What Is Media Volume Sync on the Galaxy S8?

Once upon a time, Android devices and Bluetooth audio devices handled their respective volume outputs independently of one another. Then Google linked Bluetooth and system volume together for a more unified experience. Now Samsung is letting you undo that on the fly.

And that’s really the long and short of the story here: the Galaxy S8 uses Bluetooth 5.0, so you have a lot more control over what happens with Bluetooth connections. This allows users to do things like separate the phone and Bluetooth device volume for much more granular (though arguably more annoying) control. It’s pretty neat.

It may sound slightly confusing, so here’s a quick breakdown to better explain what I’m talking about here. Let’s say you have some Bluetooth earbuds connected to your phone. When you press either volume button on the headset, it changes the overall media volume on the phone—this is even indicated by a visual notification, like in the screenshot below. This is how stock Android handles Bluetooth volume, and has done so since Android 6.0.

Now, with Media Volume Sync disabled on the S8, you control the phone volume on the phone and the headset volume on the headset. As a result, when you change the volume on the headset, there ins’t a notification on the phone—since the two aren’t synced, the phone isn’t even aware that anything is changing. And that goes both ways.

By default, Media Volume Sync is enabled on the S8, so if you want the two to work together, you don’t have to do anything. That’s cool. But if you want to change it, you can do that too.

First, open Settings by pulling down the notification shade and tapping the gear icon.

From there, tap on Connections, then Bluetooth. Alternatively, you can long-press on the Bluetooth button in the quick settings shade to get to this same menu.

Tap on the three dot menu icon in the upper right corner.

With a BT audio device connected, choose “Media Volume Sync”—this menu will be pretty useless without a device paired and connected. To disable Media Volume Sync, simply hit the toggle. From that point forward, phone media volume will be handled on the phone and Bluetooth media volume on the Bluetooth device.

And if you ever need to undo this, just jump back into the menu and turn it back on, again making sure your Bluetooth device is connected.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.