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My Biggest Complaint About iPhone Volume - There Isn’t Any

I’ve held my tongue on this too long and now I see other people about to suffer my same fate and I can’t have that on my limited conscience.

My biggest complaint about iPhone volume is that there isn’t any. You can’t hear a damn thing. You can’t hear rings for incoming calls, you can’t hear system sounds for text messages, and you sure as hell can’t hear the speaker phone.

You can hear your iTunes on your iPhone because you listen to those through headphones just like a normal iPod. They got that right.

Every other sound on the iPhone is worthless. Unless you’re in a forest with new fallen snow all around you. And no wind either.

There is absolutely no technical reason why iPhone volume can’t be louder. It’s just something that Apple blew in development. You would think with all of the other complaints about smartphone volume with other smartphones, Apple would have put a little more effort into this part of the iPhone.

So, dear Apple, you took my advice on the leopard background, now give us poor souls a firmware update for volume. After all, some of us camped out days for this thing. The least you could do would be to let us hear it ring.

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52 Comments

  1. I hear that! :) I have to completely agree.. or perhaps we’re just deaf and didn’t know it!?! :P

    Wayne

  2. helloimamac (and others),

    It sounds like you were sensitive to issues of inadequate “smartphone” volume before you bought your iPhone. Why didn’t you bother to check the iPhone before you did? And if you did test it, why did you buy it? If you bought it fully knowing that the volume is inadequate, it should have been no surprise to you.

    It is rather annoying to hear early adopters complain about a technical issues that they should have know about, when a vast majority of the population would probably consider themselves lucky just to be able to afford an iPhone.

    Good luck. I hope Apple fixes it for you, and it is good that you are warning people. Nevertheless, it is difficult to feel sorry for you.

  3. @anyone, perhaps I didn’t explain myself well enough. I suppose I could have another complaint about AT&T stores and the virtual cone of silence that they create. It is a well known fact that AT&T has spent millions on sound baffling and dampening for stores for, I believe, just this purpose.

    But I’m not blaming AT&T and I’m not blaming me, or anyone else who bought the iPhone and has a complaint or a problem associated with it, or any other product for that matter. “You’re stupid, you bought it, I only wish I had the cash to by one myself but I’m too broke”, might work for you, but I like to look at problems differently.

    I will tell you this, I did not try out MY iPhone in the store. No body can. The AT&T display models are activated and you can call out on them. You can’t take them in your car with you, you can’t take them into a loud shopping center and you can’t take them into a parking lot. But you can listen to the ringer in the store.

  4. “You’re stupid, you bought it, I only wish I had the cash to by one myself but I’m too broke”, might work for you, but I like to look at problems differently.

    I didn’t say you were stupid. Perhaps you just wanted an iPhone???

    It sounds like you were sensitized to this potential issue and you still bought the phone. At some point it should have seemed fishy to somebody like yourself that the store was soundproofed, that you could not take the phone anywhere else, that, you could not use the phone, and by your own account, you did not try your iPhone in the store. Would you buy a car or shoes or any other product under those situations? I wouldn’t. If you believe YOUR iPhone is malfunctioning compared to the one in the store, you have a completely different issue.

    Seems like you really weren’t “looking at problems differently” than you have in the past. You pretty much could have predicted this was going to happen given the circumstances. Or at least that the potential for it was there.

    Either way, I won’t be buying an iPhone until Apple fixes (your) problem. The ringer on my treo sucks, and as a result, I am hypersensitized, to making sure I don’t have that problem in the future.

  5. There are two people in our office that went out and got iPhones the first day, and I know of no volume problems. My boss used to work for Steve Jobs, so he is usually the first to complain about stuff not being done right, and I’ve never heard him complain about that. And about incoming calls… I can hear both of their phones ringing from clear across the office. Are you SURE there isn’t a way to adjust that, that you just haven’t figured out yet?

  6. Steve wanted them like that. Steve approved every aspect. And since many of you believe that Steve is God, then how can you complain. The volume level is divine.

  7. WHAT!! WHAT!! Can you speak up??

    I can’t hear a thing on iPhone. This blows…I’m so disappointed, I can’t hear it ring and I can’t hear anyone talk….

  8. I have to say the same, the sound when you are talking on the i phone is not good at all. I can hear wayyyyy better on walkie talky phone that still exist . lol But other than that its pretty cool !

  9. The volume does suck. I am on my third iphone (one left in NYC cab, the second my wife washed in my shorts pocket) and all three have had the same crappy sound problem. I am lucky about one thing, in my Jeep there is an RCA jack for Ipods to plug into. Plugging the Iphone in makes the caller’s voice come over the speakers in the Jeep. I sit in the Jeep once I get where I am going because I want to finish my call while I can still hear the caller through the Jeep speakers.

    I found this thread while searching for the firmware update I heard rumor of that supposedly fixes that problem.

  10. The thing that really pisses me off is when I dial a number on my iPhone and put the phone up to my ear, the first dial ring is the perfect volume. After the first dial ring, the sound noticeably drops off - almost in half.

    If the volume is right on the first dial ring, why not the rest of the call?

  11. Have had my iPhone for 5 days and have missed every call but 2 calls. I even missed calls while the thing was sitting on my desk and I was working on my computer.

    No matter what ringer I select, I can’t hear it. What good is having a phone if you miss every call?

