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Why Are Your Phone Speakers So Quiet?

Quiet phone speakers can be very distracting because it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a notification ringing or the phone just being loud. Then you might have to constantly adjust the volume while you’re listening to something just so that it remains at an acceptable level. 

Your phone speakers might be so quiet because of unintentional volume reduction, dust in your speakers, an app running in the background, or a noise cancellation feature in your phone. 

Before you rush to have your phone booked for repairs, read this article to find out what causes quiet phone speakers and how to solve the problem. I’ll explain why your phone might have volume issues and help you fix these common problems so you can be busting tunes again in no time. 

Phone speaker

What Causes Quiet Phone Speakers

Phone speakers are an integral part of the phone, and without them, you won’t be able to listen to music or make calls. If you’re struggling to hear anything coming out of your phone, you’ll need to identify the cause to find the right solution. 

There are several reasons why speakers might stop working, including: 

  • You misadjusted your system volume
  • App running in the background 
  • Dust in your speakers
  • Noise cancellation feature 

So, let’s go over how these problems occur and how you can fix them:

You Accidentally Reduced the System’s Maximum Volume

You’re listening to your favorite song and are ready to jam out, but something is off. The volume is too low. You crank up the volume, and nothing happens. You double-check to ensure it’s not on silent mode and that the ringer is still on and nothing is working. 

However, sometimes there is a disconnect between your phone’s buttons and the system volume (which you can adjust in your phone’s settings menu). Otherwise, perhaps you did turn the volume down with the buttons or put it in silent mode and forgot to disable it manually. 

Unintentional volume changes are typical, primarily if you use headphones and accidentally adjust the volume control on the cord. Still, it can also occur if you’re holding your phone in a way that presses the volume buttons — for example, if you slip it into your pocket or purse and sit down.

If a small circle with a line through it is displayed next to the speaker icon, you’ve accidentally muted your phone volume. 

One fix is to turn the volume up on the side of the phone or by touching the Volume button on-screen. 

You can also turn off Control Center access from your lock screen to avoid future problems. That prevents you from accidentally changing settings while your iPhone is in your pocket. 

If you’re using an Android, you can follow these steps to turn up your volume: 

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and press the bell icon to turn off silent mode. 
  2. Go into Settings > Sounds > Ringer & Alerts and drag the slider to the right. 

If those options don’t work, restart your phone by holding down both the power and home buttons until a new screen appears. Then, adjust the volume via your system settings. 

There’s Dust in the Speaker

If your speakers sound quieter than they used to be — or if they’re just not as loud as you feel they should be — you may be tempted to think it’s a hardware issue. While it’s true that speakers can degrade over time, the more likely culprit is that there’s dust in the speaker. 

When you place your phone on a table or desk, dust sneaks in through cracks and holes in the case, which can cause the sound to go out. If it gets bad enough, you will have to take your speakers out and clean them. 

Phone speakers with dust in them

This process is not tricky, but you have to be careful not to break things while cleaning.

Here’s how to combat dust issues in your speaker: 

  1. Power off your phone and remove the case (if you have one). 
  2. Use a toothpick to gently pry up any grime or dust around the speaker’s edges. Don’t go too deep. You’re only trying to get around the speaker’s edges here. 
  3. Take a cotton swab and dip it in alcohol. Carefully and gently clean out any remaining dust and debris inside the speaker. Repeat if necessary until you’re satisfied that all visible gunk is gone. 

If your phone is filthy, use compressed air to blow air into the tiny speaker holes. The air pressure will push out any dust or lint stuck inside. If you choose to use this method, keep the nozzle 15-20 cm (6-8 in) from your phone, so the pressure doesn’t damage the speakers. 

Your Case May Be Covering The Speaker

Cases protect your phone from all kinds of things, but sometimes they aren’t cut right for your phone and block your speakers. If that’s the case, don’t worry, there is an easy fix! 

Just pull off your case to unblock the speakers. If you still want to use the case, you may be able to drill a small hole where your speaker goes or cut out a piece with an X-Acto knife. 

If you used a protective film to cover your phone, peel back the material covering the speaker (it may be a sticker, tempered glass, or rubber) and throw it away. 

Once you remove the protective covering over your speaker, test it out by making a call or playing music to see if it sounds better. If so, great! If not, you may need to adjust your volume settings.

If you’re still having problems, try restarting your phone (press and hold the power button until you see an option to Power Off). 

If none of that works, you may need to take your phone in for repairs. 

An App Is Running in the Background

If your phone’s speaker isn’t loud enough, even when you crank the volume up, there is a good chance you have an app running in the background that’s interfering with your sound system.

Some apps disable sound from other apps when you run them. For example, if you start watching a Youtube video while listening to music, your phone will automatically pause your music and play the Youtube video. Your phone may also adjust the volume when you start the new app. 

So if you’ve ever noticed that your phone speakers are quiet and you’re not listening to anything, then there could be an open video or audio file running in the background somewhere on your device. 

When this happens, try closing out apps until you find which one is responsible for lowering your volume levels. You can also try restarting the device in safe mode, where no third-party apps will run. 

You May Have Enables The Noise Cancellation Feature

If you’ve ever turned up the volume on your phone to drown out loud background noise, only to have nothing come out, you’re not alone. Noise cancellation errors are a common problem for many smartphone users, but there are some steps you can take to address them. 

The first thing to do is understand why this happens: It’s because of the noise cancellation feature on your phone. 

Noise cancellation allows smartphone microphones to focus on your voice during a call and ignore other sounds. Without this feature, people would be shouting at the tops of their lungs to talk over background noises such as traffic, construction, and aircraft engines. However, it might also cancel your voice if you’re in a quiet room. 

To fix this issue, you’ll need to disable your phone’s noise cancellation mode:

  • On iOS: You can find this feature in Settings > General > Accessibility > Phone Noise Cancellation on an iPhone. 
  • On Android: Go to Settings > Sound & notifications (or Sounds) > Advanced sound settings > Dynamic range control or Audio enhancements and turn off noise cancellation. 


There are several reasons your phone speakers might be quiet, such as: 

  • Apps are running in the background 
  • Dust caught up in the speakers 
  • Noise cancellation feature 
  • Your phone’s case 

The good news: there are a few things that you can do to rectify the problem and have your phone volume up and running again. 

By being aware of what causes quiet phone speakers, you can apply the necessary steps such as: 

  • Clearing any dust 
  • Disabling any background apps 
  • Removing any phone protectors 
  • Increasing your volume in your settings