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How to quickly silence your ringer on Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 Volume

Remember all those years back on Windows Phone 8 when you had to dive into the operating system settings and pass into the ringtones area just to silence your phone? Those times are long gone as Microsoft has introduced a brand new volume area, which enables you to not only control the levels for the system, apps and media, but this center also provides convenient access to effectively mute and silence your Windows Phone.

So how does one quickly silence their Windows Phone 8.1 device? It’s super simple.

1. Hit either the volume up or down key and the volume area will slide down from the top of the screen. Here you can select the small arrow on the top right to open up the more advanced options.

Windows Phone 8.1

2. Tap on the sounds you wish to mute. For example: if you wish to silence the phone alone, tap the bell icon. Job done. Your Windows Phone is now silenced. The same goes for other sounds, you can mute media and apps this way too. It's super easy and quick to configure.

Windows Phone 8.1

3. Eliminate the vibration by selecting the “Vibrate On” setting to join the silence and leave you in peace and harmony. Instead of being just silent, but making a racket on the table when an incoming call is received, the Windows Phone will hold its ground against the temptation to annoy you.

The new volume controls make it really convenient for users to manipulate the output of their Windows Phones, as well as unlocking the ability to quickly silence the device. Have you spotted other cool tips about the new volume controls? Let us know in the comments.

Need more? Make sure to see our hands on video tour of the the independent volume controls and read our FULL review of Windows Phone 8.1!

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Reader comments

How to quickly silence your ringer on Windows Phone 8.1

177 Comments

Did not know to tap the icon.

Keep these articles flowing please as there is maybe other functions not fully understood.

Thank you for this one.

Try a light slap instead of tap maybe. Might not be good for longevity, but is effective momentarily at least. 

But you couldnt toggle vibration that easy. I had to go to settings multiple times daily to toggle vibration. I'm glad they made that easier. It's worth the extra radio for the other

+1 To change vibration I had to go into the settings, its much better in 8.1. I think people are overreacting to an extra tap. 

No it didn't. It silenced the ringer. If you played music or opened an app it would still play until you pressed volume down all the way.

Nooo, it only silenced the ringer, no? All the media and apps sound are still on. I watched videos through MyTube with the rubber button silenced this way many many times.

Yes, but you couldn't turn off vibrate unless you get into settings. Since now the one button silent toggle from WP8 has been replaced by a vibrate only control, guess they had to make those icons clickable for volume and media silencing... Practical but not too intuitive (although it's the same in windows 8)

Yeah, not sure why you have to expand that drop-down when you hit a volume key. Why doesnt it just pop up expanded already?

Did you know if your phone has a fm radio you can also listen thru the phone speakers now? You still have to have a headset plugged in for a antenna though.

Am I the only one that thinks the old button on the volume section in 8.0 that changed from volume to silent for the ringer was better? I don't get why I need to have my ringer set to 17/30 volume etc. All I really ever use is ringer on/off.

I also agree. If I think about the settings I use the most, turning the sound(s) off & on is it! I seldom tweak the volume up or down, just off or on. And the fewer steps the better.

Hah, Palm was the best at this with a physical slider to silence the phone. I'm not saying we should go back, but that was literally a once & done action. Simple & effecient.I

I don't think it's better but it definitely was in this regard. It's more like one step forward one step back, can't really say we lost much from what we did gain.

It was absolutely better before. It was uncluttered and only took a press on the volume control and one tap to silence; now it takes the press and two taps. Not a move forward.

Oh for Christ's sake, there are people dying all over the world of hunger and you can't tap 3 times to silence your phone. Genius!

Give your name and the grammar in your first comment it is fairly obvious you don't understand English very well, but this is a civilized conversation and your comment is simply rude.

Look who's being a drama queen... And also the grammar mistake was due to word flow keyboard... The last comment is a fact and won't change even if you don't accept it.

Really? You hack on the guy for a very minor grammatical error and then make a biggoted remark because he's from India? Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to point out the very rich irony of your insulting his grammar usage when you have done even worse. It should be "Given" not "Give" and there should be a comma after "comment". 

