How to fix iPhone’s earbuds volume control not working

You’ve just bought a pair of earbuds to use with your Apple iPhone, they are connected to your phone but the volume control is not working. The good news is that you are not alone, I’ve also had this problem, and while trying to find a fix, I’ve found more people with this issue. In most of the cases there is a software incompatibility that has a quick fix (for example, a new iOS update), in others might be a hardware issue. Neverless, I’ve put together a quick guide with the most common earbuds volume problems and how to fix them.

Fix iPhone’s earbuds volume control not working

Let’s dive into the most common problems and their fixes. Before that, I invite you to check Apple’s official headphones recommendations. It’s pretty basic advice but easy to overlook, like cleaning the ports, cleaning the volume buttons. This won’t work for AirPods for example as they don’t have any ports, so let’s see what works.

Sound from the AirPods is too low

Adjust the Volume Limit: Settings > Music > Playback > Volume Limit.

See what value it is and try to take it higher than that. Volume limit is a feature that allows you to set the maximum value of volume. This might be useful for example for watching an old movie which has inequal sounds (like the voices are normal but the ambiental sound is very loud) or some annoying ads that overrite your volume settings.

Other possible fix, Turning off Sound Check in Music settings: Settings > Music > Playback > Sound Check.

What is Sound Check? When Sound Check is on, your phone automatically reads and adjusts the playback volume based on how loud the song says it is. Songs, as any file in your phone/computer has some tags that contain certain values. In songs, there is this ID3 tag that says what volume the song should be played at.When Sound Check is off, the ID3 data is ignored, and no volume adjustments are made.

iphone x and above volume slider
Picture taken from Apple’s Support in order to illustrate better

Use the volume slider bar in the Control Center

iPhones, just like any phone, offer the option to adjust the volume with a slider included in the Control Center. In order to access it do the following:

  • iPhone X or later: Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen > Volume Icon
  • iPhone SE, iPhone 8 and earlier: Swipe up from the bottom edge of your screen > Volume Slider

Use the AssistiveTouch function

iOS comes with a feature called AssistiveTouch that allows you to change the volume, block the screen, replace button’s commands. This is usefull in case your phone’s button are not working properly. In order to access Assistive Touch do one of the following:

  • “Hey, Siri” > “Activate AssistiveTouch”
  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and turn on AssistiveTouch

By the way, did you know that you can edit the AssistiveTouch menu shortcuts? Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch and select Customize from the top-level menu and now you can have it the way you want it.

If nothing works, go to an Apple Service

Apple has extensive documentation about what to do when your device is not working properly. One thing that you should know is that in case your device is out of warranty, an Apple Authorized or Official Repair Service might get very expensive, consult here the prices for out of warranty repairs. Also, don’t forget to back-up everything from your device beforehand as the Service might Factory Reset the iPhone. You should do that anyway for any device, and also make sure you won’t let personal informations on your phone.

What did it for me? My volume buttons were working properly but I managed to fix earbuds control not working by adjusting the Volume Limiter, presented as the first tip.