13 Ways to fix low iPhone volume in headphones

Fix Low Volume Through EarPhone on iPhone

Listening to podcasts, audiobooks, and music, or even calling a loved one through the earphones/headphones, is an excellent way to enjoy the moment privately. Listening through your headphones is especially helpful in a busy or loud environment.

But nothing ruins the experience more than a very low audio volume. Is your iPhone’s volume too quiet when trying to listen through your headphones? Can’t seem to make it any louder?

I’ve made a list of things to check and troubleshooting tips to help you fix the low volume in headphones on your iPhone.

  1. Check your headphones
  2. Check your environment
  3. Check iPhone settings
  4. Disable the Headphone Safety feature
  5. Disable Phone Noise Cancellation on iPhone
  6. Turn Airplane Mode on/off
  7. Turn Bluetooth off and on
  8. Restart your iPhone
  9. Update your iPhone
  10. Adjust the audio volume balance
  11. Utilize iPhone’s Music EQ
  12. Amplify with an app
  13. Ask for professional help

1. Check your headphones

Before we go head to software fixes, let’s tackle the possible external issues.

  • Check the headset: it may be a hardware defect causing the sounds to be so quiet. This may be the case if you just bought your earphones or if you’ve worn them out after years of use. To check, plug in your earphones on another device.
  • Check if they are appropriately plugged in: Check the connection between your device’s audio socket and the earphone’s plug. Improperly plugged earphones may cause static noises, missing audio on an ear, or sounds being too soft. You should feel a distinct click as you push the jack or lightning connector to the iPhone’s socket.
  • Check for any blockages: Dirt, lint, dust, or other debris can also prevent your headphone jack from connecting to the audio port. Clean the jack or lightning connector with a cotton bud with some alcohol. Check your earbuds, too; it’s not uncommon to see earwax buildup on the earbuds, especially when you use them for hours on end. This may cause the sounds to become muffled.
  • Check for damage: See if there are any breaks in the cords, as it’s pretty common for earphones to get pulled and cut. The most commonly damaged area is where the wire meets the jack.
  • Check if they have enough charge: If you’re using wireless headsets, check if your hearing devices still carry enough charge. A Bluetooth earphone running on a low battery can affect the sound quality and volume they produce.
  • Ensure proper placement and fit: Everyone has a different ear shape. Make sure you’re using the right earbud size for your ear so it makes a good, secure seal.

2. Check your environment

Sometimes, the external environment is really just too loud, making it seem like the sounds you hear over your earphones are too quiet. If you’re using wireless headphones, metal desks or physical barriers can cause connectivity issues between the headphones and the iPhone.

So try the earphones in a different environment and remove any barriers.

3. Check your iPhone settings 

If you’ve checked your headphones and it works perfectly fine with other devices, the issue may be with your iPhone. Here are several things you can check:

  • Check if your volume is turned down: While this may seem like a no-brainer, there have been plenty of times that I’ve panicked over not hearing anything, only to find out that my iPhone’s volume is turned too low. 
  • Check if you can’t change your volume with the side buttons: See if touching the volume buttons on the side alters your volume. If it doesn’t, head to Settings → Sounds & Haptics. Toggle Change with Buttons on so you can adjust your volume using the buttons.

    Change your volume with the side buttons on iPhone
  • Check if Do Not Disturb is activated: Do Not Disturb does not alter your volume’s sounds but may prevent notifications from reaching you, including messages and calls. If you’re bothered that you can’t hear messages, calls, and certain app notifications, head to your Control Center and see if a Focus or Do Not Disturb is enabled.
  • Ensure that iPhone is not on Silent: You may have also set your phone to Silent. Being on Silent mode doesn’t affect music volume, but it may lower your iPhone’s alarm sound. If the switch on the upper-left side of your phone is switched back (showing orange), then your device is simply on mute.
  • See your Bluetooth connections: Ensure your audio is directed to your iPhone instead of elsewhere. You can check your Control Center’s music box and the volume icon to see if the sound is transmitted via Bluetooth, the headphones, or directly through the iPhone.

