Talking Tuner

Last modified
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Description of App

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HotPaw Talking Tuner is a hands-off, sound-activated, talking musical instrument tuner. It talks to tell you if you are in tune or not, so you don't even have to look at it. Talking Tuner uses built-in speech synthesis, and thus does not require that VoiceOver be enabled.

I received a request to develop an iPhone app which could help a vision-challenged individual tune their musical instrument. This is the result. Talking Tuner can assist someone to tune a musical instrument without having to look at or touch their iPhone's display.

With the Auto-Speak switch turned on, Talking Tuner will listen for a note to be played, and then, after waiting for the end of the sound (so as not to talk over it), will speak the note name, and how many cents sharp or flat the end of the note is estimated to be.

Using headphones may help make it easier to hear what this app is saying while tuning. Make sure to turn the volume up high enough to hear it.

The pitch estimation algorithm works best for notes between 2 octaves below Middle-C to 2 octaves above Middle-C. It may not work as well for very low notes, very high notes, or with any background noise, harmony, or accompaniment present. The accuracy is about +- 3 cents (3/100ths of the pitch difference between semitones).



Free or Paid


Apple Watch Support

Not Known

Device(s) App Was Tested On


Accessibility Comments

Designed specifically for a visually impaired muso, so everything works a treat.

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

Most buttons are clearly labeled.


The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments

The app is self-voicing if VoiceOver isn't running when you launch it, but the most recent couple of updates have tightened up the VoiceOver integration and made it more productive to use. If the voice used in the original version turned you off, you should definitely revisit it now.


4 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Scottsdale 2 years 8 months ago



Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, July 15, 2011

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
The app works flawlessly with VoiceOver, and it couldn't be easier to use. Just open the app and play a note on your instrument of choice (singing works too); that's all there is to it. It appears to be very accurate, as several tests on an electronic keyboard indicated "in tune"--as one would hope from a keyboard. It did have some trouble with really high notes, but that is to be expected. I also tried it on a piano that I know for a fact is a bit out of tune, and the app told me as much. As I stated in the subject, this is a must-have app for any musicians who are visually impaired.

the most recent update is a nice improvement on an already good app: not only is the VoiceOver integration working better, but the whole thing seems a little more responsive. I agree, a must-have!

Submitted by Keith on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Has anyone had success using this App with something like I-rig? I'd like to be able to plug an electric guitar into my phone to tune in loud places.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I'll have to take another look at the app.
I had it a few years back, but always had a hard time with the voice not even speaking. I'd usually have to turn on VO, and swipe to check what it said.
I've not used it in quite some time. So whether or not any updates has been made I'm not sure.
I'm also not too sure if me usually tuning my guitar in a dropped tuning like dropped C had any problem with the app. I do remember the app did say that certain octaves lo or high will not do too well.

Submitted by Luke on Monday, February 22, 2021

I've connected my electric guitar to my class compliant USB recording interface and then connected the interface to my iPhone with a USB to lightning adapter. I know my phone recognizes the audio interface because all phone sounds are coming from the speakers connected to the interface. However, when I play a note on my guitar, talking tun er doesn't seem to see any signal. I assumed it would look at the audio coming through the interface instead of the phone mic, but perhaps this isn't the case. There is no option in talking tuner's settings to tell it to use the external interface, either. Is this not possible?

Submitted by Ali Colak on Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Can this do solfege. It seems like a lovely app, but its not very useful to me if it can't.

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