indicator sound switcher
Indicator Sound Switcher running on the Ubuntu desktop

Indicator Sound Switcher is — no prizes for guessing — a sound input/output selector for the Ubuntu desktop.

Many Linux desktop environments, such as Budgie, give us an easily accessible way to quickly switch between multiple sound input and output sources.

Ubuntu’s Unity desktop doesn’t — rather, not as easily accessible as others.

To switch input/output on Ubuntu you need to click the Sound indicator, select Preferences, and then configure your audio set-up in System Settings before hitting ‘Ok’ to have them apply.

This is a perfectly acceptable way of managing audio devices as few of us switch sources with any major regularity.

But ‘few’ isn’t ‘no-one’.

If you do regularly switch between multiple audio sources on Ubuntu, from your laptop’s built-in speakers to headphones, from a USB headset to built-in microphone and the like, then the simple Indicator Sound Switcher applet can really help speed things up.

“It shows an icon in the indicator area in Ubuntu’s Panel. The icon’s menu allows you to switch the current sound input and output (i.e., source ports and sink ports in PulseAudio’s terms, respectively) with just two clicks,” the applet’s developer, Dmitry Kann, writes on the GitHub project page.

The applet intelligently shows/hides audio sources based on their availability. When you don’t have your USB condenser mic plugged in you won’t see it show up as an option in the sound switcher menu.

Which is literally neat!

The latest version of Indicator Sound Switcher applet also supports graphics card profiles, is rewritten in Python 3, and requires PulseAudio 4.0 (if you’re using an up-to-date version of Ubuntu, you already use this).

Install Indicator Sound Switcher on Ubuntu

There are a number of ways to install ‘Indicator Sound Switcher’ on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and above.

You can download and compile the applet manually from source by cloning or grabbing the source code from GitHub:

Visit Indicator Sound Switcher on GitHub

You can add the indicator’s official PPA to Ubuntu Software Sources and install it on your desktop by entering these commands in a new Terminal window (Ctrl + Alt + T):

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:yktooo/ppa
sudo apt update && sudo apt install indicator-sound-switcher

If you don’t want to add yet-another PPA you can download a pre-built installer instead:

Download Indicator Sound Switcher 2.3.5 for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

indicator-applets indicator-feature soundapplet