This made me smile. I liked the 8.0 way for muting but am happy that I'm not constantly pressing the volume up and down between listening to music quietly and wanting the ringer at maximum volume.

Is there a connection?:))

(I certainly wouldn't want anyone to go hungry because of how a I do or don't silence my phone))

I suppose that you engaging in such trivialities as commenting on this thread could also be construed as energy better directed to important pursuits, as well.

Bottom line: the new method ignores the precepts of Occam's Razor: the simplest solution is best.

What I mean to say is that there are also other people in the world suffering from much graver and serious problems than we are, that was the whole point. There is simply no reason to fuss about losing one feature and getting another(probably a better) one. There IS NO connection.

I totally agree. Plus the damn bell icon is all the way on the left which is the furthest point from your right thumb. I don't like it 100%

I have wanted separate volume controls since day one with my LG Quantum. I listen to music with headphones on my phone all the time. Having to adjust the volume constantly was a pain. And then if I started a video forgetting to turn down the volume first it would be very loud. I leave my ringer and notifications loud so I can hear my phone in my pocket. Lastly, silencing my phone with headphones plugged in saves that setting now! As well as separate headphone volume. I couldn't be happier.

It is better, although I just realized that if I hit the icon again that it will go back to the previous volume. This update is fabulous, but I still wish there was a silence option without pinning quiet hours to the notification center.

You do realize a simple press of the down volume button for about a second will succeed in silencing the ringer?

No need to go through the steps of pressing the volume button, then the down arrow on the top of the screen, then the bell icon to silence the phone. 

Y'all are making it harder than it has to be.

I, for one, am glad to see a separate control for app volume and ringer volume. 

You could also swipe down in the Action Center and hit 'Quiet Hours' if you have that as a button choice. I mean, if silencing your phone is used that often, that shouldn't be an issue.

I'm in the UK, don't have Cortana, hence no quiet hours! I think its a great feature and should be part of the phone rather than Cortana dependent.

Although it could work just fine without the fan service voice assistant. Just like location-based reminders - they can be set manually without actually using Cortana, but you can't have them without her.

Daniel, quiet hours is nothing I can utilize for business meetings. My schedule changes rather frequent so a real quick setting would make me happy. The current solution went just in the other direction

You can set it manually, you can add it to your quick toggles up top and it toggles quiet mode. Nothing easier.

Quiet hours will not silence your phone completely. Not if you have defined inner circle and some people can ring your phone.

Damn dude you are right cuz now i just don't know how to live knowing i wasted all those seconds in my life and finger power. Stfu and enjoy , damn

hating much?

i'm just pointing out a difference between 8.0 and 8.1 and how, in this particular scenario which happens quite often for me (college student, going in and out of classes) the 8.0 implementation is superior. maybe adding the same icon to the left of the volume bar (the single bar that appears when you first press volume button) just like in 8.0 would make it a lot better. right now that area is empty and useless but it was useful.

For me, the simple addition of a vibration toggle makes it worth it. I find it a bigger problem that there are still sound that I can't easily mute (like alarms).

One simple step.  How is that more difficult?

Just press and hold the volume button down for a whopping second and , viola, silence! :-)

 

The feature to mute instantly is also available on wp8. You only need to press either of the volume keys and tap the corner icon to make your phone silent. Duh!

And I would have gone to the settings nevertheless to switch off vibration, too. That's no longer necessary now.

I was always okay with silent+ vibrations.... Never needed to turn them off cuz at least I came to know if I was receiving a call or not...right?

Seriously? People just can't stop complaining! I think its a brilliant feature. Gives you more choice. So while you have it, avail it!

Why Microsoft removed WiFi standby under lock screen? Now it is on all the time under lock screen...

Good point! Having said that...pull down the notification centre and tapping the WiFi icon switches WiFi on/off pretty quickly!

