There’s no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is easily one of the best smartphones available right now, but it’s not without its annoyances – and one of the biggest is the distracting camera shutter sound which thunders off by default when ever you take a picture.
But how can you turn it off? Read on for our tips on how to get rid of the unwanted racket (Note: title updated to add Galaxy S3 as the fixes work for those handsets too).
1. Just turn it off in settings
The easiest way to turn off the shutter sound – if you happen to the have the right version of the S4 – is to go into your camera app, select settings (the cog icon) and turn the shutter sound to ‘off.’
The only problem is that millions of Samsung S4’s don’t have this option due to local privacy laws.
2. Turn the phone to silent or vibrate
If you can remember to turn off the volume every time you want to take a photo this works very well – just put the phone to silent or vibrate mode, and the shutter and auto-focus sounds of your camera will be inaudible.
It’s easy to get to the phone’s mute control quickly – just pull down the notification panel, and then toggle between sound, vibrate and silent.
This works every time until the moment that you try to take a discrete shot only to discover that you’ve forgotten to turn off the volume and “CLICK!” – the whole world knows what you’re up to.
Note: muting the volume won’t work with all S4 variants, so some will still make a noise when the phone is muted.
3. Download another camera app
This is a bit of a frustrating fix because I rather like the built-in app, but there are quite a few apps available which will silence the pesky clunking noise.
My favourite silent camera app is ProCapture, is a fully featured affair packed full of options, with the only drawback being that the free version has limited output resolution and no touch-to-focus.
Its also worth noting that both versions are a bit slower to start up than the built-in camera app.
Silent Camera (pictured above) is a fairly basic and gloriously silent camera app, which is free to download but comes with adverts.
[High Quality] Silent camera lets you sneakily take photos without the screen on, although the ad-supported app has a bit of a creaky interface and there seems to be some debate amongst Google Play users as to how ‘high quality’ the results are.
It’s definitely worth trying different apps out first, because not all may work as advertised on your handset.
For example, the hugely popular Camera Zoom FX has a promising toggle switch entitled, “enable shutter sound,” but unticking this makes not a jot of difference – and that’s a bit frustrating seeing as I paid for the thing.
As for me, I ended up forking out for the paid version of ProCapture and that’s what I now use every day on my S4.
4. Rooty things
To take real control of your phone, you need to root your phone. It’s not particularly hard to do but – to be honest – it’s not a job for the technophobic.
Once rooted, it’s a case of navigating to the folder where your audio files are stored (usually system/media/audio/ui ) and renaming all the files relating to the camera noise (e.g. shutter.ogg, auto-focus.ogg, camera_click.ogg, camera_focus.ogg, videorecord.ogg) – and voila! You’re the owner of a silent camera!
6. Install Tasker
Tasker is a clever – and horribly complicated – app that lets you automate actions on your phone, so it’s possible to set it so that every time you fire up your camera, the phone is muted. It’s really not an easy program to get your head around, but it does seem to work (for most people).
Here’s the instructions from their website:
How can I silence the camera shutter sound ?
This varies per device.
Try creating a new profile with an App context and select the Camera app. When asked to create a task, add the following actions:
- Task / Wait, 2 seconds
- Audio / Sound Effects, off
- Audio / Media Volume, 0
- Audio / System Volume, 0
- Audio / Notification Volume, 0
- Audio / Silent Mode, on
Then go to the Camera app, wait a couple of seconds and try taking a picture.
If you still hear the shutter sound, go back to the Tasker UI, click on the task that you created and hit the Play button bottom-left to run the task manually. Then go back to the Camera app. If you still hear the shutter sound, then it’s not going to be possible for Tasker to disable it on your device.
Some manufacturers deliberately prevent disabling of the shutter sound, perhaps for legal reasons.
A user has reported that setting DTMF volume to 0 removes the focus sound in the camera app.
Good luck with this because we gave up trying to get Tasker’s interface to do any if the above.
Update: after a bit more fiddling about we got Tasker to silence the shutter sound so it is worth persevering
6. Other options
This video shows off another workaround, which is a bit of a faff. It explains that the Samsung camera app lets you take photos as you’re filming a video, and those photos are fired off without a camera noise sounding.
Although it does work, there’s still the problem of the beep that sounds when video mode is turned on/off and you’d be stuck with videos you don’t want every time.
With so many different models of S4s available, there’s no shortage of solutions available and not all will work on your handset.
If none of the above have worked for you, I’d recommend visiting xda-developers.com where there’s some great tech resources on offer.