AVPlayer stops playing and doesn't resume again

In my application I have to play audio files stored on a web server. I'm using AVPlayer for it. I have all the play/pause controls and all delegates and observers there which work perfectly fine. On playing small audio files everything works great.

When a long audio file is played it also starts playing fine but after some seconds the AVPlayer pauses the playing (most probably to buffer it). The issue is it doesn't resume on its own again. It keeps in a pause state and if I manually press the play button again it plays smoothly again.

I want to know why AVPlayer doesn't resume automatically and how can I manage to resume the audio again without user pressing the play button again? Thanks.


Yes, it stops because the buffer is empty so it has to wait to load more video. After that you have to manually ask for start again. To solve the problem I followed these steps:

1) Detection: To detect when the player has stopped I use the KVO with the rate property of the value:

-(void)observeValueForKeyPath:(NSString *)keyPath ofObject:(id)object change:(NSDictionary *)change context:(void *)context
    if ([keyPath isEqualToString:@"rate"] )

        if (self.player.rate == 0 && CMTimeGetSeconds(self.playerItem.duration) != CMTimeGetSeconds(self.playerItem.currentTime) && self.videoPlaying)
            [self continuePlaying];

This condition: CMTimeGetSeconds(self.playerItem.duration) != CMTimeGetSeconds(self.playerItem.currentTime) is to detect the difference between arriving at the end of the video or stopping in the middle

2) Wait for the video to load - If you continue playing directly you will not have enough buffer to continue playing without interruption. To know when to start you have to observe the value playbackLikelytoKeepUp from the playerItem (here I use a library to observe with blocks but I think it makes the point):


if (!self.playerItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp)
    self.loadingView.hidden = NO;
    __weak typeof(self) wSelf = self;
    self.playbackLikelyToKeepUpKVOToken = [self.playerItem addObserverForKeyPath:@keypath(_playerItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp) block:^(id obj, NSDictionary *change) {
        __strong typeof(self) sSelf = wSelf;
            if (sSelf.playerItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp)
                [sSelf.playerItem removeObserverForKeyPath:@keypath(_playerItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp) token:self.playbackLikelyToKeepUpKVOToken];
                sSelf.playbackLikelyToKeepUpKVOToken = nil;
                [sSelf continuePlaying];

And that's it! problem solved

Edit: By the way the library used is libextobjc

I am working with video files, so there's more to my code than you need, but the following solution should pause the player when it hangs, then check every 0.5 second to see whether we've buffered enough to keep up. If so, it restarts the player. If the player hangs for more than 10 seconds without restarting, we stop the player and apologize to the user. This means you need the right observers in place. The code below is working pretty well for me.

properties defined / init'd in a .h file or elsewhere:

AVPlayer *player;  
int playerTryCount = -1; // this should get set to 0 when the AVPlayer starts playing
NSNotificationCenter *notificationCenter = [NSNotificationCenter defaultCenter];

partial .m:

- (AVPlayer *)initializePlayerFromURL:(NSURL *)movieURL {
  // create AVPlayer
  AVPlayerItem *videoItem = [AVPlayerItem playerItemWithURL:movieURL];
  AVPlayer *videoPlayer = [AVPlayer playerWithPlayerItem:videoItem];

  // add Observers
  [videoItem addObserver:self forKeyPath:@"playbackLikelyToKeepUp" options:NSKeyValueObservingOptionInitial | NSKeyValueObservingOptionNew context:nil];
  [self startNotificationObservers]; // see method below
  // I observe a bunch of other stuff, but this is all you need for this to work

  return videoPlayer;

- (void)observeValueForKeyPath:(NSString *)keyPath ofObject:(id)object change:(NSDictionary *)change context:(void *)context {
  // check that all conditions for a stuck player have been met
  if ([keyPath isEqualToString:@"playbackLikelyToKeepUp"]) {
      if (self.player.currentItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp == NO &&
          CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(self.player.currentTime, >, kCMTimeZero) && 
          CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(self.player.currentTime, !=, self.player.currentItem.duration)) {

              // if so, post the playerHanging notification
              [self.notificationCenter postNotificationName:PlayerHangingNotification object:self.videoPlayer];

- (void)startNotificationObservers {
    [self.notificationCenter addObserver:self 

    [self.notificationCenter addObserver:self 

// playerHanging simply decides whether to wait 0.5 seconds or not
// if so, it pauses the player and sends a playerContinue notification
// if not, it puts us out of our misery
- (void)playerHanging {
    if (playerTryCount <= 10) {

      playerTryCount += 1;
      [self.player pause];
      // start an activity indicator / busy view
      [self.notificationCenter postNotificationName:PlayerContinueNotification object:self.player];

    } else { // this code shouldn't actually execute, but I include it as dummyproofing

      [self stopPlaying]; // a method where I clean up the AVPlayer,
                          // which is already paused

      // Here's where I'd put up an alertController or alertView
      // to say we're sorry but we just can't go on like this anymore

// playerContinue does the actual waiting and restarting
- (void)playerContinue {
    if (CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(self.player.currentTime, ==, self.player.currentItem.duration)) { // we've reached the end

      [self stopPlaying];

    } else if (playerTryCount  > 10) // stop trying

      [self stopPlaying];
      // put up "sorry" alert

    } else if (playerTryCount == 0) {

      return; // protects against a race condition

    } else if (self.player.currentItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp == YES) {

      // Here I stop/remove the activity indicator I put up in playerHanging
      playerTryCount = 0;
      [self.player play]; // continue from where we left off

    } else { // still hanging, not at end

        // create a 0.5-second delay to see if buffering catches up
        // then post another playerContinue notification to call this method again
        // in a manner that attempts to avoid any recursion or threading nightmares 
        playerTryCount += 1;
        double delayInSeconds = 0.5;
        dispatch_time_t executeTime = dispatch_time(DISPATCH_TIME_NOW, delayInSeconds * NSEC_PER_SEC);
        dispatch_after(executeTime, dispatch_get_main_queue(), ^{

          // test playerTryCount again to protect against changes that might have happened during the 0.5 second delay
          if (playerTryCount > 0) {
              if (playerTryCount <= 10) {
                [self.notificationCenter postNotificationName:PlayerContinueNotification object:self.videoPlayer];
              } else {
                [self stopPlaying];
                // put up "sorry" alert

Hope it helps!

