iOS Music Player MP3 Gapless Playback Problem
I've been having this gapless playback issue on iOS now for the past few years, since at least iOS 6 if I can remember correctly. The number one reason I use an iPhone and iOS devices is for gapless playback in the iOS music player. For the last few years I've been experiencing a bug with the stock iOS music player on my iPhone 4S using iOS 6 and on my iPhone 5 using iOS 6 & 7, and currently on my new iPhone 6 running iOS 8.1.2. This only happens on my iPhones and using iOS, this bug is not found when I use my iPod classic or when playing the same albums through iTunes.
I thought it might have been spotted by other iOS users and
fixed in iOS 7.1 or at least the current version of iOS 8, but instead it's gotten worse, albums that used to play smoothly between transitions now suddenly pause and jump for a split second when changing from track to track.
What's happening is, I listen to a lot of albums that are continuously DJ mixed and play straight through without any pauses between tracks, and I've been experiencing problems a lot now with random split second pauses between tracks and choppy transitions. These albums in question have been ripped from cd using the latest versions of iTunes.
I'd be listening to an album and it would play gapless and smooth for most of the album, but maybe one or two transitions on the album would have a split second pause between them, and the rest of the album would play perfectly with no pauses, skips or jumps at all.
This only happens on my iPhone, as I have a 160gb iPod classic and I've listened to all the same albums on it and never has a problem playing the album without any pauses, every album plays 100% smooth and gapless on it.
I mailed Apple about it through their feedback page on their site...
Hoping that they would take note of this and try and look into it and fix the issue. That was probably about a year ago now, never got fixed or got any confirmation back from them about this problem. Then last August, I'd had enough and contacted Apple support to notify them about this issue. They told me the usual story, "have you tried restoring the phone?", which I obliged and did. The problem was there on a freshly restored iPhone 5.
So they told me that they would put me in touch with someone higher in Apple to take the case further, "great" I thought.
I spoke with a senior care advisor and explained the problem and agreed to send detailed explanations of the
issue and test files too so that they could hopefully hear what I was talking about. But after a few weeks of going back and forward, I finally got them to hear the issue with the random pauses, the first week they denied there was a problem and said the files played ok on their test iOS devices, so I myself tried the files on another iOS device and the same problem was there.
The last correspondence I had with the Apple care advisor was back in the end of August / start of September, and she told me that they spotted the issue and was told by the tech's that it would be fixed in a future update, I never got a when this would happen, I was just told to make sure my iOS device was up to date with the latest version of iOS. I couldn't speak to an actual technician, got no follow up support, just a vague "We'll look into it." Case Closed.
I got so sick of this problem that I sold my iPhone and iPad just after this last phone call with the Apple people, and switched over to Android. I'd being reading up on gapless playback music players and found out that there's a good few available for Android devices. I got myself a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, twice as powerful as the iPhone 6 and half the price. I was using that for the last few months, and playing my music through Neutron Music Player app which is a great music player which plays gapless 100%
But I couldn't really take to Android OS, seeing as I've been using Apple products for around 10 years now and iOS since the iPhone 3G. So I decided to contact Apple again and see if they'd fixed the music player issue in iOS yet.
I wrote a long email explaining the problem, how it wasn't really looked at properly, and how I was a long time Apple customer and had to resort to switching over to Android because the basic music player functions on iOS devices have bugs. I took a chance in mailing this to Tim Cook's offices, I knew he wouldn't reply personally, just thought that it might get read by someone in his offices with a bit more say in the matter.
Just before Xmas, I got a call from someone from executive relations from my local Apple offices about this.
He seemed nice and was aware of the problem from reading back through my emails and previous case notes
from August when I opened this case originally.
We had a talk and he said he would get one of the tech's to call me too about this so that I could explain the bugs to someone more knowledgeable about iOS.
A few days later I received a call from one of the tech's at Apple and was chatting to him, explaining the problem. His response was that he thinks Apple doesn't support gapless playback on current iOS devices.
From looking at the gapless playback information page on the Apple support site below, it looks like it hasn't
been updated to show any iPhone models after the iPhone 3GS... What is Gapless Playback? - Apple Support
I was trying to explain to him how ridiculous this sounded, why would Apple stop supporting basic functions on their music player on iOS devices? It makes no sense at all? You can see that the amount of hardware devices and software that supports gapless playback today...
Gapless playback - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He couldn't explain either, he just said that because it's not listed there on the Apple support page.
Then the next day I got the follow up call from the Apple executive relations guy, he was stating that he was
speaking to the tech guy that called me and it looks like Apple doesn't support gapless playback anymore,
from looking at the documentation on site.
I told him how stupid this was, and how lots of music players have gapless playback as standard today. And if
they don't support it now, then why does it play through some parts of the albums on iOS ok and then just
randomly pause, or have jumpy / choppy transitions on the rest of the album. If it was the case, no albums would play gaplessly at all, it would be like when the first ever iPod's were released back in the day with no gapless playback and would pause for a split second between every transition.
He couldn't give me an answer and said that maybe down the line they would start supporting it again, and that I should request the feature to be added to future iOS versions via the iPhone feedback page...
He just kept on emphasising that it was "NOT A BUG OR ISSUE", trying to cover up the problem because the
info on the site wasn't updated to show the current iOS devices. Which in itself is wrong, looking at the page it
says "Supported iPod and iPhone models (make sure you have the latest iPod or iPhone software)"
iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS only go up to iOS 6, so that contradicts itself when the latest version is iOS 8.
The info is out of date and needs to be updated. So in August I was told, "we found the issue and will look into
it" and a few months later, "it's not an issue", what's a cop out.
I was annoyed and taken back by this response, and really found it hard to believe that this was the case, Apple stopping supporting their music player on iOS devices. Seeing as iTunes plays everything smoothly and no gapless issues. I just went out and bought an iPhone 6 for €900 / $1060, and for that money you'd expect it's basic music player to work. It's total BS to think that a top computer software / hardware company would just decide to abandon basic functions in their devices, especially when we are talking about how much Apple takes pride in their products and how much more they charge for them over their competitors.
So this is my next step to try and get this problem seen and out in the open more. The more people who know about it and are aware of the issue, the better.
Hopefully more people can get the word around and get this noticed by Apple and finally fixed.
I've uploaded some test files below to show the problem. The files are mp3's and aac, and have been ripped from cd using the latest version of iTunes. The mp3's are the ones with the issue, but the aac play with no problem. If you listen to the transition at the end of track 2 (2-02 Colours (JH Re-Edit)) going into the start of track 3 (2-03 Your Body), you will notice the split second pause / jump. But listen to the aac version and compare it to the mp3 version and you will hear that it plays back fine, just as it's supposed to. Try them in iTunes too and both versions playback fine, no jumps or pauses.
You can download them here, all links have the same files, I just uploaded them to different hosts for other people's choosing...
TinyUpload.com - best file hosting solution, with no limits, totaly free
Zippyshare.com - iOS Test Files.zip
More files can be provided if needed to show the problem happening on various other albums.
I really hope that people can spot this issue too and help get this fixed, I know this gapless playback feature might not be important to some people, but like I said at the start, it's an essential function for me in a music player and I use it on a daily basis when I listen to music.
Thanks for reading this long rant of mine, appreciate it.