How do I change media volume only?

What is Media Volume Control?

Media volume control refers to the ability to adjust the loudness of audio playback from various media sources on a device. This includes volume control for music, videos, games, phone calls, and other audio.

It works by sending signals to the audio drivers and hardware to increase or decrease gain levels on the audio output. The user changes the volume by typically using hardware volume buttons, onscreen sliders, keyboard shortcuts, or volume knobs. Under the hood, the device’s operating system processes these inputs to alter the analog or digital audio signal’s amplitude before sending to the speakers or headphones.

Media volume control is useful because it allows users to customize audio to their preferences and current situation. Turning up the volume may improve entertainment or audibility, while lowering can prevent disturbance or hearing damage. Granular volume control gives flexibility between these extremes. Independent volume for different apps is also valuable—users may want louder music playback but softer notification sounds. Overall, volume control enhances devices as adaptable platforms for consuming media and information.

Changing Volume on Windows

Windows provides several options to change the system volume or the volume for specific apps. You can use the volume mixer applet to adjust all volume sliders in one place, use keyboard shortcuts for quick volume up/down functions, and control individual app volumes.

The Windows volume mixer can be accessed in the system tray or taskbar which shows volume sliders for playback devices and individual apps currently in use. You can simply drag these sliders to raise or lower volumes (Source 1). One complication is the system sounds in Windows 11 which create a “ding” noise when adjusting volume. This can be disabled per Source 2.

For keyboard shortcuts, many Windows laptops feature media keys for quick access to volume raising or lowering. Standard shortcuts include using the arrow keys combined with the Fn key. You can also try Ctrl + arrow keys or Alt + arrow keys. The exact shortcuts can vary by manufacturer. Specific apps may also tie into these keyboard controls.

The final option is to use the Volume Mixer or an app’s own settings to change the sound level for individual apps. Certain apps like video or music players may need their volumes handled separately from the system volume. You can mute apps independently while still playing audio from other sources.

Changing Volume on Mac

There are several ways to change the volume on a Mac computer. The easiest is using the volume controls in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

Using the Menu Bar Volume Control

The menu bar volume control allows you adjust the system-wide volume with just a click. To change it, click the volume icon in the menu bar and drag the slider to the desired level. You can mute all sound by clicking the speaker icon until a slash appears through it.

Keyboard Shortcuts

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to adjust volume on a Mac. The most common shortcuts are:

  • F11/F12: Increase/Decrease volume
  • Option + Shift + Volume Up/Down: Smaller volume increments
  • Control + Option + Command + 8: Mute sound

In-App Volume Controls

Some apps like iTunes, Safari, and QuickTime have their own volume sliders that only affect that specific app’s volume level. Check the app’s settings or preferences if the system-wide volume shortcuts don’t work.

Changing Volume on Linux

There are several ways to change the volume on Linux systems, including:

Using ALSA Mixer

To change volume on a system-wide level in Linux, you can use the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) Mixer. The ALSA mixer controls all audio devices and volume levels on the system.

To open the ALSA mixer in the terminal, run the alsamixer command. Here you can see all available devices and adjust their volume with your keyboard arrow keys. For example, to change the Master volume, navigate to the Master channel and use your up/down arrow keys to adjust it.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Most desktop environments also provide volume adjustment keyboard shortcuts. For example, in Ubuntu’s Unity interface you can use the following shortcuts:

  • Fn + F8 – Decrease volume
  • Fn + F9 – Increase volume
  • Fn + F10 – Mute volume

Adjusting Application Volume

To change the volume of a specific application rather than system-wide, you can use the pactl load-module module-combine-sink command from the PulseAudio module. This will allow you to control application volumes independently.

Changing Volume on iPhone/iPad

iPhones and iPads provide several convenient ways to control volume levels. You can change the system-wide volume, or adjust volumes for individual apps or media.

Using Volume Buttons

The physical volume buttons on an iPhone or iPad will change the system-wide volume by default. Press the up button to increase volume, or down to decrease it. On iPhone models with no Home button, the volume buttons are on the left side. On iPad and earlier iPhones, they are on the right side.

Using Control Center

You can also change volume via Control Center on iOS. Swipe down from the upper right to access Control Center, then use the volume slider to adjust the level. This changes system-wide volume.

Per-App Volume

For multimedia apps that play audio or video, like Music, YouTube, or Netflix, you can set custom volume levels on a per-app basis. Open the app, start playing media, then use the on-screen volume controls or volume buttons to set your desired level. This will become the default volume whenever you open the app again.

