The developer preview of Android N may have been released a week ago, but we're still discovering loads of changes and new stuff across the OS. The most recent one that's come to our attention is a new toggle in Sound Settings for mono audio, which makes both left and right audio channels get played back simultaneously through any active sound output.

There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to play sound in mono instead of stereo. Many people prefer listening to music with a single earbud in their ear, but with stereo playback this meant that half the song was never heard. There are even legal reasons for using only one earphone: in several countries and in many US states, it's illegal to drive with both ears covered, and mono playback means that now you finally won't have to pick between cruising along to Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" in all its glory and getting a ticket.

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Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Mono audio is also extremely useful for people with certain types of hearing loss or who are unable to hear out of one ear, offering them an absolutely essential accessibility feature. However, the people who will without question benefit the most from mono playback are all the hipsters and audiophiles who simply can't stand listening to the stereo remasterings of Beatles songs. Don't worry guys, Google's got your back.
  • Thanks:
  • Randy