This is probably the most annoying thing about the iPhone right now, and it needs a fix

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It shouldn’t have come to this, but here we are. It’s becoming impossible to browse Twitter on your iPhone while listening to music or a podcast. The app just interrupts what’s playing every time you scroll over an ad. It’s not just Twitter either – this is a common frustration across lots of apps with ads. There has to be a better way.

Video ads that auto-play could be muted by default, but there’s a reason they often aren’t. Annoying as it may be, auto-playing video ads with sound are harder to dismiss than muted video ads. But here’s the thing: I don’t care, and the experience sucks.

Apple could come up with an App Store rule discouraging ads that take over your audio. An update to iOS could factor in currently playing audio and insist on confirmation when another audio source wants to take over.

But if we really want to destroy this terrible problem, we need total control. I’m talking about a toggle in Control Center that lets you lock your currently playing music or podcast or audiobook as the one true source of playback.

It’s the only way to bring us back to a time where we could stream music or catch up on the news while mindlessly thumbing through Twitter or Facebook without the lingering fear of our audio just stopping, forcing us to press play again, only to have it stopped again, and realizing the only solution to the problem is to force quit the offending app and try again …

OK, fine, there’s probably another way that iOS could handle this frustration. Let’s say audio playback worked on the iPhone just like it does the Mac. One audio source doesn’t have to interrupt another. You can listen to music and be annoyed by noisy auto-playing video ads at the same time.

After further consideration, this is just how audio playback on modern iPhones and iPads should work. It’s also the more likely solution to this unending nightmare of having our music and podcasts hijacked. I would still like my audio lock button, though.

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