Do you have trouble hearing your ringer, alarm, or someone on the other end of the phone? Many iPhone users have this complaint, and the solution to your problem isn’t always obvious. Here are some common problems and fixes.
Your iPhone ringer and alarm volume are linked, and you can adjust them both together by going to Settings > Sounds & Haptics then moving the volume slider under “Ringer and Alerts” section. When you do this your iPhone will preview the volume, even if silent mode is engaged.
If you can’t hear your iPhone ringer at all, there’s a good chance your phone is in mute mode. On the left side of the device (while holding the iPhone portrait mode) you will find a small switch. While the switch is flicked forward, silent mode is off, which means you’ll hear your ringer, message alerts, and other app notifications.
Flick the switch backwards to enable silent mode where all notifications, incoming calls, and messages will be muted. The only exception to this is if you have set up an Emergency Contact that can bypass silent mode, which means incoming calls and messages from that person will always make an audible sound.
By default, the volume buttons on the left side of your device will control general iPhone audio levels, including any music or videos that are playing and app audio. The only exception to this is if you have changed the “Change with Buttons” setting under Settings > Sound & Haptics.
Pressing these buttons will display a volume slider with a speaker icon at the bottom, which signifies the general audio level. This changes depending on which volume you are changing, for example, AirPods or a Bluetooth icon to signify headphones and speakers.
You can adjust the volume of someone on the other end of the phone during a call using the volume up and down buttons on the side of your device. While in a call, hold your iPhone in portrait mode then look to the left side of the device.
Press the volume up or down buttons to and you will see a volume slider appear on the screen with a phone icon near the bottom. If the slider is full and won’t increase any further, that’s as loud as your iPhone will get in terms of earpiece volume.
We have found that older iPhone devices tend to be quieter than the latest models, particularly the iPhone X and earlier. Whether this is down to the age of the speaker or Apple improving volume and sound clarity on newer models is unclear.
If you are finding that the person on the other end of the phone is too quiet even at maximum volume, you can always use speaker mode to increase it further. This allows you to hold the phone at arm’s length and still have a conversation, handy if you need to put the handset down while doing something.
During a call, tap on “Audio” followed by “Speaker” to enable speaker mode. Any other devices you have nearby like AirPods or a Mac will be listed too. If you can’t see the “Audio” option because the keypad is on screen, tap “Hide” to dismiss it. Use the volume buttons on the side of your device to increase or decrease speaker volume during a call.
You can disable speaker mode by tapping “Audio” then selecting the “iPhone” option. If you have no other Apple devices or wireless earphones nearby, this option may be labeled “Speaker” and can be toggled on and off with a single tap.
Speaker mode isn’t always ideal, particularly if you don’t want everyone to hear your conversation. A better option in these instances might be to use headphones, which has the added benefit of freeing up both of your hands too.
You can use just about any pair of headphones with a microphone, including the wired earphones with a Lightning connector that Apple may have included in the box when you bought your device. Newer iPhones, including the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro, do not come with Lightning headphones in the box but will work with an older pair you might have lying around.
Most Bluetooth headphones will also work provided they have a microphone. You’ll get great results using Apple’s AirPods, which use excellent microphones and support automatic switching between devices.
If you’re using a pair of Bluetooth headphones or earphones with your iPhone and a call doesn’t automatically switch to them, tap on the “Audio” option in the call menu and tap on your headphones.
If you would rather make your headphone experience a little more tailored to your hearing, head to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Accommodations and enable Headphone Accommodations. This allows you to do things like activate the audio tuning feature or boost softer sounds to make them easier to hear. These options will only work with AirPods or Beats models.
You can pair Made For iPhone (MFi) hearing devices with your iPhone under Settings > Accessibility > Hearing Devices, or pair standard Bluetooth hearing aids under Settings > Bluetooth. You’ll need to follow the pairing instructions provided by your hearing aid manufacturer to complete the process.
Once set up you can automatically route calls to your hearing device under Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Call Audio Routing. Select your hearing aid as a destination and your iPhone will use it whenever it is in range and powered on.
You can also select your hearing aid as an audio destination as you would standard headphones. To do this, tap on the streaming button (it looks like a triangle with two circles above it, below) from Control Center, Lock Screen, or playback controls in any app then select your hearing device as a destination.
If you’re finding your iPhone is just too quiet in general, hardware problems may be to blame. This could be a simple case of a speaker that’s clogged up with dirt and lint, or a speaker that’s failing altogether. You can always ask someone else if your iPhone sounds too quiet for them if you aren’t sure.
Damage to your iPhone display may cause this, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be visible damage. Some knocks can cause small fractures that take weeks or months to develop into problems.
Unfortunately repairing a speaker alone is tricky. Apple may insist on replacing the entire front of the device, including the display. If you don’t have an AppleCare+ protection plan, this could cost more than the device is worth (or your money may be better spent on a new device that will last longer than your old one).
Some independent repair shops may be able to perform the repair for you so it’s worth getting a quote if possible. Alternatively, you can try and work around the problem using speaker mode (assuming the other speakers in your iPhone also work), or headphones instead.
Wireless headphones are a great solution for anyone who is having issues with call volume, plus they allow you to chat on the phone while doing other things like exercising, cooking, or playing video games.
Check out our roundup of wireless headphones for iPhone and iPad owners for our top picks.
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