But that requires so much effort. All that clicking and stuff. :-( Why can't it be easy like Android? Oh, yeah. It's just like Android. And iOS. 

Whoever said "familiarity breeds contempt" hasn't had to deal with WP 8.1 users on a developer preview release. 

Why did MS make it easier to use? Didn't they know it would confuse the masses? 

By the way, my phone seems faster. :-)

Matori, I asked myself the same question. Trying to turn Wi-Fi off in the action center is all but quick and comfortable. Especially taking into account that they got it to work for switching it on.

The new volume controls are a huge step forward... Amazing how something so simple can have so much impact on the user experience!

Except not all is perfect as shown above. Plus, getting an achievement isn't muted by the apps and media slider. Weird.

Was easier and faster on WP8....but just two clicks and a slide....so not bad....used to be just : Hit volume...tap upper right corner....done. Now its : Hit volume....tap down arrow...slide....done.

Nope, you don't even need to tap the arrow. After hitting the volume button, just tap on the number (5/10 for example) twice to silent.

Sometimes you guys throw out an article that just hits the sweet spot. This is one of those. Thanks, I was looking for exactly this. Your 8.1 coverage has been great.

I find it easiet to mute my phone by flipping it face down to invoke the mute function.
Way easier than going to any settings.

Granted, that is an Amber update, so it's not available on all phones (I don't believe it is?), but thought I'd mention it for all of the Nokia phone users out there.

Flip to silence doesn't work in my pocket, unless I lay on the ground, face down. Those years are way behind me.

How about letting kidzone have a higher volume, kids can't even hear sounds due to being l limited to 13, this should be adjustable.

Agreed, headphone volume should be fixed at 13, but speaker volume should not be restricted, or there should be a configuration for it. It could saved our sanity if kids played an annoying game with bad music or sound effects.

The new volume settings have good intentions but they kinda suck compared to what they could've done. Media+apps should be accessible all the time with the volume controls & the ringer/notifications & system volume should be in the settings menu. & they should bring back the vibrate/ring button. Cortana should also be part of the system volume.

As someone that is on call and doesn't have Cortana, I would like to change the notification volume to zero but keep ring volume up.

My old HTC 7 Surround and my L620 both have flip to silence. Is this not a common feature available on all WP devices now?

 

The new controls are nice, but I just wish the had kept the "silence" button where it was before, so this could also be done with a single tap.

I discovered it few days ago.

I prefer the old option of switch on and switch-off the vibration and then automatically pute the mute one and off.

I am using it constantly, as when I enter in the office, it's the best way don't annoy my office colleagues, when someone calls me(it's my personal phone, i hate some of them don't do that, and we should listen all their incoming calls, SMS, whatsapp etc...), or I receive any whatsapp.

I simply activate the vibration mode, and everything was muted. Now I need to do the same with selecting to mute both volumes.

Daniel, if you  check your video of the new volume settings hands on, it's different from the 8.1 I have in my Lumia 1020 and what's shown here. Do you know why? it was a "demo" version?

Also in your video, if you click on "vibration" then you mute automatically both volumes, as it should. Check you reportage about this feature hands-on.

"independent-volume-control-finally-comes-windows-phone-81-we-go-hands"

In my 1020, I don't have the sound config. direct link on the right, and also in the sound/ringtones config, you have more settings than my 1020.

 

Regards/Saludos

Here's a volume issue I noticed today... If you're using headphones (regular, not BT), audio notifications still play (at your headphone volume), even if you have those muted. For example, a text came in while I was watching a YouTube video and blasted my ears with its notification sound. Those didn't used to play through headphones if I had the phone on vibrate only.

Ah! This is actually a good thing. The headphones have their own separate volume controls. Ringer and all. As soon as you plug in your headphones you switch to headphone volume controls. In there you silence the ringer, turn vibrate on or off a and set separate headphone volume.

What I love is that you don't have to silence your phone or mess with any volume anymore. When you plug in your headphones you automatically have your headphone settings. It's much more than I hoped for. I use my headphones all the time so this is great. I was going to post this but you breast me to it.

