Tired of seeing this “Cannot play audio file” message in iOS? I know I am. Some folks have taken to blaming Wikipedia for this. Others blame the .ogg file itself while others blame the entire open source philosophy for this conundrum. I lay the blame squarely where it belongs – at Apple’s feet (Microsoft doesn’t get a pass here, it’s just that I don’t use the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office, or Internet Explorer at all anymore so I rarely have to be directly burdened by their practices).
Soon I will also be saying goodbye to Apple’s iOS for good. This lack of compatibility with common file types is rapidly showing itself to be a lack of common sense. No Flash? No problem for me really. I never miss it on my iPhone and eagerly await the day HTML5 obliterates any and all need for Flash in websites. But .ogg files, in addition to being more prevalent today than ever, are of superior audio quality when compared with their ubiquitous cousin, the mp3. Being someone who creates music as well as consumes it, I appreciate the combination of good quality sound and small compact file size, and have been using the .ogg file format to share my music for some years now. Of course, on the desktop this presents little to no difficulty for those with whom I share music to play the files, but playing these .ogg files on an iPhone or iPad is not possible “out of the box”. To me this makes no sense whatsoever. For devices which exist almost exclusively as content consumption devices to be so restrictive in what types of content can be consumed reeks – the stench of decomposition surely the result of the rotting vegetal matter in a certain garden cut off from the outside world by strangling walls…
Anywho, onward and forward.
The VLC player is available in the App Store, and it will play .ogg files received via email. Now, for those inaccessible Wikipedia sounds:
The first step in accessing these sounds (N.B. at this point I should mention there may very well be easier ways to do this, I just haven’t come across them yet) is to download Puffin web browser from the App Store. (This method of accessing the Wikipedia .ogg files may work in other [NON-Safari] browsers as well, but this is not a scientific experiment – if you’re interested enough to check them all go right ahead.) There is a free trial version of Puffin, but I’ve found that I use it enough to justify its (at the time I bought it – things change and I’m not going to even bother looking up the price now because it might change again between me writing this and you reading it) relatively low price (I paid about $3.00 or so). For the record this is not a sponsored post – I do not receive any benefit from promoting any product or service and this information is for educational purposes only.
We’re almost there. It would be great if we could just play the sound file in the Puffin web browser, but, alas, this is not possible. So we click (press) on the sound file icon and are presented with this dialog:
From here my limited exploration seems to have found the best thing to do is press “Cancel”. That brings us here:
Press and hold in the URL area and choose “Select All” followed by “Copy”.
Now open the VLC app and select Downloads. (You can see below I had already gone through this process when I took the screenshot, hence the file “White noise…” being present at right already.)
Paste the URL and press Download.
The file is now available. Select it and enjoy!
This is an awful lot of work to hear an audio sample on Wikipedia. So much for Apple being the purveyor of simplistic devices. My next phone will play .ogg files with the press of a finger – I guarantee that!