It’s happened to everyone: you plug your smartphone into your car, and then cringe when that song — the same song every time — begins to play. For some reason, iPhones will automatically play whatever song is listed first alphabetically in your iTunes. It doesn’t matter if you’re connecting through Bluetooth or a USB port, it happens... every... time.
Last year, The Verge staff wrote odes to “the songs we unwittingly start our drive with.” It was never the best song that would play first, but because Apple would default to whatever was first in iTunes, you’d end up with some pretty random songs like “A-Plus” by Hieroglyphics, “A/B Machines” by Sleigh Bells, or “About to Die” by the Dirty Projectors. Other times, whatever you happened to be listening to last on your smartphone is what blasts out of your vehicle’s speakers. So if it’s an audiobook version of a steamy romance novel, that can be kind of embarrassing.
As automakers and Apple have progressed to make your car as smart as possible, it’s understandably annoying when non-smart things happen. There’s no real obvious way to turn off the autoplay function on your smartphone, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the annoyance.
Tweak your vehicle settings
Depending on your car’s make and model, it may be possible to turn off autoplaying in your vehicle’s Bluetooth settings. Even if there’s no autoplay switch, there may be default volume settings that you can adjust so you don’t experience hearing loss when whichever song sits perched at the top of your iTunes starts playing.
Download (or make) a “blank song”
This is my favorite option. Tired of waiting for Apple to correct the bug, a few geniuses have taken it upon themselves to devise a clever solution: producing completely silent, “blank songs” for download, then giving them titles with a lot of A’s that places them at the top of your iTunes list.
Ex-BuzzFeed writer Samir Mezrahi released such a single on iTunes recently called “A a a a a Very Good Song” that’s just a little less than 10 minutes of silence. (Any more than 10 minutes and iTunes charges you for a full album.)
Mezrahi’s song has been steadily climbing the iTunes charts, sitting comfortably at No. 30 as of this writing. Which is pretty impressive considering its a completely silent track — no lyrics, no beats, nothing. Mezrahi’s success speaks to a couple things: more people are circumventing their vehicle’s infotainment system in favor of their phones. And while they may be frustrated by the lack of flexibility surrounding autoplay, it’s not a deal-breaker. They’ll literally pay money to download a silent track to hack the problem.
This should send a strong message to Apple, Samsung, and other phone makers who have ignored the autoplay conundrum. They’re creating space for others to make money off their intransigence. Of course, you can easily make your own blank song and add it to your phone. But wouldn’t you rather shell out $0.99 to reward Mezrahi for his ingenuity?