THAT'S COMPLETE BULL!!!  All we ever had to do was press teh volume button and tap the Vibrate icon!  Now I have to got through MORE effort to silence the stupid phone after the 8.1 update.  I HATE the changes to the volume control.

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guys, it literally takes just 1 second to hold down on the volume button and make the phone silent. stop crying.

No, its not that hard. However, MS had a perfectly fine solution that required 2-3 steps. Now you need 4-5 steps. Just add back the icon next to the triangle/arrow that opens up the detailed settings. What would be wrong with that?

HELP!!     Find me a solution please... Daniel I need you... Currently I have only internet explorer running in my background tasks... But when I press the volume keys music controls pop up as if I am playing some music which actually I am not.. Now suppose I have to silent my phone without looking at the device.. Earlier what I used to do keep pressing volume keys down.. And it used to be silent.. But now when I do so I am interacting with my media + apps volume controls as it shows music controls which I don't know why.. So only media + apps goes silent not the ringer... If i have to silence the ringer get media+app volume control down to zero then pause the music and then when you press the volume key down again then only you are dealing with ringer volume However when music controls aren't there its perfect both volume controls go down one by one.. It annoys me as I like silenting the phone without looking at it..please tell me why I have music controls up there?? I opened the app and closed it properly by pressing back button?? Well then too music controls are showing up

Great articles on the little things...love them as much as the big articles that break big news. Thanks!
After that little article on how to get profanities into Cortana's language, I thought I'd change my name to something obscene and have Cortana call me that. Its hilarious to hear her calling me a F***Ing A**hole! But its not a good idea...when quiet hours is on, she replies to text people "the F***Ing A**hole is busy". Mom got upset....

Still don't like it. Why not offer it as a quick setting in the action center? Seriously, three clicks is too much for a quick silencing.
Same goes for turning off Wi-Fi. That is even worse and far from a quick setting.

Wow, you guys call this easy? In 8.0 you could simply tap the volume key and then the little round icon. That was MUCH better. Just add the "master" icon back and the system would be perfect.

Positioning of bell icon on WP 8 was perfect for one hand operation. One tap & done. Be it meeting or anything.

WP 8.1 needs two hands & not very one tap action. You have to expand first.

You Can also double Tap the volume numbers on the far left fast! That mutes the phone, its quick and almost as fast as bevor! Nice glitch or "Feature"

Nice trick, thanks! Except if you have vibrate on you also want to silence. Old solution was better and should be added back in.

That's still counter intuitive to the separate controls. Everything about 8.1 is about one finger operation now except for sounds. If your phone is on the table, you can do everything with one finger like I am typing this now with Word Flow. But I have to physically hold the phone to access the volume rocker. There should be a global mute in the notification centre next to all settings or a repeat of the volume sliders.

I liked the tap on the volume and tap the ring/vibrate icon to knockoff the ring capabilities, but I also like the new functions too. It's all subjective and although there are pros/cons for each option we have had it all comes down to becoming accustomed to the changes.

What I fould frustrating with the current model is being blasted yet again (where, I can't remember which it was possibly GDR2 or 3, this was fixed earlier), when I'm trying to listen to an audiobook (Audible), and with the ringer off and the media and notifications up to listen to the book, when IM's or emails come in the notifications are so loud they blow my eardrums apart. In a previous iteration this was solved but now the notifications and media seem to be one and the same.

Anyone else have this problem? 

Just placed the sliders on the action center MS! Now that we have an action center, which is mroe for taking actions, why do we need to still press the volumn rockers and the extra step to tap on the down arrow to access the advance options?

I had issues regarding my volume down button...but with 8.1 I can simply press the volume up button and lower my tone or simply mute it..

