AVAudioPlayer Class Reference

Inherits from
Conforms to
Framework
/System/Library/Frameworks/AVFoundation.framework
Availability
Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared in
AVAudioPlayer.h
Related sample code

Overview

An instance of the AVAudioPlayer class, called an audio player, provides playback of audio data from a file or memory.

Apple recommends that you use this class for audio playback unless you are playing audio captured from a network stream or require very low I/O latency. For an overview of audio technologies, see Audio & Video Starting Point and “Using Audio” in Multimedia Programming Guide.

Using an audio player you can:

The AVAudioPlayer class lets you play sound in any audio format available in iOS and OS X. You implement a delegate to handle interruptions (such as an incoming phone call on iOS) and to update the user interface when a sound has finished playing. The delegate methods are described in AVAudioPlayerDelegate Protocol Reference.

To play, pause, or stop an audio player, call one of its playback control methods, described in “Configuring and Controlling Playback.”

This class uses the Objective-C declared properties feature for managing information about a sound—such as the playback point within the sound’s timeline, and for accessing playback options—such as volume and looping.

To configure an appropriate audio session for playback on iOS, refer to AVAudioSession Class Reference and AVAudioSessionDelegate Protocol Reference. To learn how your choice of file formats impacts the simultaneous playback of multiple sounds, refer to “iOS Hardware and Software Audio Codecs” in Multimedia Programming Guide.

Tasks

Initializing an AVAudioPlayer Object

Configuring and Controlling Playback

Managing Information About a Sound

Using Audio Level Metering

Properties

channelAssignments

An array of AVAudioSessionChannelDescription objects associated with the audio player

@property(nonatomic, copy) NSArray *channelAssignments
Discussion

The default value for this property is nil. When non-nil, this array must have the same number of elements as returned by the numberOfChannels property. You can use this property to help you assign output to play to different channels.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 7.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

currentTime

The playback point, in seconds, within the timeline of the sound associated with the audio player.

@property NSTimeInterval currentTime
Discussion

If the sound is playing, currentTime is the offset of the current playback position, measured in seconds from the start of the sound. If the sound is not playing, currentTime is the offset of where playing starts upon calling the play method, measured in seconds from the start of the sound.

By setting this property you can seek to a specific point in a sound file or implement audio fast-forward and rewind functions.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

data

The data object containing the sound associated with the audio player. (read-only)

@property(readonly) NSData *data
Discussion

Returns nil if the audio player has no data (that is, if it was not initialized with an NSData object).

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
See Also
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

delegate

The delegate object for the audio player.

@property(assign) id<AVAudioPlayerDelegate> delegate
Discussion

The object that you assign to be an audio player’s delegate becomes the target of the notifications described in AVAudioPlayerDelegate Protocol Reference. These notifications let you respond to decoding errors, audio interruptions (such as an incoming phone call), and playback completion.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

deviceCurrentTime

The time value, in seconds, of the audio output device. (read-only)

@property(readonly) NSTimeInterval deviceCurrentTime
Discussion

The value of this property increases monotonically while an audio player is playing or paused.

If more than one audio player is connected to the audio output device, device time continues incrementing as long as at least one of the players is playing or paused.

If the audio output device has no connected audio players that are either playing or paused, device time reverts to 0.

Use this property to indicate “now” when calling the playAtTime: instance method. By configuring multiple audio players to play at a specified offset from deviceCurrentTime, you can perform precise synchronization—as described in the discussion for that method.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 4.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

duration

Returns the total duration, in seconds, of the sound associated with the audio player. (read-only)

@property(readonly) NSTimeInterval duration
Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

enableRate

A Boolean value that specifies whether playback rate adjustment is enabled for an audio player.

@property BOOL enableRate
Discussion

To enable adjustable playback rate for an audio player, set this property to YES after you initialize the player and before you call the prepareToPlay instance method for the player.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 5.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

meteringEnabled

A Boolean value that specifies the audio-level metering on/off state for the audio player.

@property(getter=isMeteringEnabled) BOOL meteringEnabled
Discussion

The default value for the meteringEnabled property is off (Boolean NO). Before using metering for an audio player, you need to enable it by setting this property to YES. If player is an audio player instance variable of your controller class, you enable metering as shown here:

[self.player setMeteringEnabled: YES];
Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

numberOfChannels

The number of audio channels in the sound associated with the audio player. (read-only)

@property(readonly) NSUInteger numberOfChannels
Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

numberOfLoops

The number of times a sound will return to the beginning, upon reaching the end, to repeat playback.

