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The iPod app on the iPhone (and presumably the iPod Touch) supports playback at 2x the recorded speed. This is great for listening to talk-radio podcasts when I'm driving, as I can get about twice the information in the same amount of time.

Does iTunes itself support this kind of playback? I can't seem to find the option. I'd rather play in iTunes rather than on my iPhone when I'm at my desk.

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Can't comment on the earlier answer alas, maybe someone can move this reply in there? Rather than renaming or converting files and the like, just do a "multiple item information" change on all such files and modify Media Kind to Audiobook, after doing this the iPod Touch / iPhone / iPad all provide the speed selector (make sure you modify settings so you're actually syncing the newly placed files! that got me the first time). An app for this just came out (found it just 2 seconds ago), I've only used it once, so can't vouch for it's perfection, but it appears to work! (doesn't seem to le –  Alexander Kellett Feb 13 '11 at 10:58
    
Do you have the name of this app? –  kevininspace Mar 29 '11 at 16:00
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7 Answers 7

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Here is what Apple suggests (see "Get caught speeding"):

  1. Open the selected song file with Quicktime.
  2. Choose “Show A/V Controls.”
  3. Move the “Playback Speed” slider at the bottom of the window to your preferred speed.

In Snow Leopard's Quicktime Player, option-click on the fast-forward button to increase speed in 10% increments.

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This is the closest to functional as it'll get. –  jtimberman Nov 12 '09 at 1:06
3  
Note that this only applies to Quicktime Player 7 and older. The new Quicktime Player in Snow Leopard doesn't have the "Show A/V Controls" menu item. –  Kristopher Johnson Dec 16 '09 at 16:11
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In Quicktime Player X you can hold down option and click fast forward (or rewind) and play audio faster or slower, similar to the old Show A/V Controls. Unfortunately if you pause and play again it forgets your playback speed. Yay Apple. –  Marcus Mar 14 '13 at 23:01
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Most podcasts are MP3 files. In iTunes convert the file to an AAC file (with an extension of m4a.) Change the extension to m4b and the file becomes an audiobook which can be played faster.

Source: http://forums.ilounge.com/archive/index.php/t-143990.html

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This won't actually allow you to speed the file up in iTunes, only on an iPod or iPhone. –  Marcus Oct 12 '12 at 21:40
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Not quite the answer you asked for, but quite closely related and I hit this site when I was still looking for the following, so I thought a post here might do someone else a favor.

After spending a while trying to get my mp3 lectures to play at double speed on my iPhone, I finally figured out the thing that iTunes uses to tell whether the file is a podcast or audiobook is a setting in:

"File-> Get Info-> Options tab-> Media Kind"

Set that to podcast or audiobook and voila, your iPhone will give you the option of 2x speed. This is great, because you can select a bunch of tracks and change the whole lot with a few clicks.

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+1 for helping me clear my podcast backlog –  Nick Oct 28 '09 at 15:29
    
@John: -1: Answering the wrong question. You should have searched for the correct question to answer or started your own and self-answered –  Casebash Jul 21 '10 at 23:32
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I know you specifically asked about iTunes, but the free VLC media player provides playback speed control, and can play many audio formats (but not everything iTunes can).

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Another solution could be this hint from macworld.com

Listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed

I subscribe to far-too-many podcasts now, and I've found that most of the podcasters can actually be cleanly understood even if you speed up their speech by 50%. So, when my iTunes shows that I have 45 minutes left on a podcast, and I'd rather hear that in 30 minutes, I pull down my script menu to reveal and execute the following AppleScript (saved in my user's Library -> Scripts -> Applications -> iTunes folder as Play this song at 1.5x):

tell application "iTunes"
  pause
  set my_track to location of current track
  set my_seconds to player position
end tell

tell application "QuickTime Player"
  open my_track
  set my_movie to first movie
  set ts to time scale of my_movie
  set current time of my_movie to my_seconds * ts
  set rate of my_movie to 1.5 -- starts playing
end tell

Tried on Leopard 10.5.8.

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I'll have to give this a try :) –  jtimberman Dec 16 '11 at 1:08
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If you also want to speed up video playback on your iPhone or iPad you could try Swift Player. It lets you change speeds even directly from any website, including YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jatEBbVPK7w

http://tapparatus.com/swift

If you want to change speed on the computer then the easiest way is with VLC.

http://www.videolan.org/

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As in one of the comments, when in iTunes I selected "Get Info" on all tracks for a book, went to the "Options" tab, and changed "Media Kind" to "Audiobook", I got the 2x speedup option. No need to convert to ACC etc file (mp3 worked fine).

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