Volume Butler

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Volume Butler makes volume management simple. In fact after you are setup Volume Butler makes changing your volume a thing of the past. This help guide is to ensure you can take advantage of Volume Butlers most powerful features and answer the most commonly asked questions.

Android provides several different volume types. For example you have a volume for media, another for alarms, and a few more for other things. This is really powerful and incredibly useful but comes at a cost. Often people run into the problem of thinking their phone is silent where only some of the volume types were actually silent. With that in mind our take on solving this dilemma is Volume Butler.

The idea is  that you can take a snap shot of all your volumes at one time and put them into a group. These groups are called “Profiles” and these profiles can then be used in numerous ways to make managing volumes effortless.

Navigation

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To navigation around Volume Butler click the three lines (Hamburger Icon) in the top left corner.

Any time the + icon is seen you can add something. This will launch a setup page which walks you through the process of creating something.

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The three dots in the bottom right corner is found on different items and can be used to edit or delete the item.

Volumes

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From the volumes screen you see all of the volume types, and their current volume levels. This is the typical landing page you’ll see when opening Volume Butler. The landing page can be changed in Settings if you prefer to start in a different area of the app.

Profiles

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So if you remember a Profile is a grouping of volume related settings that can be used in a variety of ways to adjust all the device volumes. Further down you’ll find out what ways you can use profiles, but for now lets create a one.

On this screen you can just click an item to apply a profile.

Schedules

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Schedules apply profiles based on a time. For example maybe you have a habit of sleeping at night. So you setup a schedule to silence all your volumes so you do not get interrupted. Make sense right! A schedule is the right tool for that job.

The checkboxes show what schedules are going to be used. So if you want to disable a schedule just uncheck the box and that schedule will not be turned on.

Quick Schedules

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Quick Schedules were something my wonderful wife thought up. She wanted some way to take a nap without being interrupted. Since naps are often not something an adult schedules something different was needed. What we came up with are Quick Schedules.

Quick Schedules will apply a profile for a short amount of time then revert your volume settings back to what they were before you started the Quick Schedule.

Only one Quick Schedule can be on at a time and is indicated by a colored dot in the corner of the cards. If the dot is gray then you know that the Quick Schedule is turned off.

You can turn off an active Quick Schedule by clicking the card of the active Quick Schedule. Or clicking the notification of the active quick schedule.

Notifications

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Notifications are this weird feature that does something really, really useful. They are a little more complex to setup but are super handy.

The idea behind Volume Butler Notifications is that you can specify the ringtone and vibration pattern for applications based on the currently active profile. (The currently active profile is the last profile that was applied)

What does that mean? Well you can say I want my text messages to play a specific ringtone when my Loud profile is active but play no ringtone when my Silent profile is active. I also want my text messages to vibrate 5 times in a row for new messages.

Think about that for a second, you can now specify how notifications sound and feel based on Volume Butler profiles! Pretty cool.

In order to use Notifications a special setting in Android must be turned on so Volume Butler can be alerted when new notifications arrive. As of Android Lollipop+ you go to…

  • Android Settings –> Sound & notification –> Notification access –> Check the box named Volume Butler

The setup for Notifications slightly different from other things like Schedules or Quick Schedules. Notice that you can filter by profiles. When adding Notifications, the filtered profile is the one the new Notifications will be added too.

  • First click the + icon
  • Then select some apps
  • Next you choose the ringtone and vibrate pattern you want to use
    • The vibrate pattern is pause,vibrate,pause,vibrate,pause, …
    • The vibrate pattern also uses milliseconds (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)
    • So something like 1000,500,500,800,750,300 would work
  • Done!

WiFi

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WiFi is a fancy way of saying, “Volume Butler change my profile when I connect to a WiFi network”. Volume Butler will identify the WiFi network based on something called an SSID. Which means to create a WiFi you must be connected to the network first.

TIP: If you notice your Wi-Fi connects and disconnects periodically which causes profiles to apply more often than you would like you can turn on a feature to prevent this from occurring. Navigate to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced and you will see a feature called “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep“. Change this to Always and your Wi-Fi will remain connected even when the device goes to sleep.

Charging

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If you are like me most nights I plug my phone in to charge and most mornings I unplug my phone and go about my day. This is a great indicator of when I got to bed and when I wake up. Charging will apply a profile based on the “Plug” – “Un-Plug” events in your life.

