Listening to Video Podcasts w/o the Video on Your iPhone

I subscribe to several news video podcasts (such as the NBC Nightly News) that I listen to at work. I subscribe to the video feeds because I like to have the video option available, although 90% of the time I’m content to just listen to it. And since this is at work (and I don’t keep an iPhone cable with me), I’m often concerned about exhausting the iPhone’s battery before the end of the day.

So, in order to keep power consumption at bay, I’ve found a trick to turn off the video on a video podcast yet still listen to the audio content. By default, you can turn off the screen on audio content and continue listening, but to do so on any video content will also turn the audio off. Here’s the way around that:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Home Button and check “iPod” under “Double-clicking the Home Button goes to:”. Also, set the slider for “iPod Controls” to “On”.
  2. Go into iPod mode of the iPhone, choose the video content you want to listen to and begin playback.
  3. Turn off the screen by clicking the power button on the top right of the iPhone. Audio and video playback will stop.
  4. Double-click the home button on the iPhone. The iPod controls will appear underneath the clock.
  5. Press the “Play” triangle. The background screen will change to the title screen of your video content, the audio will begin, but the video will not begin playing.
  6. Click the power button on the top right of your iPhone again. The audio will continue, but the screen will go dark.

This will work for music videos as well as video podcasts. I’m presuming that it will also work for TV shows and movies, but I don’t have any content like that on my iPhone so I can’t test it.

Unfortunately, once you go back into your iPhone (that is, move the unlock slider from left to right), the iPhone will immediately resume the video playback, and if you try to leave iPod mode to go do something else, the audio will cease again. (This stinks because I often need the calculator while working, and hate having to stop and start my podcasts all the time.) At least, however, this is a way to conserve some battery life when you really don’t need to see the video in your video podcast.

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