I had a similar issue. I had some local files i wanted to play, configured the AVPlayer and called [player play], the player stops at frame 0 and wouldn't play anymore until i called play again manually. The accepted answer was impossible for me to implement due to faulty explanation, then i just tried delaying the play and magically worked

[self performSelector:@selector(startVideo) withObject:nil afterDelay:0.2];

    [self.videoPlayer play];

For web videos i also had the problem, i solve it using wallace's answer.

When creating the AVPlayer add an observer:

[self.videoItem addObserver:self forKeyPath:@"playbackLikelyToKeepUp" options:NSKeyValueObservingOptionInitial | NSKeyValueObservingOptionNew context:nil];

- (void)observeValueForKeyPath:(NSString *)keyPath ofObject:(id)object change:(NSDictionary *)change context:(void *)context {
// check that all conditions for a stuck player have been met
if ([keyPath isEqualToString:@"playbackLikelyToKeepUp"]) {
    if (self.videoPlayer.currentItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp == NO &&
        CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(self.videoPlayer.currentTime, >, kCMTimeZero) &&
        CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(self.videoPlayer.currentTime, !=, self.videoPlayer.currentItem.duration)) {
        [self performSelector:@selector(startVideo) withObject:nil afterDelay:0.2];


Remember to remove observer before dismissing the view

[self.videoItem removeObserver:self forKeyPath:@"playbackLikelyToKeepUp"]

I think use AVPlayerItemPlaybackStalledNotification to detect the stalled is a better way.

Accepted answer gives a possible solution to the problem, but it lacks flexibility, also it's hard to read. Here's more flexible solution.

Add observers:

//_player is instance of AVPlayer
[_player.currentItem addObserver:self forKeyPath:@"status" options:0 context:nil];
[_player addObserver:self forKeyPath:@"rate" options:0 context:nil];


                      context:(void*)context {

    if ([keyPath isEqualToString:@"status"]) {
        if (_player.status == AVPlayerStatusFailed) {
            //Possibly show error message or attempt replay from tart
            //Description from the docs:
            //  Indicates that the player can no longer play AVPlayerItem instances because of an error. The error is described by
            //  the value of the player's error property.
    }else if ([keyPath isEqualToString:@"rate"]) {
        if (_player.rate == 0 && //if player rate dropped to 0
                CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(_player.currentItem.currentTime, >, kCMTimeZero) && //if video was started
                CMTIME_COMPARE_INLINE(_player.currentItem.currentTime, <, _player.currentItem.duration) && //but not yet finished
                _isPlaying) { //instance variable to handle overall state (changed to YES when user triggers playback)
            [self handleStalled];


-(void)handleStalled {
    NSLog(@"Handle stalled. Available: %lf", [self availableDuration]);

    if (_player.currentItem.playbackLikelyToKeepUp || //
            [self availableDuration] - CMTimeGetSeconds(_player.currentItem.currentTime) > 10.0) {
        [_player play];
    } else {
        [self performSelector:@selector(handleStalled) withObject:nil afterDelay:0.5]; //try again

The "[self availableDuration]" is optional, but you can manually launch playback based on amount of video available. You can change how often the code checks whether enough video is buffered. If you decide to use the optional part, here's the method implementation:

- (NSTimeInterval) availableDuration
    NSArray *loadedTimeRanges = [[_player currentItem] loadedTimeRanges];
    CMTimeRange timeRange = [[loadedTimeRanges objectAtIndex:0] CMTimeRangeValue];
    Float64 startSeconds = CMTimeGetSeconds(timeRange.start);
    Float64 durationSeconds = CMTimeGetSeconds(timeRange.duration);
    NSTimeInterval result = startSeconds + durationSeconds;
    return result;

Don't forget the cleanup. Remove observers:

[_player.currentItem removeObserver:self forKeyPath:@"status"];
[_player removeObserver:self forKeyPath:@"rate"];

And possible pending calls to handle stalled video:

[UIView cancelPreviousPerformRequestsWithTarget:self selector:@selector(handleStalled) object:nil];

First I observe for playback stalling

NSNotificationCenter.defaultCenter().addObserver(self, selector: #selector(playerStalled),
    name: AVPlayerItemPlaybackStalledNotification, object: videoPlayer.currentItem)

Then I force playback continuation

func playerStalled(note: NSNotification) {
  let playerItem = note.object as! AVPlayerItem
  if let player = playerItem.valueForKey("player") as? AVPlayer{

This is probably not the best way of doing it, but I'm using it until I find something better :)

in very bad network playbackLikelyToKeepUp most probably to be false.

use kvo to observe playbackBufferEmpty is better, more sensitive to if existing buffer data that can be used for playback .if the value change to true you can call play method to continue playback.

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