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Your phone’s speaker grill is exposed to the world and all its debris all the time, even if it’s in a case. While your phone is built to withstand these environments, it doesn’t always hold up well against dust. That often results in muffled sound output—or worse, a dead speaker.
Fortunately, if you’re facing speaker issues, you don’t have to book an appointment a service center just yet. Here are a handful of troubleshooting steps and fixes you can try to revive your Android phone’s speaker.
1. Check for Software Issues
Before we dive into actual troubleshooting for your phone’s speakers, you should make sure the issue is an actual hardware malfunction. There are several ways you can do this.
The first step is to simply perform a reboot. This will restart all background services and give your phone a clean state, in case anything had crashed since your last reboot.
Next, you need to examine whether your phone’s audio output is set to the built-in speaker. If you regularly connect your phone to wireless headphones or speakers, it might still be connected to another device.
Head into Settings > Connected devices to see if your phone is connected to any Bluetooth audio outputs. After this, you should head into the Sound section of Settings and confirm you haven’t accidentally switched on the Do Not Disturb or Silent modes.
In addition, we recommend testing the speaker by turning down the volume to its lowest settings and then raising it to the maximum level. Try to play music at both levels to make sure it isn’t stuck.
You can also give volume booster apps a shot. These try to artificially pump up sound output, which could work in case your phone’s sound is stuck at a low level due to a glitch.
Your music app of choice could be to blame here too. So a more conclusive way is to play a ringtone or alarm from your phone’s audio settings. You can do that by heading into Settings > Sound > Phone Ringtone and selecting one of the many available options. Make sure your call volume is turned up while doing this.
2. Manually Disable Headphone Output
When you unplug accessories from the audio jack, Android may fail to process this event, leaving your phone stuck in headphone mode. That means your speaker will be disabled, despite you having disconnected your earphones.
Usually, you can resolve this bug by a standard reboot. But if that doesn’t do the trick, you can try a free app, appropriately named Disable Headphone. With the flick of a switch, Disable Headphone lets you manually force your phone to leave headphone mode and play sound via its speakers.
Disable Headphone functions in the opposite manner as well. For whatever reason, if your phone is unable to transmit audio through a connected accessory, you can enable headphone mode manually using the app.
Download: Disable Headphone (Free)
3. Try Safe Mode
Android allows you to launch a stripped-down mode that only runs the original software your phone shipped with. Doing so lets you troubleshoot your phone without any third-party services or apps interfering with the diagnosis. It’s called safe mode, and it’s present on every Android phone.
To enter safe mode, press and hold the power button. In the resulting prompt, touch and hold the Power Off button, then hit OK when you see a prompt. Your phone will soon restart in safe mode. You can easily leave safe mode by repeating the procedure, choosing the Restart option the second time.
Do note that the steps for safe mode could differ depending on your Android device. If nothing comes up when you follow the steps above, try a Google search for your model or check the official support forums.
4. Clean the Speaker Grills
As mentioned earlier, your smartphone’s speaker vents often accumulate dust over time. This can hinder their ability to emit sound. At this point, you should try cleaning the grills yourself to remove as much obstruction as possible.
You can begin by blowing air into the speakers, either using your mouth or a can of compressed air. Apart from that, you can try to suck small crumbs and bits of dust out using a vacuum cleaner. This could affect your phone’s internals, though, so you should be careful if you attempt this.
Another good option is gently scrubbing the speaker grills with an old toothbrush, which should help loosen up the dirt. If you’re feeling particularly confident and your phone is easy to take apart, you could try getting inside it and blowing out the dust from the inside too.
5. Perform a Hard Reset
Testing your phone in safe mode, as above, rules out the chances of a third-party app being the cause. If your phone’s speakers functioned properly in safe mode, you can try to isolate the issue to a specific app, setting, or device. In case you’ve only had this speaker problem after making changes to these options, try undoing what you changed.
Failing that, you can go ahead and perform a hard reset. You can give this factory reset a shot even if switching to safe mode didn’t have an effect. By doing this, your phone starts afresh and you eliminate the possibility of any software wreaking havoc on the speakers. You’ll often find the option to reset at Settings > System > Advanced >Reset options, but you can use the search bar at the top of the Settings app if you don’t see it.
6. Water Accident? Let It Dry
One of the most common consequences of water damage on your phone is a malfunctioning speaker. The liquid can quickly make its way to the internal component linked to the open grills. So if you’ve had speaker issues after such an accident, let your phone dry off.
There are several methods to dry a wet phone. You can blow hot air into it, dump it in a bowl of rice, and more. Whatever you do, turn your phone off immediately and let it completely dry before trying to boot it back up.
Further, you can try downloading apps like Speaker Cleaner. These will play a vibrating sound to unclog the speakers and pump water out of it. It has a proven track record and doesn’t cost anything, though it does include ads.
Download: Speaker Cleaner (Free, premium version available)
7. Get Professional Help
If none of these steps worked for you, you most likely have a hardware failure. You should book an appointment with a trusted service center and have it examined by a professional.
Given how often your smartphone speakers are at work, their quality will eventually wear out. While these fixes can potentially help you revive a dead speaker, they won’t promise longevity.
Instead, you should consider switching to a higher-quality external speaker for your entertainment needs. Here are the best portable Bluetooth speakers you can buy.