What is separate app sound on Android?

What is separate app sound?

Separate app sound is an Android feature that allows users to play audio from two different apps simultaneously. With this feature enabled, you can listen to music from a streaming app while also listening to navigation prompts from Google Maps, for example.

The key thing that separate app sound does is isolate each app’s audio stream into its own “channel.” This prevents the audio streams from being merged together into a single output. Instead, one app’s audio plays through the phone’s speakers or wired headphones, while the other app’s audio plays through Bluetooth headphones/speakers or a USB audio device. Both streams play at the same time without interrupting each other.

So in summary, separate app sound gives you independent volume control and the ability to consume two separate audio streams concurrently on a single Android device. This makes multimedia multitasking much easier.

Benefits of separate app sound

One of the main benefits of the separate app sound feature on Android is the ability to multitask and listen to audio from one app while interacting with another app. For example, you could play music from a streaming service like Spotify while browsing the web, checking email, or using social media apps. This allows you to enjoy your audio without having to pause it every time you switch to another task.

Another key benefit is being able to listen to podcasts or other audio while gaming. The separate app sound feature lets you play a podcast through your headphones while the game audio comes through your phone’s speakers. This makes it easy to enjoy gameplay and listen to podcasts at the same time.

Overall, the main advantages of separate app sound revolve around improved multitasking and productivity. By separating audio streams, you can seamlessly switch between apps and tasks without interrupting your listening experience. Whether you want background music while working, podcasts during your commute, or audio books while cooking dinner, separate app sound enables you to get more done while still enjoying your favorite audio content.

How to enable separate app sound

Enabling separate app sound on Android devices is straightforward. Simply follow these steps:

Open the Settings app and select “Sound & vibration” or “Sounds and vibration.” Then choose “Separate app sound” from the list of options.

Toggle the switch next to “Separate app sound” to the on position to enable the feature. You may see a popup confirming that you want to turn it on.

Once enabled, you will be able to play audio from two different apps simultaneously. For example, you could listen to music from a streaming app while also getting navigation prompts from Google Maps.

According to Samsung (source), separate app sound allows you to “play media sound and notifications from specific apps separately.”

So in just a few taps, you can activate separate app sound and take advantage of this useful Android feature.

Compatible Apps

Samsung’s separate app sound feature allows certain audio apps to keep playing even when another app interrupts it. For example, you could be listening to music on Spotify and still hear it continue to play when receiving a phone call on the same device.

Some of the most popular apps compatible with separate app sound include:

  • Spotify
  • YouTube Music
  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora
  • Tidal
  • Apple Music

In general, most major music streaming and audio apps are supported. However, some apps like YouTube, Netflix, and social media apps will still pause when interrupted by another audio source like a phone call. Unsupported apps are automatically paused when separate app sound is triggered.

Devices that support it

Separate app sound requires Android 8.0 or later to function. This means devices running older versions of Android do not have access to this feature.

Many modern Android phones support separate app sound, especially flagship devices from top manufacturers. Some examples include:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 and newer
  • Google Pixel 3 and newer
  • LG G7 ThinQ and newer LG flagships
  • OnePlus 6 and newer OnePlus devices
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 and newer Sony flagships

In general, recent high-end phones from Samsung, Google, LG, OnePlus, Sony, and other major manufacturers support separate app sound.

Some manufacturers have fully adopted separate app sound and rolled it out across their product lineups. For example, it’s available on most Samsung Galaxy devices from the S8 onward. Other manufacturers only support it on certain flagship models.


While separate app sound can be useful, it does come with some limitations:

Only some apps are supported. Separate app sound may not work with every app, and is primarily designed for streaming audio and video apps like YouTube, Spotify, etc. Other apps like games or messaging may not allow separate audio output.[1]

It can drain battery life faster. Running audio through multiple outputs simultaneously takes more processing power and can reduce battery life compared to using a single output.[2]

Possible audio glitches. There can occasionally be audio sync issues or drops when splitting the audio between outputs. This is more likely to occur on older or lower-end devices.[3]

Overall, separate app sound is a helpful feature when it works, but has limitations in terms of app support, battery drain, and potential audio issues to be aware of.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are having issues getting separate app sound to work properly, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Check that you are using compatible apps – Not all apps support separate app sound, so make sure the apps you want to isolate are designed to work with this feature. Music and video streaming apps tend to be compatible.
  • Restart your device – Sometimes a simple reboot can clear up any glitches and get separate app sound working again. Power your phone off completely and then back on.
  • Toggle the feature off and on – Go into Settings > Sounds and vibration > Separate app sound and turn the switch off. Restart the device and go back in to turn it on again.
  • Check app permissions – Make sure the apps have been granted proper permissions to access and play audio.
  • Update apps and Android version – Outdated app versions may not fully support separate app sound. Install the latest updates.

If you still can’t get an app to play audio independently, you may need to contact the app developer for assistance or wait for a compatibility update.


While separate app sound is a useful feature limited to certain Android devices, there are some alternative options on Android to achieve similar functionality:

One option is to use picture-in-picture mode. This allows you to play a video in a small window hovering over other apps. For example, you could play a YouTube video in a small overlay window while listening to music from a separate app. The video audio plays through the picture-in-picture window while the music app outputs to your headphones or speakers.

Another alternative is to use Android’s split screen or multi-window mode. This lets you view two apps simultaneously side-by-side. You can then choose separate audio outputs for each app. For instance, you could have a video playing in one window set to a Bluetooth speaker, while music plays from the other app to your headphones.

While not as seamless as separate app sound, these features allow achieving somewhat similar functionality on Android devices lacking the dedicated feature. Picture-in-picture and split screen give you control over audio from different apps simultaneously.

Future outlook

As separate app sound gains popularity on Android, we can expect to see more apps adding support for it in the future. Apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, Netflix, and other popular media apps may integrate separate app sound capabilities so users can control audio output on a per-app basis.

Separate app sound will likely also expand to more Android devices besides Samsung’s lineup. Google may bake it into stock Android, allowing more manufacturers like OnePlus, Xiaomi, and others to enable it on their phones. More Android Auto head units could also start supporting separate app sound for safer driving.

Some possible improvements include more granular controls over how apps route their audio, like sending music to headphones but notifications to speakers. Samsung may also enable mixing audio from different apps for advanced use cases. Multi-Bluetooth device pairing could let you connect separate headphones and speakers and intelligently route audio.

Overall, as separate app sound continues gaining traction it has room to evolve into an even more useful feature on Android. More flexibility and widespread support across apps and devices will unlock additional audio customization scenarios for users.


Separate app sound is a feature available on some Android devices that allows you to play audio from two apps simultaneously. For example, you could be listening to music from a streaming app while also getting audio directions from a maps app. The audio streams from the two apps are kept separate, preventing them from clashing.

The key benefits of separate app sound for users are the ability to multitask with audio from different apps, avoiding audio interruptions when switching between apps, and maintaining a seamless audio experience. For example, you can listen to a podcast while using a social media app and not have the podcast pause every time you open the social app.

In conclusion, separate app sound is a useful feature that gives Android users more flexibility and control over audio from different apps. It helps enable a richer multi-tasking experience by allowing distinct audio streams to play together without interference. As more apps add support for separate audio output, this feature will become even more useful for Android owners.

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