Push to Talk lets you quickly mute your mic during online chats

If you are like me you audio or video chat from your computer a lot, I sometimes use Skype, Google Hangout, and even FaceTime. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to quickly mute yourself regardless of what app you are using?

What problem does this solve?

Weekly I do a WordPress web show called WPwatercooler that we record over Google Hangout. Sometimes the environment that I’m recording from isn’t under my control so I end up with loud background noise. As they say in show business “the show must go on” so regardless of the noise you just have to make it happen. Now you can use this app to mute your mic quickly.

How does it work?

Push to Talk works by adding a hotkey switch for your microphone. Setting it to a key that you don’t commonly use (capslock, eject, etc..) you can have your mic muted. There is also an option to Push to Talk walkie-talkie style. With these two settings you’ll be able to find a setting that works well for your setup.

Where do I get it?

Push to Talk app is available in the App Store for $0.99.

What are the alternatives?

OS X has this functionality built-in but requires some digging. If you go to Applications folder and then Audio Midi Setup you can click on one of the inputs on the left and then click the “Master Mute” button on the right to mute all the channels of that input. This gives better control and works globally vs the way that Push to Talk works on the application level.


Talk geeky to me

As with most OS X utilities there is a way to do this with AppleScript, here’s how:

set inputVolume to input volume of (get volume settings)
if inputVolume = 0 then
    set inputVolume to 100
    set inputVolume to 0
end if
set volume input volume inputVolume

This method doesn’t require you to activate the System Preference as indicated in the alternatives above. This method i instead it is getting the system’s volume settings, and then checking to see if the input volume is currently set to zero and if it is it will set the input volume to 100, and if it isn’t it will set the volume to 0.

To use this method you’ll want to assign this to a key on the keyboard using something like Alfred. Using this method to set it up:



Thanks to SuperUser.com for the mishmosh of instructions above.

Do you do this or some other method to mute your mic? Let me know in the comments below.