Apple may give Safari audio controls to silence irritating websites

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Apple may be looking to give web surfers using its Safari browser relief from a growing number of social networking and other websites that often thrust undesired audio playback into the browsing experience.



A filing published this week shows the Cupertino-based company to be exploring the possibility of adding advanced audio preferences to Safari that will allow users to silence audio signals from some or all websites without interfering with welcomed audio playback coming from other applications running on their Mac or PC.



"When a user browses [a website], various audio signals may be presented in the browser application. These audio signals can be music, advertising jingles, noises, sound effects, speech, etc," Apple explains. "Concurrently, the user may be listening to music from the user's personal music library. In some cases, audio signals from audio sources may interfere with the listening enjoyment of the user."



While the Mac OS and Windows operating systems already provide users with audio controls, those audio controls adjust all audio signals playing on a computer at once, thereby affecting desired audio playback at the same time as undesirable playback, which may not be the intent of the user.



To address this issue, Apple proposes the addition of mute and volume controls tailored specifically for controlling audio playback coming from web sources. With these controls, users could mute or adjust the volume of audio coming from all websites. Alternatively, rules could be set and maintained for handling audio from websites on an individual basis.



"In some implementations, if an audio source is encountered for the first time in a browser application, then audio control settings specified by the user for controlling a audio signal from the audio source can be stored in a [database]," Apple says. "Once stored, the user specified audio control settings can be recalled and applied to the audio controls when the audio source is encountered in another session by the browser application."



A specialized audio preference pane could further fine tune the experience, allowing users to specify the URLs of websites (such as "www.myspace.com") from which it does not want to receive audio playback. In other cases, users could specify that volume levels for audio signals from a specified audio source be automatically adjusted over time until the audio signal becomes audible. Alternatively, users could specify that audio signals from a specified audio source be muted or adjusted only if another application is running.







"For example, the process can determine if a media player is playing music, videos or other content," the filing says. "If a media player is playing music, videos or other content, then the audio controls of the browser application can be enabled. Otherwise, the audio controls of the browser application can be disabled."



Apple goes on in the 9-page filing to explain that such a version of Safari could "run on any device capable of hosting a browser application, including but not limited to: media players, mobile phones, smart phones, email devices, game consoles or devices, personal computers, personal digital assistants, etc."



Preferences set on a traditional Mac or PC could also be stored in a data structure of a network storage device for downloading by the user on other devices such as their iPhones or iPod touches.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    Not "moot" them as the diagram indicates.



    Seriously, I think this would be a great faeture. I hate websites that auto-launch media in ads, etc.
  • Reply 2 of 79
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    While I guess I appreciate any new add-on, where is the most important missing Safari feature for me and many others- the ability to roll up the address/tool bar and give me a full screen experience with the click of a button? Like on most browsers. \
  • Reply 3 of 79
    I've long been shocked and disappointed that it's taken so long for per-app audio controls to become a proper feature of popular operating systems. We'd never allow apps to fight over screen real estate, yet everyone has seemed content to leave audio a mess.



    Per-tab/site audio controls within the browser is just the natural evolution of that desire, for the net-centric place we find ourselves.



    Here's to hoping this shows up sooner, rather than later and includes an option to whitelist sites for audio playback.
  • Reply 4 of 79
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,761member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    While I guess I appreciate any new add-on, where is the most important missing Safari feature for me and many others- the ability to roll up the address/tool bar and give me a full screen experience with the click of a button? Like on most browsers. \



    But since its Apple doing its automatically a bad idea. If FireFox had this feature it would be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  • Reply 5 of 79
    bikertwinbikertwin Posts: 564member
    Safari also needs a way to stop all animations (GIFs).
  • Reply 6 of 79
    breezebreeze Posts: 96member
    It's about time !!!
  • Reply 7 of 79
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post


    But since its Apple doing its automatically a bad idea. If FireFox had this feature it would be the greatest thing since sliced bread.



    Never said it was bad- that's your own interpretation or lack of comprehension.

