Audio Guidelines By App Type

The latest driving game does not have the same audio requirements as a real-time video chat app. The following sections provide design guidelines for different types of audio apps.

Audio Guidelines for Game Apps

Most games require user interaction for anything to happen in the game. Use the AVAudioSessionCategoryAmbient or AVAudioSessionCategorySoloAmbient categories when designing games. When users bring up another app or lock the screen, they do not expect the app to continue playing. Often the user wants the audio from another app to continue playing while the game app plays.

Apple recommends the following guidelines:

Audio Guidelines for User-Controlled Playback and Recording Apps

Video recording apps and apps such as Pandora and Netflix have the same guidelines. These types of apps use the AVAudioSessionCategoryRecord, AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayAndRecord, or AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayback categories and allow other apps to mix with them. These types of apps typically do not duck the audio of other apps. The UI will include a play/pause button or a record/pause button.

Apple recommends the following guidelines:

Audio Guidelines for VoIP and Chat Apps

VoIP and chat apps require that both input and output routes are available. These types of apps use the AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayAndRecord category and do not mix with other apps.

Apple recommends the following guidelines:

Audio Guidelines for Metering Apps

Metering apps want the minimal amount of system-supplied signal processing applied to the input and output routes. Set the AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayAndRecord category and the measurement mode to minimize signal processing. Also, apps of this type will not mix with other apps.

Apple recommends the following guidelines:

Audio Guidelines for Browser-like Apps That Sometimes Play Audio

Apps like Facebook and Instagram don’t record audio, only playback audio and video. They use the AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayback category and do not obey the ringer switch. These apps also do not mix with other apps.

Apple recommends the following guidelines:

Audio Guidelines for Navigation and Workout Apps

Navigations and workout apps use the AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayback or AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayAndRecord categories. The audio from these apps are typically short prompts and will mix with other apps. As it is assumed that the user wants to hear the audio from these apps even when other apps are playing, these apps will duck audio from other apps.

Apple recommends the following guidelines:

Audio Guidelines for Cooperative Music Apps

Cooperative music apps are designed to play while other apps are playing. These types of apps will use the AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayback or AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayAndRecord category and will mix with other apps.

Apple recommends the following guidelines: