when level falls to" Have a DB slider here. I would choose -21DB. and, no fade in or out, let tracks start and finish as they were mixed. Every fade would be very close to perfect and radio like. With the power in our iOS devices, why isn't this been crossedover to the iOS platform yet?

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