Daily Tip: How to use audio scrubbing with iPhone and iPad [Beginner]

Ever been listening to a podcast on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad an wondered how to easily scrub forward or back? Or maybe you were watching one of your favorite shows but wanted to skip through a boring ad and quickly get back to the content?

When Apple introduced iOS 3 last year, they included a much needed addition to the iPod (Music/Video) app called audio scrubbing. In this tip we're going to quickly show you how to use this awesome feature and have better control over what you're listening to, plus a few other nice iPod tips you may have overlooked. Find out how after the break!

All you need to do is tap and hold the seek-slider at the top of the 'Now Playing' screen once you're in the iPod app. From here you can slide your finger left or right to adjust where you are in playback. Something people often overlook when scrubbing through audio is that you can move your finger down to get to different levels of scrubbing (Hi-Speed, Half Speed, Quarter Speed and Fine Scrubbing), giving you much more precise control. And that's that!

iPod App 30 second jump and 2x speed

Bonus tip: You can also jump back 30 seconds by hitting the '30' button below the seek bar (see above picture). If you'd like to go back a full two minutes for example, simply tap the button 4 times and you're good to go! In addition to jumping back, you can speed up or slow down your audio by tapping the button on the far-right below the seek bar. This is great for users who need to get through long speeches or lengthy audiobooks more quickly. This feature isn't available while listening to music, however, and is replaced with the Genius feature.

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

  • This can most definitely be done while listening to music...I use it all the time.
  • Thanks for pointing that out, Dave. Apple does in fact allow scrubbing for music, it's the 30-sec backtrack that isn't available when listening to music (oops!). We'll have to correct that -- thanks again!
  • Great tip. The variable speed scrubbing is a tip that's often overlooked and not easy to find.
    May I ad, though, scrubbing is available when listening to music. What changes is the buttons under the scrub bar. In stead of Share, 30-Seconds Back, and Playback speed, you get Repeat, Genius Mix, and Shuffle.
  • Something I'd like is a skip forward 30 sec button. Sometimes with long podcasts the scrubber is too sensitive to play with.
  • I prefer (if you have a jailbroken phone) the Cydia 'iRemix' function. It's easier - just tap FF and the option to go 15 sec, 30 sec, 1 min or 5 mins pops up. Same goes for RWD. Works smoothly.
  • For developers wanting to have some sliders with similar behavior, check this : https://github.com/ole/OBSlider
  • But what is 'scrubbing'? Why not explain that?
  • Exactly! I've read 10 articles on this feature, and NONE of them actually explain what it does.
    I have to assume to speeds up / slows down the way you can seek through a file, so it gives you granular control... but an official THIS IS WHAT IT DOES explanation would be nice!
  • Whoops. I meant to reply to this post. Sorry about that.
  • The scrubber bar, with music, allows you to get to a desired point in the song. You are supposed to tap the grey circle and drag it to the part you'd like to hear.
  • Most of the time I can't get this feature to work on my iPhone 4S or my wife's iPad. Sometimes it takes five tries and sometimes it won't work at all, no matter how much I tap or drag the dot.
  • What is a seek slider and how do I get it. I just have rating stars at the top of the screen.