For the majority of phones, Android's volume rocker is wrong. A large vocal part of the Android community wishes the volume buttons' default control was the media volume, not the ringer. Although the Galaxy Note 9 is in the "wrong" camp, Samsung has included multiple ways to change it.
We've found three methods to make the Galaxy Note 9's volume buttons control media volume by default. In other words, no waiting for the system to recognize that media's playing — the buttons will simply adjust the media volume right away every time. All three are super simple, but the impact from this one small change is far from small, and is one of the reasons why Samsung is so beloved.
The easiest way is right in your phone's stock Settings menu. Open the Setting menu and select "Sounds and vibration." Enable the toggle next to "Use volume keys for media" to switch the default action.
Another simple method is hidden in the volume menu itself. Press the volume rocker to adjust the sound of the ringer. Select the down arrow on the right side of the slider to expand the menu. On the bottom of the volume menu will be the toggle "Use Volume keys for media." Enable this toggle to switch the default action of the volume rocker.
The third method uses a versatile app created by Samsung themselves. Download the SoundAssistant app from the Google Play Store — it's free and useful for not only changing the volume rocker's default action, but increasing the number of steps to go from silent to max volume.
- Play Store Link: SoundAssistant (free)
Open the app and select the toggle "Control media volume." This will also switch the volume rocker to control media by default.
Using any of the three methods, whenever you press the volume rocker, you will adjust the media volume first. No longer do you first need to be in a video or listening to a song to manage its volume. To access the ringtone or notification volume, you just need to expand the volume menu first, then adjust the slider. As you see with the gif, with our Galaxy Note 9 (provided by Verizon), the volume rocker managed the media control even while we were in the browser.
Whereas most Android phones need a workaround or have to wait for Android 9.0 Pie, the Galaxy Note 9 can already switch its default action. What do you think about Samsung including the options in Settings? Let us know in the comments below.