@property NSInteger numberOfLoops
Discussion

A value of 0, which is the default, means to play the sound once. Set a positive integer value to specify the number of times to return to the start and play again. For example, specifying a value of 1 results in a total of two plays of the sound. Set any negative integer value to loop the sound indefinitely until you call the stop method.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

pan

The audio player’s stereo pan position.

@property float pan
Discussion

By setting this property you can position a sound in the stereo field. A value of –1.0 is full left, 0.0 is center, and 1.0 is full right.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 4.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

playing

A Boolean value that indicates whether the audio player is playing (YES) or not (NO). (read-only)

@property(readonly, getter=isPlaying) BOOL playing
Discussion

To find out when playback has stopped implement the audioPlayerDidFinishPlaying:successfully: delegate method.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Related Sample Code
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

rate

The audio player’s playback rate.

@property float rate
Discussion

This property’s default value of 1.0 provides normal playback rate. The available range is from 0.5 for half-speed playback through 2.0 for double-speed playback.

To set an audio player’s playback rate, you must first enable rate adjustment as described in the enableRate property description.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 5.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

settings

The audio player’s settings dictionary, containing information about the sound associated with the player. (read-only)

@property(readonly) NSDictionary *settings
Discussion

An audio player’s settings dictionary contains keys for the following information about the player’s associated sound:

The settings keys are described in AV Foundation Audio Settings Constants.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 4.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

url

The URL for the sound associated with the audio player. (read-only)

@property(readonly) NSURL *url
Discussion

Returns nil if the audio player was not initialized with a URL.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
See Also
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

volume

The playback volume for the audio player, ranging from 0.0 through 1.0 on a linear scale.

@property float volume
Discussion

A value of 0.0 indicates silence; a value of 1.0 (the default) indicates full volume for the audio player instance.

Use this property to control an audio player’s volume relative to other audio output.

To provide UI in iOS for adjusting system audio playback volume, use the MPVolumeView class, which provides media playback controls that users expect and whose appearance you can customize.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

Instance Methods

averagePowerForChannel:

Returns the average power for a given channel, in decibels, for the sound being played.

- (float)averagePowerForChannel:(NSUInteger)channelNumber
Parameters
channelNumber

The audio channel whose average power value you want to obtain. Channel numbers are zero-indexed. A monaural signal, or the left channel of a stereo signal, has channel number 0.

Return Value

A floating-point representation, in decibels, of a given audio channel’s current average power. A return value of 0 dB indicates full scale, or maximum power; a return value of –160 dB indicates minimum power (that is, near silence).

If the signal provided to the audio player exceeds ±full scale, then the return value may exceed 0 (that is, it may enter the positive range).

Discussion

To obtain a current average power value, you must call the updateMeters method before calling this method.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

initWithContentsOfURL:error:

Initializes and returns an audio player for playing a designated sound file.

- (id)initWithContentsOfURL:(NSURL *)url error:(NSError **)outError
Parameters
url

A URL identifying the sound file to play. The audio data must be in a format supported by Core Audio. For a list of supported formats, see “Using Audio” in Multimedia Programming Guide.

outError

If an error occurs, upon return the NSError object describes the error. Set to NULL to ignore errors.

Return Value

On success, an initialized AVAudioPlayer object. If nil, the outError parameter contains an NSError instance describing the problem.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

initWithContentsOfURL:fileTypeHint:error:

Initializes and returns an audio player using the specified URL and file type hint.

- (id)initWithContentsOfURL:(NSURL *)url fileTypeHint:(NSString *)utiString error:(NSError **)outError
Parameters
url

A URL identifying the sound file to play. The audio data must be in a format supported by Core Audio. For a list of supported formats, see “Using Audio” in Multimedia Programming Guide.

utiString

A UTI that is used as a file type hint. The supported UTIs are defined in File Format UTIs.

outError

If an error occurs, upon return the NSError object describes the error. Set to NULL to ignore errors.

Return Value

On success, an initialized AVAudioPlayer object. If nil, the outError parameter contains an NSError instance describing the problem.

Discussion

The utiString file type hint tells the parser what kind of sound data to expect so that files which are not self identifying, or possibly even corrupt, can be successfully parsed.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 7.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

initWithData:error:

Initializes and returns an audio player for playing a designated memory buffer.

- (id)initWithData:(NSData *)data error:(NSError **)outError
Parameters
data

A block of data containing a sound to play. The audio data must be in a format supported by Core Audio. For a list of supported formats, see “Using Audio” in Multimedia Programming Guide.

outError

If an error occurs, upon return the NSError object describes the error. Set to NULL to ignore errors.

