Guano Apes were formed in 1994 in Göttingen, Germany, by guitarist Henning Rümenapp, bassist Stefan Ude and drummer Dennis Poschwatta. Female lead singer Sandra Nasić joined the band later in the same year.
The band's career took off in 1996 after they won the "Local Heroes" competition held by VIVA, beating out over 1000 competitors with their song Open Your Eyes. The song was also their first and most successful single, followed by the release in October 1997 of their debut album Proud Like a God on BMG and GUN/Supersonic Records. The album peaked at number 4 in Germany and it was certified platinum. The songs Lords of the Boards and Rain were also issued as singles. Lords of the Boards was commissioned for the 1998 European Snowboarding Championship.
The release of their debut album was followed by a 18 month tour of Europe and the United States. Open Your Eyes appeared in the Warren Miller movie, Fifty (1999) and Crusty 2000: The Metal Millennium (2000). The non-album single Don't Turn Your Back On Me was contributed to the Meschugge film soundtrack in 1999.
In November 2000, Guano Apes released the second studio album, Don't Give Me Names on BMG and GUN/Supersonic Records. The songs Big in Japan, No Speech, Living in a Lie and Dödel Up were issued as singles. Big in Japan (an Alphaville cover) and No Speech received a lot of airplay and the album was certified gold in Germany.
Their third studio album, Walking on a Thin Line, was released in March 2003 on BMG and GUN/Supersonic Records. It went to number one in Germany and it was certified gold. The album was supported by the singles You Can't Stop Me, Pretty in Scarlet and Quietly. In November 2003, Guano Apes issued the album Live. The limited edition also featured a bonus 80 minute DVD with a recorded concert. In November 2004 the group released the best of album Planet of the Apes. The compilation also included a new single, Break the Line.
Guano Apes took on an indefinite hiatus after the final tour in February 2005. After the hiatus, a compilation album Lost (T)apes was released in December 2006. Lost (T)apes contained unreleased demos recorded in 1994 and 1995.
Dennis Poschwatta focused on his new band, Tamoto, in which he played the guitar (and drums on the album) and shared the vocal microphone with Markus Gumball, known as G-Ball. Stefan Ude also participated in the recording of Tamoto's debut album. Henning Rümenapp focused mainly on working "behind the scenes". In October 2007, Sandra Nasić released a solo album titled The Signal.
In 2006, Rümenapp, Ude and Poschwatta reunited and formed a new band named IO, together with American singer Charles Simmons. The band went on the road several times and released their debut album For the Masses on August 1, 2008, but was put on hold after Guano Apes reunited in 2009.
In 2009, Guano Apes reunited and played a string of concerts in Europe, starting in Sofia (Bulgaria) and also including Braga (Portugal), Nickelsdorf (Austria), Przystanek Woodstock (Poland), Rock am Ring and Rock im Park (Germany) and Bucharest (Romania). In Bucharest the band announced they're working on a new album.
In April 2011, the group released their fourth studio album, Bel Air, on Columbia Europe. The album entered the German album charts at number one. They released four singles from this album: Oh, What a Night, Sunday Lover, This Time and When the Ships Arrive.
On 28 February 2014 Guano Apes released their first single in two years, titled "Close to the Sun", and released a teaser trailer for their fifth album titled Offline on their YouTube account three days later, confirming that the album should be released on 2 May 2014. In April 2014 it was announced that Offline now would be released on 30 May 2014.