How do I play audio from two apps at the same time?

In today’s digital world, many users want the ability to play audio from multiple apps or sources simultaneously on their devices. This could be playing music from Spotify while also listening to a YouTube video, combining audio from a game and a voice chat app, or having navigation directions speak over your music playlist. However, most operating systems and devices have limitations that prevent or restrict playback from two audio sources at once.

This is often frustrating for users who want to multitask and consume media from different apps at the same time. Some key reasons people want the ability to play simultaneous audio include:

  • Listening to music while playing mobile games
  • Having a video or podcast play in the background while using another app
  • Combining audio from creative apps to make mixes and edits
  • Following navigation voice prompts while streaming music or audiobooks

While this type of audio mixing functionality was once only possible through specialized hardware mixers, consumers now expect their everyday devices to offer these capabilities. But the technical restrictions of modern operating systems make simultaneous audio playback a challenge.

Technical Limitations

Mobile devices have hardware and software limitations that make playing audio from two different apps simultaneously challenging. The audio systems in smartphones are designed for single-stream playback and mixing multiple audio sources is restricted (

Smartphone speakers and headphones often can’t reproduce the full frequency range that professional mixes are created for. This leads to a degraded listening experience, with loss of bass impact and clarity ( The small speakers and drivers physically can’t output deep low frequencies.

Audio mixing relies on having separate channels that can be blended, adjusted, and processed individually. But on a phone, there is usually just a single stereo output stream. The operating system and audio drivers merge everything into one combined signal, rather than keeping sounds separate.

Some smartphones do have multiple internal speaker drivers. However, there is still just a single pre-mixed stereo signal being fed to them. The drivers can’t be individually controlled to mix and spatialize sounds from different apps.

In summary, hardware and software constraints make robust multi-app audio mixing impractical on today’s phones. Workarounds exist but can’t fully overcome the limitations.


One way to play audio from multiple apps simultaneously is to use a computer as an audio mixer. This allows you to route audio from different apps into one combined audio stream that can play through a single output device. The key is using audio mixing software on your computer. Options include:

Voicemeeter – This free software essentially turns your PC into an audio mixing board. You can route audio from various apps into Voicemeeter and adjust the levels, then output the combined audio to your speakers or headphones. This lets you mix sound from Spotify, a game, Skype call, etc.

Third-Party Apps

There are some third-party apps designed specifically for playing audio from multiple sources simultaneously on Android devices. One popular option is AudioMerge, which allows you to combine audio streams from different apps into one combined output. AudioMerge works by creating a virtual audio device that mixes together the audio streams before outputting them. This allows you to, for example, listen to music from your preferred music app while also listening to an audiobook or podcast app at the same time.

Other similar audio merging apps for Android include Audio Out and USB Audio Player PRO. While the apps differ somewhat in their specific features and capabilities, they generally work on the same principle of creating a virtual audio device to combine streams before outputting the audio. These dedicated audio merging apps provide a relatively simple way to achieve simultaneous audio playback from multiple sources on Android.

Streaming Services

Many music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora have built-in mixing capabilities that allow you to play two songs simultaneously. This is done through a “crossfade” feature that overlaps the ending of one track with the beginning of another track for a seamless transition.

For example, Spotify has a Crossfade feature that can be enabled in the settings. Once turned on, it will automatically blend between songs in playlists for uninterrupted playback. The duration of the crossfade can also be adjusted, with options ranging from 0 to 12 seconds. This allows you to customize the experience. Crossfading is especially helpful for DJs and those wanting a continuous mix (Source 1).

Other services like Apple Music and Pandora have similar crossfade functionalities as well, which can be configured in the app settings. This allows you to play music from playlists or stations without abrupt gaps or stops between tracks. With the crossfade effect, you can smoothly transition between songs for a seamless listening experience (Source 2).

Splitting Audio

One way to play audio from two different sources simultaneously is by splitting the stereo audio track into two separate mono audio tracks. This allows each track to be routed to different outputs. There are several tools that can be used to split a stereo track into dual mono tracks:

The free audio editor Audacity has a “Split Stereo to Mono” function that divides a stereo track into two individual mono tracks. This can be accessed from the Track Dropdown menu.