Return Value

On success, an initialized AVAudioPlayer object. If nil, the outError parameter contains an NSError instance describing the problem.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

initWithData:fileTypeHint:error:

Initializes and returns an audio player using the specified data and file type hint.

- (id)initWithData:(NSData *)data fileTypeHint:(NSString *)utiString error:(NSError **)outError
Parameters
data

The data object containing the audio.

utiString

A UTI that is used as a file type hint. The supported UTIs are defined in File Format UTIs.

outError

If an error occurs, upon return the NSError object describes the error. Set to NULL to ignore errors.

Return Value

On success, an initialized AVAudioPlayer object. If nil, the outError parameter contains an NSError instance describing the problem.

Discussion

The utiString file type hint tells the parser what kind of sound data to expect so that data that may possibly be corrupt, can be successfully parsed.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 7.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

pause

Pauses playback; sound remains ready to resume playback from where it left off.

- (void)pause
Discussion

Calling pause leaves the audio player prepared to play; it does not release the audio hardware that was acquired upon calling play or prepareToPlay.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

peakPowerForChannel:

Returns the peak power for a given channel, in decibels, for the sound being played.

- (float)peakPowerForChannel:(NSUInteger)channelNumber
Parameters
channelNumber

The audio channel whose peak power value you want to obtain. Channel numbers are zero-indexed. A monaural signal, or the left channel of a stereo signal, has channel number 0.

Return Value

A floating-point representation, in decibels, of a given audio channel’s current peak power. A return value of 0 dB indicates full scale, or maximum power; a return value of –160 dB indicates minimum power (that is, near silence).

If the signal provided to the audio player exceeds ±full scale, then the return value may exceed 0 (that is, it may enter the positive range).

Discussion

To obtain a current peak power value, you must call the updateMeters method before calling this method.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

play

Plays a sound asynchronously.

- (BOOL)play
Return Value

Returns YES on success, or NO on failure.

Discussion

Calling this method implicitly calls the prepareToPlay method if the audio player is not already prepared to play.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

playAtTime:

Plays a sound asynchronously, starting at a specified point in the audio output device’s timeline.

- (BOOL)playAtTime:(NSTimeInterval)time
Parameters
time

The number of seconds to delay playback, relative to the audio output device’s current time. For example, to start playback three seconds into the future from the time you call this method, use code like this:

NSTimeInterval playbackDelay = 3.0;              // must be ≥ 0
[myAudioPlayer playAtTime: myAudioPlayer.deviceCurrentTime + playbackDelay];

Important: The value that you provide to the time parameter must be greater than or equal to the value of the audio player’s deviceCurrentTime property.

Return Value

YES on success, or NO on failure.

Discussion

Use this method to precisely synchronize the playback of two or more AVAudioPlayer objects. This code snippet shows the recommended way to do this:

// Before calling this method, instantiate two AVAudioPlayer objects and
// assign each of them a sound.
 
- (void) startSynchronizedPlayback {
 
    NSTimeInterval shortStartDelay = 0.01;            // seconds
    NSTimeInterval now = player.deviceCurrentTime;
 
    [player       playAtTime: now + shortStartDelay];
    [secondPlayer playAtTime: now + shortStartDelay];
 
    // Here, update state and user interface for each player, as appropriate
}

To learn about the virtual audio output device’s timeline, read the description for the deviceCurrentTime property.

Calling this method implicitly calls the prepareToPlay method if the audio player is not already prepared to play.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 4.0 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

prepareToPlay

Prepares the audio player for playback by preloading its buffers.

- (BOOL)prepareToPlay
Return Value

Returns YES on success, or NO on failure.

Discussion

Calling this method preloads buffers and acquires the audio hardware needed for playback, which minimizes the lag between calling the play method and the start of sound output.

Calling the stop method, or allowing a sound to finish playing, undoes this setup.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

stop

Stops playback and undoes the setup needed for playback.

- (void)stop
Discussion

Calling this method, or allowing a sound to finish playing, undoes the setup performed upon calling the play or prepareToPlay methods.

The stop method does not reset the value of the currentTime property to 0. In other words, if you call stop during playback and then call play, playback resumes at the point where it left off.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Related Sample Code
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h

updateMeters

Refreshes the average and peak power values for all channels of an audio player.

- (void)updateMeters
Discussion

To obtain current audio power values, you must call this method before calling averagePowerForChannel: or peakPowerForChannel:.

Availability
  • Available in iOS 2.2 and later.
Declared In
AVAudioPlayer.h