I'm building a music player application (like iTunes or Spotify) and the time has come to implement a volume slider. I was going to implement a system of clicking the volume icon to mute/unmute, but then I realized, why would anyone need to mute the music? If they want to skip a part, they would be better off scrubbing. If they want to stop the sound, they should pause the music. A mute/restore button has the advantage of preserving the original volume level prior to muting, but turning the volume to zero or muting seems unnecessary as explained above.

I consider this to be a common design trait, but here are several applications that do not support muting:

  • Google Music
  • Spotify
  • Pandora

Is this an old and unnecessary design trend? Is there any reason to implement a mute/unmute button in a music player?

3 Answers 3


For a music-only site, I can't really think of a reason a user would require a mute button. As you said, if a user wanted the music to stop, they would pause, as opposed to having silent music playing in the background.

However, if you were to include some kind of visualization or video to accompany the music, then there might be a case you would want a mute button. Some users may want to view the video/visualizer without the music, but pausing the music would result in the video/visualizer pausing as well. This would be a very odd case, but that's really the only reason I can think of where a mute button might be utilized.

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    If someone is somehow broadcasting the music (e.g., the headphone jack is connected to something else), then a mute button can be a censor button in a way that pause certainly can't. Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 17:38

You can argue that there may be more than one reason why someone wants to mute the music. From a functionality perspective, adjusting the volume to zero is equivalent to turning the sound off, but in doing so you lose the level of volume that was set previously by moving it to zero instead of using the mute button. I think if there is a reason to preserve that value then there could be a legitimate reason to keep the mute button. But otherwise it may just be a preference or redundancy that existed due to convention rather than necessity.


Is a mute button necessary in a music application?

If you imagine your user ever being able to connect the device that's running the application to some sort of broadcast device (e.g., a stereo system), then a mute button can serve as censor button. This might not be a terribly common use case, but it might come up in things like school dances, student radio stations, etc.

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