Mute switch 'observance'?

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by MacToddB, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. MacToddB macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #1
    Hi folks,

    I recall using an app (Audi's driving simulator I believe) that ignored the mute switch and it was a little 'jarring'. (I was in the men's room, okay! Trying to pass the time, quietly!)

    Anyway, is this allowed or appropriate? Our app, 100sounds, is strictly a sound player, so it's kinda useless in mute mode. Yet we observe the mute switch, because you can set a delay and loop... so it could be a problem if, suppose you set a delayed sound, especially looping, and then your boss comes so you slide it to mute. In that scenario, the mute switch should be observed.

    The problem is, out of the thousands we've sold, we've gotten about 5 emails complaining that they're sounds don't work, and I ask them to check their mute switch, and that solves it. So I'm wondering if, in our next update, we should obey the mute switch, or ignore it. Maybe this should be survey question... but since you guys are power users, should an app, especially a sound app, obey or ignore the mute switch? Thanks!
     
  2. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #2
    The argument is that it is not indeed a mute switch but rather just a switch to mute the ringer so if God forbid you don't get interrupted by a phone call while playing a game on your iPhone!

    Personally I would much prefer it to be a hardware based mute button that can't be overridden!
     
  3. MacToddB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #3

    Right, like my old Palm Treo.
     
  4. DreamPod macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #4
    Well, games have only been able to act on the mute switch as of OS 2.2 (requiring a code change if they setup their sound correctly), so it still hasn't gone around to all apps yet. But I think it should be - I think if someone hits mute, it should mute everything. I believe if someone doesn't mind a game making noise, most people wouldn't mind the ring making noise as well, so they would expect the mute switch to just work on everything.
     
  5. NewGenAdam macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #5
    The inconsistency of the mute switch is annoying and has caught me out in a similar situation to OP!

    But there is a manual all-muting method, whereby NO noise at all is made.
    Put you finger over the speaker; since there's only one, and it's closed, this cuts off pretty much all the sound.

    Additionally, as some apps have preset volumes, hold volume down as you boot.

    Fun!
     
  6. MacToddB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #6
    Yep. I actually have the OtterBox Defender ruggedized case (and the Armor waterproof one) and the mute switch is obstructed. So if I want to silence the ringer, I have to turn the volume all the way down. Which is another way to solve it...but, as someone said, I wish the mute switch was hardware based.
     
  7. akacaj macrumors regular

    akacaj

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    Location:
    NY
    #7
    I have two apps in the store that are pretty useless without sound. I cant tell you the number of support questions that I have gotten regarding NO SOUND. Even a couple of bad reviews. What was the solution 99% of the time? Check your silent/vibrate switch on the side of your phone!

    So obviously there are people out there who don't know what the switch is for and developers choose to override the switch to minimize support questions and bad reviews.

    Now if there was a way for an app to detect the switch position we can then alert the user with a big flag in the middle of the screen. Maybe there is a way that I am not aware of.
     
  8. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    I agree with the OP. If I want to mute my phone, I want to mute it. It's the whole bleedin point of the switch.

    Phazer
     
  9. Nabby macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #9
    Make it a choice?

    Is is possible to make it a choice?

    Personally, I think if the mute is set on the phone, all apps should obey it. I think I read somewhere that the built-in Alarm app is the reason it isn't hardware based completely. If you could give the user a choice, you would have the best of both worlds. Just a selectable toggle switch would be great (says the non-programmer!)

    Nabby
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    I agree. I don't like it when apps don't respect it (and numerous high profile games do not).

    As for the OP... can you code your program so that a bezel or other kind of warning pops up on the screen when the phone is in mute mode and the app is launched this way for the first time? It seems like an ideal solution (if it is a little Microsoft paperclip-esque).

    I do see your point... we have people come here sometimes and say their phone isn't ringing only to find out they're on silent alert. But I think it's much better to implement the policy than ignore it.

    And shame on Apple for not having given you the ability (or even forced the issue) to begin with.
     
  11. MacToddB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #11
    I'll have to look into it. We just released the app on 12/12, so we're dealing with the influx of users... thousands so far, so even a couple of percent with the mute switch issue is significant. Can't take anything for granted.
     
  12. DreamPod macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #12
    Unfortunately, there is no way to detect the mute-switch position. Apps aren't manually following it, you basically put your app into a mode where it does what the mute switch tells it (and that mode has only been available as of OS 2.2, which is why many apps don't support it yet)
     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #13
    Really? That's unfortunate... there are all kinds of little, clever things the app might be able to do differently were it to know the position... they ought to make every app automatically comply plus give you a detection mechanism to do other non-sound changes as a result of being in silent mode.
     
  14. TheBearman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Cary, NC
    #14
    Is the reason for the problem with the mute switch caused by apps being treated like the iTunes app? The mute switch has no effect with music playing. Heck, most games let you listen to songs/playlist while playing.
     
  15. DreamPod macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #15
    What it is, an app can tell the device how it plans on using sound. There are a few different settings, and they set up things like whether the app's sound overrides iPod music, whether to allow iPod music with app sound effects overlaid, etc. Many apps don't set that at all, which defaults to the app cutting off iPod music.

    As of OS 2.2, Apple added a couple new settings you could use, which would make the mute switch automatically control your app's audio. If an app didn't set up their sound settings, they got lucky - the default now changed to the mute-switch setting. But for all other apps, they have to go into their code and change to one of the new settings to enable mute-switch control, and release an update.
     

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