There’s nothing worse than an unanticipated onslaught of noise. That’s why pop-up ads with talking heads are approximately 42 times more annoying than silent ones, and it’s also why so many of us prefer to browse Vine with our phones on mute. And now Instagram video brings the risk of a surprise aural assault to the formerly silent-and-visual activity of scrolling through your feed.
If you want to make a truly silent video, without ambient background noise, it’s not quite as easy as flipping a toggle. Instagram (and Vine, for that matter) doesn’t have an easy way to switch into silent mode. You have to disable your phone’s internal microphone to really capture silence.
CNET’s Donald Bell looked at a few different options for silencing Instagram video, and found some that work well. If you have an Android phone, you can buy a cheap headset with a built-in microphone and then cut the cable, which should trick your phone into bypassing the internal microphone without having a working microphone to supplement the sound. Of course, this trick has two downsides: One, you need to ruin something. And two, it doesn’t work for iPhones. Bell tested it on the Note 2 and didn’t have any problems, so as long as you’re an Android user with around $10 to commit to your silent Instagram film project, it’s a decent work-around.
For iPhone users, things are slightly more complicated. If you try the same trick, the iPhone will detect the faulty headset microphone and just revert back to its internal sensors. So you have to get a little resourceful. If you’re musical, you may already have a cable laying around that connects your device to an instrument. Bell confirmed that the AmpliTube iRig, a guitar adapter, does the trick, but if you don’t want to buy one for $40, there are less expensive options available. You can plug the instrument adapter into your phone, and if you don’t connect it to an instrument, it will mute the internal microphone and give you the ability to capture gloriously sound-free videos.
Both of these options are fairly easy to implement, but you need to get the cables to make them work. As competition between Vine and Instagram video heats up, it seems like it would be wise for one of the platforms to offer a silencing option to give themselves a leg up on the competition, but since that hasn’t happened yet, this is the best available alternative.