Digital audio workstations like Pro Tools also allow splitting a stereo track into two mono tracks. This is done by selecting the stereo track and choosing the “Split into Mono” option. According to discussions on Reddit, splitting into mono tracks won’t cause issues as long as you know the source is a true mono signal.

The separated mono tracks can then be routed to different outputs, allowing each one to play through a different audio source simultaneously.

Multi-Device Solutions

One way to play audio from two different apps at the same time is by using multiple devices. You can play audio from one app on your computer, while playing audio from a second app on your phone or tablet. This takes advantage of having separate sound outputs on each device.

For example, you could play music in Spotify on your desktop while listening to a podcast in a separate app on your iPhone. Both audio streams would play simultaneously over their respective device’s speakers or headphones. This gives you the flexibility to consume multiple types of media at once.

The main limitation of this approach is that the audio quality may suffer compared to using a single high-fidelity source. The sound from small smartphone speakers is unlikely to match the audio output capabilities of a desktop computer or stereo system. However, for casual listening, multi-device audio may provide an easy solution.

This method also requires having access to at least two internet-connected devices. So it may not work for all situations or individuals. But as a workaround to play separate audio streams simultaneously, utilizing separate playback devices is a relatively straightforward option worth considering.

OS-Level Options

Certain mobile operating systems like Android and iOS have built-in features that allow playing audio from two apps simultaneously.

One option on Android is to use split-screen mode to run two apps at the same time. Go to the Recents screen and tap the app icon above the app preview to activate split-screen. Open one audio app on the top half and another audio app on the bottom half. Both audio streams will play at the same time in split-screen mode.

Another Android option requires downloading an app like Samsung’s SoundAssistant from the Google Play Store. This provides advanced audio controls, including the ability to have two media apps play audio at the same time by disabling audio exclusivity.

On iOS, the Picture in Picture feature can be used to run two apps simultaneously. Start playing audio in one app, then swipe up from the bottom edge to go home. Open the second audio app, then swipe up again and tap the Picture in Picture icon to overlay it. Both apps will continue playing audio.

While OS-level options can allow simultaneous audio playback, the experience may not be seamless. Volume levels and audio quality across apps can be inconsistent in split-screen or PiP modes. Dedicated third-party apps may provide a more unified dual audio experience.

Bluetooth Workarounds

One potential workaround to stream audio to multiple Bluetooth devices from a single smartphone is to utilize Bluetooth broadcasting. This allows a Bluetooth source device like a smartphone to stream audio to multiple Bluetooth receiving devices simultaneously. For example, some Android devices have a feature called Dual Audio that allows you to connect two Bluetooth audio devices at once and stream to both.

However, iOS devices like iPhones do not natively support streaming audio to multiple Bluetooth devices. According to an article on, future iPhones may gain the ability to broadcast audio to multiple Bluetooth devices:

In the meantime, iOS users have to rely on workarounds like specialized third party apps, splitting audio output, or using multiple devices to achieve simultaneous streaming to multiple Bluetooth audio receivers. Proper Bluetooth broadcasting support would provide a more seamless experience.


In summary, most mobile OSes and apps intentionally limit you to a single audio stream at once due to technical constraints and user experience considerations. Multi-tasking and split audio functions are restricted to avoid complexity and potential audio conflicts. While it is frustrating, there are valid reasons behind this limitation. The workarounds like third-party apps, streaming services, bluetooth, and multi-device setups provide some ability to play multiple audio sources simultaneously. However, none offer a seamless integrated solution. The options come with trade-offs like quality loss, latency, or cost. For simple casual listening, accepting the limitation may be easier than the hoops required to circumvent it. Only those needing to frequently multitask between audio should invest the effort into the workarounds. With the rapid evolution of mobile technology, integrated split audio or multi-app audio may arrive eventually. But for now, two sources at once remains constrained by the way current mobile OSes and apps are designed.

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