Dozens of times a day it is possible to find someone strolling along sprouting wires from their ears and bopping along to music from something smaller than a credit card. But can one individual’s personal music interfere with another’s personal space? All too often it does when people don’t know their iPod etiquette, but these eight statements can clear up any uncertainties about when it is and isn’t appropriate to use your personal music device to the fullest.
My volume should be at a level where I can enjoy it no matter what.
Under no circumstances should someone else be able to hear your music while you are wearing earphones or earbuds. Most iPods and other music devices have volume control locks to set a maximum value, and that will help you avoid sharing your favorite retro ’80s tunes with everyone nearby. Furthermore, keeping the volume lower can be a safety issue for you to stay aware of your surroundings and keep in touch with the world outside your iPod.
I never need to adjust the brightness level of my iPod’s screen.
Even that tiny screen can become a shining beacon of annoyance in a dark room such as a dorm or movie theater. Furthermore, if you travel frequently by night either on buses or planes, lowering the brightness level can help keep your device from disturbing other passengers. Lowering the brightness level also helps save battery power, allowing you to enjoy your music far longer than if you keep the screen at its brightest.
If the device is off, I can leave my earphones in since I can hear everything anyway.
There is no way for others to tell if the music is playing or not while you’re wearing the earphones, particularly if the volume is set courteously low. Earphones should always be removed when you’re speaking with others so they know they have your full attention and do not have to raise their voices to compete with non-existent music. Removing the earphones also gives your ears a chance to get fresh air and help you avoid ear infections.
Since the volume is low and the earbuds aren’t too noticeable, I can listen to my iPod anywhere.
While portable music devices are perfect for public transit, while exercising, or listening to tunes in private, they are not suitable accessories for church, school, or during any occasion where guest speakers are present such as luncheons, workshops, or lectures. You should also keep your music off during social occasions or special events such as group parties or weddings.
I can sing along to my personal music as long as I do so quietly.
Nothing looks more idiotic than someone singing off-key to music that no one else can hear. At least if you were singing along with louder music you might be drowned out by the real artists, but when using an iPod be sure to exercise your vocal cords in your mind only. Furthermore, lip syncing is not an option because not only is there no music, now there are no words, prompting even more strange looks and snickers in your direction. Even if you are in tune with your music, when you reach a favorite song you may find your volume swelling out of control, which is even more discourteous.
If I share my headphones, I should wipe them off to avoid cooties.
Hopefully neither you nor the person you are sharing the music with has cooties, but wiping off your ear wax and sweat is a courteous gesture when offering to give someone a listen of your favorite song. The bacteria that cause ear infections can also be spread through earphones, and wiping them off is not only more sanitary, but it is safer.
I should always lower the volume when I return a borrowed device.
While you and your closest friends may enjoy rocking out to the extreme, it can be annoying to turn on an iPod that someone else has borrowed to find it blasting through the speakers. Always lower the volume so that it is still audible but not painful for the next user, and they will be able to adjust it for their listening pleasure. You should also be sure the device is recharged so the owner can listen to their music as long as they like without difficulty.
If I borrow an iPod, it’s okay to return it straight from my bag.
In your bag (or locker, or pocket) any small device can acquire smudges, dust, and fingerprints. Cords can also become hopelessly tangled for no apparent reason. When you return someone else’s iPod, be sure to wipe it off first and wind the cords carefully around the body of the device to keep them tangle-free. Lowering the volume and recharging the device are other courteous steps to take before you return it.
Personal music devices are everywhere and used by nearly everyone, but that doesn’t mean everyone is using them in the most courteous way possible. By observing these principles of iPod etiquette, you can listen to your tunes without giving offense, embarrassing yourself, or otherwise looking like an uncouth caveman with wires in his ears.