    All I'm saying is give us something that would be univerally appreciated- not just for those who listen to music. But speaking of Firefox- yes they do have a one click full screen window button and yes I do love it. IE had this feature as well.
  • Reply 8 of 79
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roc Ingersol View Post


    I've long been shocked and disappointed that it's taken so long for per-app audio controls to become a proper feature of popular operating systems. We'd never allow apps to fight over screen real estate, yet everyone has seemed content to leave audio a mess.



    Per-tab/site audio controls within the browser is just the natural evolution of that desire, for the net-centric place we find ourselves.



    Here's to hoping this shows up sooner, rather than later and includes an option to whitelist sites for audio playback.



    To be fair, there are "per-app" audio controls and have been for a long time. The most obvious is QuickTime. However, this would be a first for a browser and much needed, IMHO.
  • Reply 9 of 79
    I really hope that this feature comes to Safari. This wouldn't just be good for annoying ads, it would also be good for websites like MySpace where music automatically starts playing. My wife always mutes the speakers when she goes on MySpace, but then it also mutes the music she might be playing at the same time. Pretty annoying.
  • Reply 10 of 79
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple may be looking to give web surfers using its Safari browser relief from a growing number of social networking and other websites that often thrust undesired audio playback into the browsing experience. ...



    Sounds great to me.



    Apple has a history of *not* allowing the user this level of control over the details though, so I wouldn't hold my breath for this feature to be implemented. Safari in particular has often been criticised for it's minimal preferences and controls. Unless this is something that directly bugs Steve Jobs, it may not happen.
  • Reply 11 of 79
    Would be a great boon to me. At work I was researching German military aircraft for a project while playing itunes and next moment we were subjected to nazi marshal music blaring through the studio. Scary and almost had us goose stepping through the office ready to invade the warehouse.
  • Reply 12 of 79
    nemconemco Posts: 1member
    Sounds like an interesting development... I've long been annoyed by sites that automatically start playing loud background music or ads. While we're on the subject of audio controls; perhaps Apple can also build in a normaliser or limiter-function then... I absolutely hate how some sites with video and audio play one clip soft and the next one ridiculously loud... especially streams with ads in between ten to do this.
  • Reply 13 of 79
    Yeah, great idea and long overdue. It would be cool if somehow Safari remembered your volume preference for each site, too.



    I just hope that Apple sees fit to put Snap-Back back into Safari. It's loss is about the only thing I dislike about Safari 4 beta.
  • Reply 14 of 79
    Brilliant.
  • Reply 15 of 79
    zbellzbell Posts: 3member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...websites that often thrust undesired audio playback into the browsing experience.



    You mean like the video ads that sometimes appear in the upper left-hand corner of the AppleInsider homepage?
  • Reply 16 of 79
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zbell View Post


    You mean like the video ads that sometimes appear in the upper left-hand corner of the AppleInsider homepage?





    Sometimes?



    Welcome.
  • Reply 17 of 79
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    This is perfect, and needed!
  • Reply 18 of 79
    The question that leaps to my mind is: Is something like this patentable?



    It seems utterly obvious to me, especially to anyone whose scrambled to find a way to mute an obnoxious website.
  • Reply 19 of 79
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Never said it was bad- that's your own interpretation or lack of comprehension.

    All I'm saying is give us something that would be univerally appreciated- not just for those who listen to music. But speaking of Firefox- yes they do have a one click full screen window button and yes I do love it. IE had this feature as well.



    Wouldn't work for me...I usually have to many windows open at once to have one fullscreen, I'm typically switching from at least 3 different windows...a full screen would only get in the way.



    Guess it all depends how you use the computer...
  • Reply 20 of 79
    deanbardeanbar Posts: 106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post


    Yeah, great idea and long overdue. It would be cool if somehow Safari remembered your volume preference for each site, too.



    I just hope that Apple sees fit to put Snap-Back back into Safari. It's loss is about the only thing I dislike about Safari 4 beta.



    Yes, me too! I hated this about Safari 4, so I went back to Safari 3.



    Agreed, website audio control a great idea.
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