Though we get more granularity in options, silencing the ringer has certainly regressed on terms of the number of taps involved in wp8 to wp8.1.. Earlier version involved pressing any volume button once and press the ring button to silence it. So I wouldn't necessarily say they've made it easier as this article suggests wrongly. I'd rather say this article explains how to silence it. Easier would be to have a silent option when we press volume rocker like before

In a meeting where I have forgotten to turn off sounds, I prefer to flip my phone face down.
Much faster than having to fumble after buttons.

I never had to go into settings to silence my phone, all I did was press a volume button and then the icon in the top right. That toggled the volume on and off.

This is a little harder because the volume control buttons are on the left and the volume icons are on the right :(

Rich, before writing articles it might be better for you to understand and have accurate knowledge of WP8 and the subject in hand because this clearly demonstrates that you don’t. You are correct that you could have drilled down into the menu but your description suggests you have not much knowledge of WP8. Perhaps a correction to the article?

This is a backward step in terms of ease of use and ergonomics and a "vibrate & silence" needs to be added to the drop down that appears when the volume button is pressed before using the arrow to expand the volume levels. This also means that when silencing it takes longer to do rather than just a touch to toggle "on & off" and this is something that needs correcting. I think WP 8.1 is a huge leap forward and not full of bugs as others were suggesting and demonstrates a huge leap forward but these articles don’t help and need to be written as well as many others have been on here previously.

You know you can also just hit  the 10/10 numbers or that instead of pressing on the arrow to open the volume controls right?

You don't have to precisely touch the arrow to bring down the advanced menus. You can touch anywhere in the volume bar

Besides the seperate volume controls it was better in WP8.0. You were able to cycle thru silent mode and ring/right+vibrate(if you had vibration enabled) and the button to do it was on the right side making it easier for one handed use. In 8.1 everything is on the left side which is a step backward.

The design of the volume controls in 8.1 also break MS' own design guidlines. The bell and music icons should have circles around them to indicate that they have a function.

It should also be noted that the expanded sound controls in the Preview For Developers is missing the silent mode and sound settings options that are seen in the WPCentral video and various others from Build 2014.

 

You mean...button was on the top right corner making it easier for *right handed* users using the phone with one hand...

People ask for updates, more control over volume, more features.....and then complain when they get them!!! Yeesh!!! Can't believe some of the comments in here! I love the new ways of controlling volume! VERY EASY!!! Thank you for the article!!!

It's a "simplicity" matter, nothing else. I like the way you know have more control over the volume customization and options. 

But for example as I stated before, there is a video from Daniel, showing the first hands on where it works different  than now, I don't know if it's a demo or it depends on the Phone model. But on that case, You just click on the "vibration" icon and mute everything. I think it's simple, one step option, that makes it even easier than all previous option.

As more options of customization and complexity, you need to add more "simplicity" and ergonomy on the way to handle simple options.

This is something well know in the Automotive industry, when working on the ergonomy of the interior of a car. There are companies that handle better than others, to avoid distractions, etc.

I like the way you can, for example, mute 1 option but staying the other audible, that superb!! and if you recover the original volume clicking on the bell, but why don't 1 touch to mute everything?

I remember in the N8, to choose "silence mode" or a customization mode, where you silence everything o choose the ring/volumens and everything as you like based on your needs, i think will give some improvement.

 

 

Offtop. Do you know the way to get back old way of viewing videos from browsers? It's more comfortable for me when videos opened through metrotube, than in inline videos. I don't like inline videos - metrotube more powerful and useful. Thank you

I just hate that they removed the option to switch the ringer on or off in Ringtones + Sounds. That is much more easier. I don't wanna hit the buttons so much I can break them.

everybody know windows phone 8 is better than 8.1 due to single tap for quick silent compare than 8.1 two tap.

El panel de control en audio tanto de notificaciones como de aplicaciones es muy bueno sin embargo en mi lumia 820 al conectar el manos libres el panel comienza a bajar por si solo el volumen hasta llegar a cero y no sube , ya que al subir vuelve a bajar y sigue asi hasta reiniciar el teléfono y quitar el manos libres.
Espero que Microsoft pueda hacer algo por solucionar este inconveniente que si es algo incomodo.