Locations

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Without a doubt one of the most useful features in Volume Butler. Locations use a concept called a “Geo Fence” which is an invisible fence that lets Volume Butler know when you enter or exit an area. This means when you go to an from a location your volumes automatically adjust. Yes I said that right, automatically, like never touching your phone, not even having to look at it to make sure.

App Control

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App control will apply a profile when an application starts or is exited. Setup a few apps and when you start that app a profile will be triggered. This feature requires something called and Accessibility Service to be enabled which runs in the background. We’ve made sure this is a very lightweight service so not much processing goes on to keep your battery going strong.

To setup App Control, enable the Accessibility Service by going to Android Settings > Accessibility > and click on “Volume Butler – App Control”. Enable the service and head back to Volume Butler. After that click the + button and choose your app and profiles. Choose a start and exit profile or just a start or exit profile. When the app starts or exits the profile will be triggered.

Extras

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So “Extras” sounds like it would not be very interesting and if you think that you would be wrong. 🙂 Some of the most useful features in Volume Butler are found in this area of the app.

How about the ability to lock your volumes so they cannot be adjusted. Done. This feature is called Volume Lock.

What about applying a profile when I start driving somewhere. Done. This feature is called Driving.

How about showing profiles in my notification tray so I do not have to open Volume Butler. Done. This feature is called Notification Profiles.

What about adding profiles to my home screen? Done. This feature is called Shortcuts.

Be sure to take advantage of the extremely useful features in the Extras section of Volume Butler.

Here is a little more information on how Shortcuts work:

Shortcuts are a simple way to apply a quick schedule or audio profile with one click! Shortcuts will be added to your home screen like any other app icon. There is variety of shortcuts available:

  1. Single Profile
    • Adding a single profile will put an icon on your home screen with the profile’s name. Clicking on the newly added icon will apply the profile!
  2. All Profiles
    • Adding the All Profiles shortcut will put an icon on your home screen. Clicking on this will open the profiles screen where a profile can be chosen and applied.
  3. Quick Schedule
    • Adding a Quick Schedule to the home screen will allow you to apply a Quick Schedule with one click. The name of the shortcut will be the name of the Quick Schedule.
  4. Volume Lock
    • Volume Lock will lock your volumes so when the change they automatically go back to the set profile. This simulates a lock effect. This feature can be access in two places. First, from the Extras screen. Second, by adding a shortcut to your home screen. (Shortcuts are typically added like widgets) When activated a notification will appear in your notification tray. By dismissing the notification the volume lock will be disabled.

Settings

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Ah the mighty settings screen. From here you can specify a lot of the setup on how you want Volume Butler to operate and enable some really great features.

Speakerphone will allow you to setup a different volume for the speakerphone vs the in-call volume.

Notifications will show a notification in the status bar when a profile has been applied.

Widgets allows you to change the colors of all Volume Butler widgets.

Start With will specify what screen you want Volume Butler to open to when the application starts.

Advance Settings you should never have to use this screen but if Volume Butler cannot detect the volume types on your device then you can manually set them here.

Backup and Restore allows you to backup and restore the Volume Butler database. This will create a file called “Volume Butler” on your device storage and place the database inside.

Overview

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The overview feature allows you to see at a high level what a profile is currently doing. You’ll see all features and settings that a profile has any relation too. For example if your Driving profile is used in Extras, Schedules and Locations you will see cards for Extras, Schedules and Locations that the profile is involved with. Most of the cards are also interactive.

Widgets

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There are 4 widgets which you can use to make Volume Butler extra useful.

  • A volume widget which reflects the current volumes of your device. This widget can be clicked on in two ways. Click LEFT to open the Volume Butler app. Click RIGHT to open the profiles screen and quickly apply an audio profile.
  • A profiles widget which shows up to 5 profiles that can be applied. This widget can be re-sized and have less than 5 profiles.
  • A current profile widget. This widget shows the last applied profile and when clicked opens the Profiles screen where an audio profile can be applied.
  • A circular style widget that shows the current volumes of your device along with the ability to change volumes independently by clicking on the volume type.