Changing Volume on Android

There are several ways to change media volume on Android devices:

1. Using Volume Buttons

The most common and fast way to change volume is by using the physical hardware buttons on the side of your Android device. Pressing the volume up button will increase volume and pressing the volume down button will decrease volume.

This adjusts the media volume by default, controlling the volume of music, videos, games, and other media. To control ringer and notification volumes separately, go into Sound settings (cited below).

2. Using Notification Drawer

Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notification drawer. There will be a volume slider here that you can drag left or right to decrease or increase volume.

This slider controls the media volume by default like the hardware volume buttons.

3. Adjusting Volume for Specific Apps

You can opt to have separate app volumes if you want more granular control. Go to Settings > Sound and vibration > App volumes to set custom volumes for any individual apps on your device (source).

Changing Volume in Web Browsers

There are a few methods you can use to control the media volume in your web browser:

Keyboard Shortcuts

Most browsers have keyboard shortcuts to control volume without clicking through menus. For example, in Chrome and Firefox you can press Alt + Up/Down arrow keys to increase/decrease volume. Pressing mute/unmute is also bound to keyboard shortcuts like Alt+Shift+M.

Browser Volume Controls

Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers have built-in volume controls you can access by clicking the audio/volume icon next to the address bar. You’ll see a volume slider you can adjust up and down.[1]

Muting/Unmuting Tabs

When you have multiple tabs playing audio, you can mute specific tabs by right clicking on the tab > mute tab. This keeps that tab muted until you unmute it later. Great for muting annoying ads while listening to music.[2]

Changing Volume for External Devices

If you are using external speakers, headphones, or other audio devices connected to your computer, you’ll need to adjust the volume on those devices separately from the main system volume. Here are some tips for managing volume on external devices:

Most external speakers, headphones, and other audio devices have hardware volume controls on them that adjust the sound output independently from the system volume. Use these hardware controls to directly increase or decrease the volume coming out of the device.

In your computer’s audio settings or control panel, there may be options to manage the volume levels for specific output devices. For example, in Windows 10 you can go to Settings > System > Sound and select your speakers or headphones to change the volume for just that device 1. On Mac, open System Preferences > Sound and adjust the output volume sliders for your connected devices 2.

Try to find a balance between your computer’s main volume and your device’s volume controls. For example, you may want to turn your external speakers up to max and control the overall volume mainly through your computer. Or you could set your computer to 80-90% volume and then fine tune with the device controls.

If you experience issues like low volume even at max settings, it may be a driver, connection or compatibility issue. Make sure your devices are designed to work with your computer and the drivers are up to date.

Automating Volume Changes

There are various ways to automate volume changes on your devices and systems. One option is to schedule volume changes to happen at certain times. For example, you could set the volume to lower automatically at night when you sleep. On iPhone, you can use the Shortcuts app to create an automation that will change the volume based on a time trigger.

Another approach is to trigger volume changes based on events or conditions. For instance, you could create a rule that sets the volume to a specific level when you arrive home. Home automation platforms like Home Assistant allow creating triggers based on presence detection, time of day, or other states to automatically adjust volume.

Some other examples of event-driven volume automation include: lowering volume when a phone call comes in, increasing volume when an alarm goes off in the morning, or muting sound when you start a video conference call. The key is picking relevant situations where automated volume adjustment provides benefit.

Additional Tips for Volume Control

Here are some additional tips for troubleshooting volume control issues, keyboard shortcuts, and upcoming features:

Troubleshooting Volume Issues

If you are having issues controlling the volume on your device, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Check that your device’s volume is not muted – many devices have a separate toggle for muting.
  • Restart your device to reset any volume glitches.
  • Check for obstructions or damage to volume buttons or rockers.
  • Update device software and audio drivers to latest versions.
  • Adjust volume controls in both device settings and within any media apps.
  • Try using wired headphones to isolate issue.

Volume Control Keyboard Shortcuts

Many devices and operating systems have keyboard shortcuts to control volume:

  • Windows – Volume Up: Alt + Up arrow key, Volume Down: Alt + Down arrow key
  • Mac – Volume Up: Option + Shift + Up arrow key, Volume Down: Option + Shift + Down arrow key
  • Linux – Volume Up/Down: Multimedia keyboard buttons or desktop environment shortcuts
  • iOS – Volume Up/Down: Physical volume buttons on the side of the device
  • Android – Volume Up/Down: Physical volume buttons on side or screen

Upcoming Volume Control Features

Future versions of operating systems are expected to incorporate enhanced volume control capabilities like:

  • More granular volume adjustment settings
  • Separate app and system volume controls
  • Adaptive volume based on ambient noise levels
  • Intelligent volume boosting for voices and dialogue

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