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Whether you’re listening to music or making calls, you rely on your iPhone’s speakers a lot. But what can you do if you think your iPhone speakers are not working? How can you fix your iPhone speakers? And how can you make sure they’re clean and not affected by water?
Under some circumstances, you’ll need to visit Apple. But before you do that, we have a few tips to fix your iPhone’s speakers.
How to Check If Your Speakers Are Working
How can you tell whether the problem is your speakers (i.e. more likely to be a hardware issue) or with volume? Before we run through some fundamentals, try to narrow down where the problem is. Plug in your headphones. If you can hear music through them but not when you unplug them, there’s likely something wrong with your speakers.
Go to Settings > Sounds and make sure Change with Buttons is on. This means you can use the buttons on the left side of your iPhone to adjust volume.
Once you’ve done this, use those buttons to increase your volume to its maximum. It will tell you whether it’s going through the Ringer or Headphones. If the latter, there may be something in your headphone jack. In this case, you’ll need to clean it (which we’ll come to).
Under Ringer And Alerts, move the slider up or down a few times. You should hear your ringtone, even if your device is on Silent.
If you don’t hear anything at all, there’s definitely something wrong and it’s likely you’ll need to visit your local Apple store anyway. If you can hear a sound, albeit distorted, you may be in luck…
iPhone Speaker Won’t Work? Basic Troubleshooting
There could, of course, be numerous reasons why your iPhone speaker isn’t working, so let’s start by checking through a few basics.
Make sure your iPhone isn’t on Silent—that’s the switch to the top-left of your device. If it’s positioned towards the back of the device (showing orange), move it so it’s nearer to the screen.
You should also check it’s not connected to any other device. If you have Bluetooth activated, calls can divert to a hands-free unit in your vehicle or through AirPods. Go to Settings > Bluetooth to see a list of connections.
Your next port of call should be making sure iOS is up-to-date, so go to Settings > General > Software Update. This shouldn’t affect your speakers, unless it’s an issue with your volume. It’s always good to keep your OS updated anyway.
After these checks, there’s one strategy most fall back on: the soft restart. This is a way of clearing up small software mishaps without deleting any data. On the iPhone 7 and older, hold down the Home and Power buttons for 10 seconds.
However, if you have an iPhone 8 or newer, you need to press the Volume Up button followed by Volume Down—do both of these quickly. Then press and hold down Power until the familiar Apple logo appears. Give your phone time to reboot and use the slider under Ringer And Alerts again to see if this has sorted the issue.
How to Turn On Speaker on Your iPhone
This can be quite a headache, but isn’t as intimidating as you might have heard.
During a call, hold your device away from your face so the screen lights up. Tap the Speaker icon in the upper-right of the grid. This will let you participate in a conversation without your iPhone being held to your ear. If you’re connected to a separate speaker through Bluetooth, a pop-up menu will appear, allowing you to select where you want the call taken.
But if you want all calls to go through your speakers, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Call Audio Routing. You can then switch from the default Automatic to either Speaker or Bluetooth Headset. Of course, you can undo this at any time, but if you want to take a private call, hit the Speaker icon in the grid when accepting or ringing out.
This depends on the gyro sensors in your phone. If your device detects that you’re holding it away from your face, that’s when it will show you the grid. Newer models shouldn’t have an issue with this, but you can try recalibrating an iPhone 6 or older via Extras > Compass and tilting your device 360 degrees. Otherwise, try the aforementioned soft restart.
How to Clean Your iPhone Speakers
Even the smallest bits of dirt can be detrimental to your smartphone. In some cases, dust can affect volume or, if in the headphone port, trick your iPhone into thinking it’s connected to an external device. It’s vital you keep all parts of your phone clean, but also that you take great care in doing so. Remember that you’re dealing with sensitive equipment here.
The best cleaning method is using an air compressor or canned air. This is the easiest way of removing any dirt without damaging your device because it can get to hard-to-reach places without the need for disassembly. Use it a few inches away to avoid disturbing any inner workings. Apple advises against this, but it’s nonetheless the most effective method.
Otherwise, gently move a soft-bristled toothbrush across the surface of the speakers. You can also run a cotton swap dipped in rubbing alcohol across any recesses. Do not use any other liquids as this can cause more harm.
You should only attempt the last option if you’ve got a steady hand and patience. A soft interdental gum brush, gently inserted into your headphone dock, can dislodge substantial dirt. An air compressor will remove anything that subsequently comes loose. Do not use anything like a toothpick on your speaker, though.
And while you’re at it, we’ve also shown how to clean your iPhone’s charging port.
How to Get Water Out of Your iPhone Speakers
Liquid damage isn’t covered under Apple’s warranty, partly because it makes devices splash-resistant. That doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. Natural wear will lessen your phone’s ability to withstand potential water damage—so how can you dry out your speakers if an accident occurs?
Don’t plug your iPhone in to charge if it’s wet. This can be a serious safety threat.
Instead, stand your phone at about a 45 degree angle with the speakers facing down. Use a lint-free cloth to catch any drips; any other absorbent material, including cotton wool, could further damage your device. If you think there’s still water in any recesses, gently tap your device and consider placing it near a small fan to increase air circulation.
Despite what you might have heard, you shouldn’t seal your phone in a bag filled with rice. This can further corrode elements in your smartphone.
If you pour water on an iphone 8 does it grow into an iphone X
— Carson (@CallMeCarsonYT) August 22, 2018
However, you can try silica gel. You’ll often find packets of this in new pairs of shoes because they soak up moisture. Be careful using these around children or animals as they are dangerous if consumed.
Vibration will help shake out any small droplets. Some might use music for this purpose, but the Sonic app is also handy. This merely emits a high-pitched sound, but you should take care that you don’t damage your hearing. Remember that hearing deteriorates with age, so don’t use this when kids and animals are nearby.
Follow our tips for fixing a water-damaged iPhone if you need more help.
How to Make Your iPhone Speakers Louder
There might not be an issue with your speakers at all. Maybe you just want to make your iPhone louder.
You can, of course, place it on a more conductive surface. Try wood or metal, which will carry vibrations further. Placing your device in a bowl may also help. Such a curve acts in the same way our ears do, by funneling noises in one distinct direction. By the same logic, you shouldn’t place your iPhone on anything that absorbs vibration, notably paper.
Otherwise, there are various ways to improve the volume of your iPhone and iPad, including software patches, hardware fixes, and additional apps.
What If Your Speakers Still Don’t Work?
If you’ve done everything we’ve advised above, and your speakers still don’t seem to work, we have bad news. There’s likely something wrong with your phone, meaning you’ll need to book an appointment at your nearest Apple store.
However, if you just think your iPhone’s speakers are insufficient and like your music loud, your best option is to seek out an external speaker system. Have a look at the best cheap Bluetooth speakers for some great options.