4. Disable the Headphone Safety feature

Your volume may also be too low because the maximum volume for iPhone’s Headphone Safety feature has been set too low to protect your hearing. To check:

  1. Open Settings → Sounds & Haptics.
  2. Tap Headphone Safety
  3. Toggle Reduce Loud Sounds off.

    Disable the Headphone Safety feature on iPhone

Instead of turning the feature off altogether, you can just set the limit higher. The feature is default set to an 85-decibel limit, described as loud as heavy traffic. You can set it to as high as 100 decibels, which is as loud as an ambulance siren.

5. Disable Phone Noise Cancellation on iPhone

This feature reduces background noise to make the caller’s voice stand out. However, some have reported that sometimes, this mutes the person’s voice instead of the background noise, causing low iPhone call volume. To disable the feature:

  1. Go to Settings → Accessibility.
  2. Tap Audio/Visual.
  3. Toggle Phone Noise Cancellation off.

    Disable Noise Cancellation on iPhone

6. Turn Airplane Mode on/off

Airplane Mode is an easy solution to most minor glitches, like when the iPhone gets stuck in headphone mode or when iMessage isn’t working on the iPhone. Similarly, you may try toggling Airplane Mode on and off several times. Just let your iPhone stay in Airplane mode for several seconds before turning it off.

Enable and disable Airplane mode

7. Turn Bluetooth off and on

If you’re only experiencing issues when using a Bluetooth device, you may try turning the device’s Bluetooth off and on. If this doesn’t fix it, unpair the device and pair it anew.

Turn on or off Bluetooth on iPhone

8. Restart your iPhone

Another easy fix for most bugs is by rebooting your device. Turn your iPhone off and wait a few minutes before turning it on. Try listening to music on your earphones again.

9. Update your iPhone

An outdated OS may also be to blame for the volume glitches of your iPhone. Make sure that your iPhone is running on an updated operating system.

10. Adjust the audio volume balance

If one earpiece is louder than the other, you may have accidentally tinkered with your iPhone and changed the audio volume balance. This is an iPhone’s Accessibility feature designed for people with hearing difficulties.

It basically lets you move the volume balance between the left and right channels so you can allocate more sound to your “better” ear.

  1. Go to Settings → Accessibility.
  2. Tap Audio/Visual.
  3. Scroll down and slide the Balance Slider to adjust the volume balance. Moving the slider to the right makes the volume of the right channel louder.

    Adjust the audio volume balance on iPhone

We’ve also written an article on how to fix headphones or AirPods that only play on one ear.

11. Utilize iPhone’s Music EQ

Maybe the issue lies in the audio file itself, or it’s just your preference to make your notifications, alarms, or music play as loudly as possible. Using iPhone’s built-in music equalizer may help. This is primarily designed to enhance your music listening experience through Apple Music, but it may also help improve video audio.

  1. Head to Settings → Music.
  2. Tap EQ. This is turned off by default, but you may use it to accentuate certain sounds.

    Utilize iPhone’s Music EQ

The effect highly varies with the tracks you’re listening to. On the flip side, it can alter your favorite track differently. Try to play with the equalizer to see which setting can help enhance the sound.

Note: You must have Apple Music installed on your app to access your iPhone’s built-in EQ.

12. Amplify with an app on iPhone

Another way to boost the sound of your iPhone is to download volume-boosting apps. Go to the App Store and download apps like Bass Booster or Boom Music. But these apps only apply to tracks and will offer no help if your iPhone ear speaker isn’t working or you have low iPhone call volume. 

13. Ask for professional help

When none of the troubleshooting tips seem to work, and the sounds are still too quiet even when you’re using a different earphone, it might be time to schedule an appointment at the nearest Genius Bar or Apple Store.

Can you hear properly?

Many factors can affect the sound of your earphones while listening on your iPhone. It can range from a minor bug to a serious software issue. Most are easy fixes, while some may require professional help.

Have you encountered this issue? What fix worked for you? Share them below!

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Rachel loves anything Apple —from iPhones, to Apple Watches, to MacBooks. She is also a medical writer and a ghostwriter for various publications.

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