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How to Use Audio Controls on the iPad mini

First things first: the controls you use after you choose to play a song on your iPad mini. These include volume control, forward/back, and play/pause.

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  • Volume control: Drag the little dot to the left or right to reduce or increase the volume level.

  • Previous Track/Rewind button: When a track is playing, tap once to go to the beginning of the track or tap twice to go to the start of the preceding track in the list. Touch and hold this button to rewind the track at double speed.

  • Play/Pause button: Tap to play or pause the track.

  • Next Track/Fast Forward button: Tap to skip to the next track in the list. Touch and hold this button to fast-forward at double speed.

    You can display playback controls any time a track is playing. Better still, this trick works even when you're using another app or your Home screen(s): Just swipe upward from the bottom of the iPad screen to bring up the Control Center, which includes musical controls.

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    The playback controls may or may not override the audio from apps that have their own audio, such as many games, any app that records audio, and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps such as Skype.

    You can even control music from the Control Center when your iPad mini screen is locked.

  • Scrubber bar and Playhead: Drag the little dot (the Playhead) along the Scrubber bar to skip to any point within the track.

    You can adjust the scrub rate by sliding your finger downward on the screen as you drag the Playhead along the Scrubber bar. By the way, this slick trick also works in many other apps that use a Scrubber bar, most notably the Videos app.

  • Repeat: Tap Repeat and an overlay offers three options:

    • Repeat the current song.

    • Repeat the current playlist, album, artist, genre, and so on.

    • Repeat off.

  • Create: Tap Create and an overlay offers four options:

    • Create a new radio station (from scratch).

    • Create a new radio station from the current song.

    • Create a new radio station from the artist performing the current song.

    • Create a new Genius Playlist based on the current song.

  • Shuffle: Tap this button to play songs at random; tap again to play songs in the order they appear onscreen. When Shuffle is enabled, it turns kind of pinkish and says, “Shuffle All.”

But wait, there's more. If you tap the Now Playing button (upper left), the album art fills the screen. Tap anywhere to see the controls and tabs at the top and bottom of the screen.

When album art is onscreen, the Store button and Search field at the top of the screen disappear, and the Back and Track List buttons take their places.

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The volume control, Rewind/Previous Track button, Play/Pause button, Fast Forward/Next Track button, and Scrubber bar/Playhead. They may look slightly different on this screen, but they work in exactly the same way.

The new buttons at the top of the screen are as follows:

  • Back: Tap this button to return to the preceding screen.

  • Track List: Tap this button to see all the tracks on the album that's currently playing; tap any song to play it.

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If you tap the song title, five dots appear in its place. Swipe or tap the dots and they turn to stars; use the stars to rate the song from zero to five stars. Tap anywhere but on the stars and the song title returns in place of the dots or stars.

Why would you want to assign star ratings to songs? One reason is that you can use star ratings to filter songs in iTunes on your Mac or PC. Another is that you can use them when you create Smart Playlists in iTunes. And last but not least, they look cool.

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