Audio & Video Starting Point

Multimedia technologies in iOS let you access the sophisticated audio and video capabilities of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Specialized classes let you easily add basic features such as iPod library playback and movie capture, while rich multimedia APIs support advanced solutions.

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Choose the right technology for your needs:


Get Up and Running

Familiarize yourself with iOS audio development by checking out these resources:

Get up and running with iOS video development with these resources:

Become Proficient in Audio Development

Gain a complete understanding of audio session objects, and how they determine your app’s audio behavior, by reading Audio Session Programming Guide. Also be sure to read Sound, which explains how your app should handle sound to meet user expectations.

No matter which iOS audio technologies you employ, users expect to be able to play and pause your app’s audio using the system transport controls in the multitasking UI. To learn how to support this feature, read Remote Control of Multimedia in Event Handling Guide for iOS.

Take full advantage of the iPod library by reading iPod Library Access Programming Guide along with Media Player Framework Reference.

To learn how to play audio using OpenAL, view the oalTouch project.

To play streamed audio content, such as from a network connection, use an AVPlayer object as described in Playback. You can also play certain Internet audio files by using the MPMoviePlayerController class; for sample code that shows how, see MoviePlayer.

To play audio files with stereo panning, synchronization, and metering, use the AVAudioPlayer class. To record audio, use the AVAudioRecorder class. Apple recommends these classes for audio playback and recording when you do not need direct access to audio data.

To get started with handling audio data directly, read Core Audio Essentials in Core Audio Overview to learn about the architecture, programming conventions, and use of Core Audio.

If you are creating a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) app or a virtual music instrument, you need the highest audio performance available in iOS. The solution to use is audio units, the iOS audio plug-in technology. Audio units also provide advanced capabilities including mixing and equalization. Read Audio Unit Hosting Guide for iOS to learn how to use audio units. View the Audio Mixer (MixerHost) and Mixer iPodEQ AUGraph Test sample code projects.

To create a MIDI app for connecting hardware keyboards or synthesizers to an iOS device, refer to Core MIDI Framework Reference and look at the MFi program.

Become Proficient in Video Development

To progress beyond the capabilities of the Media Player framework and the UIImagePickerController class, read AVFoundation Programming Guide. AV Foundation, with support from the Assets Library and Core Media frameworks, provides tools for advanced video solutions including track-based editing, transcoding, and direct access to data from the camera and microphone.

View the AVCam-iOS: Using AVFoundation to Capture Images and Movies sample code project to see how to capture still images and movies using the AV Foundation framework. AVCam demonstrates the use of several important AV Foundation classes. View the AVPlayerDemo project to see how to play movies from the iPod library.