How do I keep the sound on my phone when its locked?

A common frustration for many smartphone users is having the audio from music or videos stop playing when the phone’s screen locks or turns off. This issue arises because some devices are designed to pause media playback upon locking to save battery life or prevent accidental touches. However, when listening to music or podcasts, having the audio abruptly cease whenever the screen shuts off ruins the experience.

In this guide, we’ll explain what causes smartphone audio to cut out when the phone locks, and provide solutions to prevent interruptions and keep your music or other audio playing uninterrupted after the screen turns off.

Understanding Phone Locking

Phone locking refers to the ability to lock your phone’s screen and restrict access when not in use. When you lock your phone, the screen turns off and requires authentication, usually via passcode, fingerprint, or facial recognition, to unlock it again.

Locking your phone serves several purposes:

  • It prevents accidental inputs and saves battery life by turning the screen off.
  • It protects sensitive information by restricting access.
  • It enables quick access to key functions like camera and flashlight without unlocking.

When a phone is locked, most apps and functions are paused or stopped completely. This includes music and audio playback. However, some exceptions allow audio to continue playing even when locked, which we’ll explore in this guide.

Checking Device Settings

Most Android phones are set by default to pause any media playback when the screen locks or turns off. This helps save battery life and prevent accidental touches when the phone is in your pocket or bag.

To find the lock screen settings on your Android device:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap “Security” or “Lock Screen.” The exact location varies by device.
  3. Look for options like “Power button instantly locks,” “Lock automatically,” or “Screen timeout.”

To allow media to play with the screen locked, disable features like “Power button instantly locks” and increase the screen timeout duration. Just be aware this may drain battery life faster.

On a Samsung Galaxy, for example, you would go to Settings > Lock Screen > Lock Automatically to adjust the auto screen lock delay or turn it off. See Google’s support page for lock screen help on other Android models.

Using a Music App

Many music apps like Spotify and Apple Music have their own settings that allow you to customize music playback on the lock screen. These apps will sometimes override your device’s default lock screen settings. It’s important to check the app’s settings menu to enable lock screen music controls.

In Spotify, you can go to Settings > Display Options and toggle on “Keep Screen On” and “Use Song Artwork” to show album art and music controls on your lock screen. Apple Music has similar settings under Settings > Now Playing called “Show on Lock Screen” and “Full Screen Artwork” to enable lock screen playback.

To enable full music playback controls on your iPhone lock screen with iOS 16 and later, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings and go to Face ID & Passcode.
  2. Enable Show Music under “Allow Access When Locked.”
  3. Go back and open Control Center.
  4. Tap the “+” icon to customize controls.
  5. Add the Music widget.
  6. Swipe down from top right to open Control Center and tap the Music widget to access lock screen playback controls.

With these settings adjusted in your music apps and iOS device settings, you should be able to access music playback on your phone’s lock screen.

Enabling Override Options

Some music and podcast apps like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher provide users with override options that will keep audio playing even when the phone’s screen is locked or the app is in the background. This allows you to keep listening to music or podcasts uninterrupted while doing other tasks on your device.

To enable these override options:

  • Open the app’s settings menu.
  • Look for an option like “Background audio”, “Keep audio playing”, or “Audio playback in background”.
  • Toggle this option on to allow the app to keep playing audio when locked or in the background.

For example, in the Spotify app go to Settings > Playback and toggle “Keep Audio Playing” on. Apple Podcasts has a similar option under Settings called “Continue Playing When App is Closed.” Enabling these will ensure your chosen audio continues even if your phone locks.

Using Workarounds

If your phone’s settings don’t allow audio to continue playing when the screen locks, there are some workarounds you can try. One option is to put your phone into car dock mode which may keep the screen active and audio playing even when locked.

To enable car dock mode on Android, go to Settings > Developer options and toggle on “Stay awake while charging”. For iPhones, enable Guided Access in Settings > Accessibility to keep the screen from locking. However, these workarounds may drain your battery faster.[1]

You can also try using an app like Musicolet which has options to prevent audio stopping when the screen locks. Open the app settings and toggle on “Prevent audio ducking” and “Ignore audio focus loss”. Note that workarounds may have limitations depending on your specific phone model and OS version.

Troubleshooting Issues

If changing your phone’s settings or music app settings does not resolve the audio cutting out when the screen is locked, there are some troubleshooting steps you can try:

First, check for any software updates for your phone and installed apps. Sometimes an update will include a fix for this type of issue. You can check for system updates in your phone’s Settings app.

Next, try restarting your phone and testing the audio again. A simple reboot can often resolve temporary glitches like this.

Check that power saving mode is not enabled on your phone, as this can sometimes cause media playback issues. Disable power saving mode in Settings if it is currently on.

Try using a different music app to play audio and see if the cutting out still happens. This can help determine if the issue is with a particular app.

As a last resort, you may need to perform a factory reset on your device to eliminate any software bugs causing the problem. Back up your data first before resetting your phone.

If you still experience audio cutting out after trying these troubleshooting steps, you may need to contact your device manufacturer for further support. There could be an underlying hardware issue causing the problem.

Auto-Locking Options

One of the easiest ways to keep your phone unlocked for longer periods is to increase the auto-lock time. This setting controls how long your phone’s screen stays on before automatically locking. The default is usually around 30 seconds to 2 minutes, but you can extend this to 5, 10, 15 minutes or longer on both Android and iPhone devices.

To change the auto-lock time on an Android phone, go to Settings > Display > Sleep and select your preferred timeout duration. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock and choose a longer time period before automatic locking occurs.

Increasing the auto-lock duration prevents your phone from locking frequently during short periods of inactivity. This allows you to keep using your phone uninterrupted, while still having it lock automatically after longer idle times to protect your information.

Summary

Keeping your phone’s audio playing when the screen locks can be achieved through a few key steps. First, check your device settings and turn off any options that stop media playback when the screen locks. You may need to enable settings like “Keep Screen Turned On” or “Override Do Not Disturb” depending on your phone model.

Using a dedicated music player app can also let you play audio in the background if you enable the appropriate settings in the app. Some apps have options to keep playing when locked, so check for those settings.

As a workaround, you can also try turning on airplane mode which will prevent the phone from locking and pausing audio. Just be sure to exit airplane mode when you need to receive calls and messages again.

Finally, adjust your phone’s auto-lock time to be longer, like 5 minutes or more. This prevents the screen from locking as frequently. With the right settings adjusted, you should be able to keep enjoying your music and podcasts even when your phone screen turns off.

References

This section provides a list of sources that were used for background research and fact-checking when creating this guide on keeping sound playing on your phone when it’s locked. Sources include device manuals, support articles from phone manufacturers, and technology news sites.

[1] Apple iPhone User Guide. Retrieved from https://support.apple.com/guide/iphone/welcome/ios

[2] Samsung Galaxy Phone Manuals. Retrieved from https://www.samsung.com/us/support/troubleshooting/

[3] “How to Play Music with the Screen Off on Your iPhone or iPad.” Lifewire, www.lifewire.com/play-music-with-screen-off-iphone-ipad-2000734.

[4] “How to Keep Playing Music when Your Android’s Screen Turns Off.” Digital Trends, 29 May 2021, www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/play-music-with-screen-off-android/.

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