Android phones wake up to music and podcasts with a button press after all!

I just had a startling revelation, a discovery. And it will help anyone struggling with listening to stuff on headphones on an Android smartphone. But please be patient while I describe the scenario...

You're out for a walk listening to a podcast or music. The phone's in your pocket or in its belt case - and you're using the supplied wired stereo headset to deliver the tunes or spoken word. All is right with the world til you get interrupted. Perhaps you meet someone and stop for a chat? Or arrive at a shop and have to conduct some business or other. Either way, you press the single button on your headset and the music or podcast pauses.

Or you're in bed listening to a podcast, drifting off happily to sleep. OK, there's a fair chance you'll fall asleep and you'll miss most of the podcast, but I find I know when I'm too tired to listen on and I pause playback and remove the earbuds just before I settle down to actually sleep.

In either case, you've got an audio item paused and the phone's screen is now off, whether for 5 minutes or 5 hours. And in either case, leaving the shop or waking in the night and wanting to continue listening for a bit, you press the headset multi function button again and.... nothing happens.

Let's get this straight - you can stop playback with the button but you can't start it again? Gah. On my older Symbian handsets, the multimedia headsets provided full start/stop/cue/review/volume control and these worked to resume playback whatever state the phone was in.

So you're resigned to taking the Android phone from your pocket or case or bedside, unlocking the screen and then manually resuming playback and then replacing the phone. What a hassle. Surely there's got to be a better way?

Turns out there is.

My thoughts after trying the above were along the lines of "Darn it, with the Android phone screen turned off, the device is in some kind of idle mode and it's not paying attention to my button press". I soon worked out that if I even activated the keylock screen 'blind', i.e. in my pocket or with eyes closed, the Android phone was then awake enough to respond to the button press. So at least there's that half-solution, even though it involves a little more work.

But there's an even better way. That only involves the headset button.

Press it quickly several times - around 3 or 4 times is usually enough on my Galaxy Nexus. The activity is enough to wake the phone from even the deepest slumber and restart playback. In fact, it usually clicks in on about the third click and the fourth click then pauses playback agan - necessitating an extra click to get things going again! 8-)

It has worked every time for me on my Android smartphone and has been a real time saver and the removal of what, for me, was a big annoyance.

Comments welcome on compatibility with your Android device!


Aatif Sumar said…
Useful Tip, Steve! Glad to see you contribute to other eco-systems too! Might I suggest you try out Headset Button Controller, described as "Headset Button Controller is very configurable, allowing you to play music, change tracks, adjust volume, answer phone calls, start Voice Command and many other things, just by clicking the button on your headset." from here

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