Locale and Tasker

Volume Butler can be used in conjunction with Locale and Tasker. Apply profiles in whole new ways! Locale and Tasker increase the ability for you to more finely control how your device utilizes Volume Butler.  You can apply audio profiles or quick schedules with a variety of events that occur such as: a particular person that is calling, location, battery percentage, calendar events, orientation, time, and more! (These are third party applications that do cost money)

Ringtones

Ringtones are an important part of how Volume Butler works. Below details how notification and ringer ringtones play a role in giving users total control over volume management with Volume Butler.

Notification Ringtones

Many users ask for the ability to silence all ringtones but still allow phone calls during the night. Others ask to silence all calls but allow all notifications. With Volume Butler you can do this. If you enable the Notifications feature in Volume Butler you may notice that your device’s notification volume was set to a new ringtone called “VB Silent“. This ringtone is a silent 1 second ringtone. All notifications will play this sound so no notifications are heard unless specified in the Volume Butler Notifications feature. The benefit of this is that you can completely customize how your device alerts you of notifications. The VB Silent ringtone can only be set from within Volume Butler by enabling the Notifications feature.

Ringer Ringtones

Ringer ringtones also use a ringtone called VB Silent. This ringtone is 10 seconds long and allows you to silence all phone ringtones for a particular profile. To set this as your ringtone open up the extras dialog from the main screen. From here you can set the ringtone by pressing the Phone Ringtone button. Choose None for the VB Silent ringtone to apply. Save the profile and you will have a profile with a silent ringtone. Even if the ringer volume is turned up all calls will remain silent!

FAQ

Question: When I adjust the volume rockers on my device it adjusts the Notification volume in Volume Butler not the Ringer volume, why is this?

Answer: Some devices have merged ringer and notification volumes. Volume Butler offers a unique solution to this by providing a custom Ringer volume control.   When a phone call occurs we adjust the Notification/Ringer volume to the custom Ringer volume you have set. This mimics having separate ringer and notification volumes even though your device only has one volume for both notifications and phone calls. So when the volume rockers are adjusted it adjusts the real volume not the Volume Butler volume. As of the writing of this answer we are not aware of a way to have the volume rockers adjust the custom Ringer volume and not adjust the Notification volume.

Question: In Notifications can I set a notification to not vibrate?

Answer: Yes just set the Notification vibrate pattern to 0.

Question: What is up with Silent mode on Android 5.0?

Answer: Google screwed up. For some reason they removed silent mode from Lollipop. So our options are to have our devices make sound or vibrate (which also makes sound). Kinda lame. A work around exists where you can create a Volume Butler profile and set it to Silent. The order in which you setup your profile is important. First set your volumes to where you want them, then set the ringer mode to Silent, then save. Volume Butler will apply your Silent profile two times which for some reason will force the device into silent mode. (It’s a total hack but for some reason it works.) When creating the profile you may still see the vibrate icon in the status bar and that’s okay. It will not be there when the profile is actually used. Hopefully we can expect a fix in Android 5.1.

Question: Can I separate my notification and ringer volumes?

Answer: Yes. Some devices have merged ringer and notification volumes. This was a change from the typical way Android operated in the past. Volume Butler will mimic this behavior and intelligently adjust your volumes to give you separate ringer and notification volumes. This option is in Volume Butler > Settings > Check the “Ringer Volume” option. If this option does not appear it means that Volume Butler detected that your device already has separated ringer and notification volumes.

Question: Volume Butler appears to be applying profiles when it shouldn’t, how can I figure out why?

Answer: Volume Butler has many tools to help you figure out if something is setup in a way that may cause unexpected profile changes. Open the navigation drawer and long-press the white circle with the profiles used count. When you do this at the bottom of the navigation drawer will be a new option called “Debug”. Form the debug screen you can run an analysis based on day of the week, run Volume Butlers volume detection functions, or share your Volume Butlers database, preferences and logging. NOTE: Logging only occurs when debug mode is turned on. Basic profile usage information is logged onto the debug screen to see when a profile is applying and you can track down from where and why.

Legal

Special thanks to all the awesome code provided by the following people and their open source libraries.

Dimitri Fedorov https://github.com/ai212983

Flavien Laurent https://github.com/flavienlaurent

Jake Wharton https://github.com/JakeWharton/butterknife

Pavel Sikun https://github.com/MrBIMC

Avast https://github.com/avast/android-styled-dialogs

Google – Lots of things

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