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Okay these are my problem scenarios:

1) I'm cooking something and my hands are covered in animal fat. I'm listening to a podcast on my iPhone, which is sat on a counter nearby. It's been playing for some time so the display has turned itself off. Someone comes in and asks me something and I need to pause it quickly, then play it again when the person has gone.

2) I'm listening to an audiobook and the chapter ends. It's a good point to stop listening and go do something else. By the time I've reached for my phone, swiped to unlock it, opened the app and tapped pause, the next chapter has started and the story has now stopped mid-sentence.

So basically, isn't there some solution for these important first world problems? I don't like using headphones all the time, so a headphone-based remote control is not a solution for me.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

This remote control appears to connect to the Bluetooth in your phone in order to be able to control it's audio output.

You could also purchase a dock with a remote for your iPhone. A remote of this nature would have a hardware Play/Pause button on it which you could press to quickly stop the music.

For the sake of example: I found this so you can get a picture of what I'm talking about.

One other thing: double tapping the home button when the iPhone is locked comes up with Play/Pause controls which you could tap with your knuckle or something. This is also a fast and easy way to change tracks in general.

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Thanks! But do you know of any docks which don't need to be plugged-in for the remote control to work? – Nicolas Nov 6 '12 at 22:09
Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any battery operated docks. That doesn't mean they don't exist though. However, I would be surprised, because most docks charge your iPhone while it is attached. If it does work for you to get power, this dock and remote is really nice. For a minute (as evidenced by my answer edits) I thought the Apple Remote would work with just your iPhone, but that was incorrect. – bassplayer7 Nov 6 '12 at 22:28
What about this? – bassplayer7 Nov 6 '12 at 22:29
the double-tapping home button suggestion is an especially good one. It's the fastest way to stop or start audio without some additional hardware. I wish they'd make the audio controls visible on the lockscreen without the double tap. – Chris Herbert Nov 7 '12 at 0:48
The Satechi remote control looks perfect (especialy after reading…). Thank you very much! – Nicolas Nov 17 '12 at 16:57

I use the Take Five app to make pausing music or podcasts extremely simple.

You get the default 5 minute pause and the music will resume, but you can drag the slider to many more minutes if desired.

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