Take Five: Pause and Resume Your Tunes in Style

This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on March 31st, 2011.

It’s a problem we’ve all faced. You’re happily listening to a podcast or song when the phone rings or someone interrupts you. The track is paused, you deal with the distraction, and then get back to work. Only half an hour later do you realise that you never hit play again!

Although this isn’t an earth-shattering problem, a simple utility to combat this seemed like a great idea to me – especially one produced by the super-talented Iconfactory team.

Their Take Five application has been available on the iPhone for a little while, and today makes its debut on the Mac platform. Let’s take a look and see how it works.

In Your Dock or Menubar

After downloading and installing Take Five from the Mac App Store, it initially shows up both in your dock and menubar. Both of these locations include functionality, but you’ll find that this is predominantly a menubar app.

If you’d rather not have Take Five showing up in Dock, you can turn this off in preferences – something I did straight away!


Just click the dock icon to pause

Functionality-wise, this is a remarkably simple affair. If you’d like to pause the track you’re currently listening to, just click the menubar icon and then hit the big pause button. This will automatically pause your track for the pre-defined “default” length of time (five minutes).

Alternatively, you can click and drag the slider to change the pause duration if you want to choose something other than your standard default.

After clicking away, the menubar icon changes to a subtle countdown timer that ticks off the seconds until your music is due to start playing again. This is done in a way that isn’t visually distracting.

Ten seconds before the track commences playing again, the Take Five window will appear. This is an incredibly thoughtful design decision, and it’s vital to receive a short warning before your music starts. This gives you the option to extend the length of the pause if you’re still busy.

It’s Beautiful

As with anything that comes out of the Iconfactory doors, Take Five has a gorgeous interface. It’s an absolute pleasure to use, and makes the occasional popup a delight to see rather than an annoyance:

Take Five in Action

Take Five in Action

Tweaking the Preferences

Despite the fact that this is a very simple app, there are a few preferences for you to take a look at:

Preferences and Settings

Preferences and Settings

First up, you can change the “Default Timer Duration”. Your needs may vary, but I found a five minute window to be perfect – almost always enough time for me to deal with a distraction and get back to work.

There are also various key combinations to control the app – you can show/hide Take Five, start/stop the timer, play/pause your music, or show and hide iTunes. Some of these aren’t directly related to Take Five itself but are very useful nonetheless.

Plays Well With Others

When this review was first published, Take Five only worked on iTunes, which was its biggest downfall. However, the functionality has been expanded remarkably and now includes just about every major Mac audio app you could hope for. Here’s a complete list:

  • iTunes
  • Spotify
  • Rdio
  • Ecoute
  • Sonora
  • Pulsar
  • Radium

On Sale Now!

Take Five will typically run you $3.99 but it’s temporarily on sale for only $0.99! Be sure to stop by the Mac App Store and download your copy before the price shoots back up.


Take Five is a simple menubar utility that pauses your music, and automatically resumes it after a certain period of time. As with anything from the Iconfactory, it looks beautiful.