  12. Your troubles are of course Apple’s fault; of course. Small people instinctively loath things and institutions that are great. Who is John Galt? AT&T provided me a 14 day return policy (probably mandated to them by Apple, or by law). So I suspect your volume problems were outweighed by your wanting to be iPhone-chic - or maybe wanting to contribute blogs about being iPhone-chic.

    Ironically - I found this blog because I’m not able to turn my volume OFF. I can’t get my iPhone to consistently just vibrate and not make any sound at all. I can’t even figure out how to turn the iPhone entirely off - which was rather embarrassing during jury duty recently. But then - I’m an idiot.

    To the point: I suspect the reason Apple designed their iPhone to limited db levels is because they know how annoying and inconsiderate it is for people (you) to blow-horn your announcement to everyone in earshot of how cool your are to have a cute little ringtone that define you as a person. Bravo… to Apple’s designers for limiting the volume to reasonable levels.

  13. I just bought my son an iphone for Christmas and my mom bought me one and neither one of us can hear d darn thing on it. Every othr aspect of the phone is cool but to not be able to hear when you get a call or receive a call is a major bummer. I don’t know what we are going to do.

  14. I too can not hear anything on my iphone, if I hold it up to my ear. If I use a bluetooth headset with it, I can hear just fine. Even while sitting at my desk, I keep the bluetooth headset on, and I can hear the phone ring through the headset.
    The apple dongle earbuds also work well, but get in the way of work. [With all this “new-fangled wireless invention”, you would think that someone would invent headphones that don’t have cords.]

  15. I completely agree. The volume is way too low on the iPhone. I, too, have missed the majority of phone calls and emails. This is ridiculous after dishing out $400 for a phone.

  16. The volume for such an innovative company really does stink. Its truly baffling why Apple has not done something about this. How hard can it be? My Sprint Sanyo phone is so loud that I have to pull it away from my ear..

    As far as the first ring being loud and then dropping, I, too experience this. I believe its the crappy junky garbage ATT network that is responsible and believe it or not THAT statement is direct from the mouths at the local ATT store.
    In short..
    The “I” is fantastic.

    The “Phone” sucks badly.. get rid of ATT and I believe most of the problems will be solved, including terrible reception, dropped calls left and right which just add misery to the already crappy junky volume issue.

    Any Apple executive is welcomed to discuss this with me.

  17. Quoted below, and as stated by tc3 on November 30th, 2007, is the problem I’m having . Why is it okay on the first ring and then drops off, that is THE question! This is having social consequences. My wife thinks I’m ignoring her calls. Today I took it from my pocket after feeling the vibration and was amazed to find it was not on silent mode. I had not heard a thing. And she had to shout on the call so I could barely hear her. Perhaps we’ve got double the trouble — she has an iphone too!!! HELP! pcx

    “The thing that really pisses me off is when I dial a number on my iPhone and put the phone up to my ear, the first dial ring is the perfect volume. After the first dial ring, the sound noticeably drops off - almost in half.

    If the volume is right on the first dial ring, why not the rest of the call?” tc3

  18. omg!! i have the same problem, i cant hear anyone, they cant hear me, it jamz ALOT.. my itunes is not working, i cant hear anything and when i cant turn the speakers on when someone is calling me
    i was working fine the first day but then all of a sudden it started jamming and i couldnt call UGH :@!! other phones are not like that! whats up with the iphone?

  19. I can’t hear the iPhone when someone calls me. The ringtones are too soft and I end up missing calls since I can’t hear them ring!

    SMS messaging is almost impossible since I can’t hear them when they arrive.

    Has anyone got a solution for this frustrating and highly annoying problem?

  20. I can’t hear people talking - they have to yell for me to hear. I’m so annoyed as I love everything else about the iPhone. Can anyone help me please?

  21. Just with respect to hearing a person on the other end of the line: I followed Apple’s advice and picked out what looked like fluff from the ear piece at the top of the phone. It worked, but I cracked the glass in the process. Be careful, I’m just nipped it with a blade and it cracked all the way to the bottom and up to the top. I still can’t here the ringer though.

  22. OMG! i thought that it was just me having a issue with this phone! So does anyone know hoe to fix this issue or do we just go about life with a phone that only works when it wants?

  23. I will not purchase another iphone due to the lack of volume control! My hearing is within normal range, and I’ve tried to use the ear phones but nothing helps!!!

  24. I’m a huge apple fan and this week had to make the decision to ditch my iPhone, cancel my plan, pay my early cancelation fees, and go back to a motorola flip phone on VZN. I couldn’t hear anyone on calls and it really started pissing clients off and I found it very frustrating. I would keep it as a weekend phone or something, but I had to port my number to my new phone since I’ve had the number for 9 years and all clients know it. I guess I’ve basicaly got a really expensive (16 gig first gen) iPod touch. Other than not being able to hear it ring, or hear people trying to talk to me on it, the iPhone was fun.

  25. I think I just blew a wad of cash. Wish I had tried to listen to the damn thing before I paid the cash and found it to be a dud. Steve, your a num nut.

  26. Am I going def or is the iPhone volume lowwwwwwwwww……………please help….this is annoying. I can’t hear S*&#!!!!

  27. I can confirm that the call volume in REAL WORLD CONDITIONS of the iphone does in fact absolutely blow. Obviously, certain posters on here are eager to defend Apple, but the sheer volume of posts web wide on this topic indicates that there is a problem. The ‘if you didn’t like the call volume, why’d you buy the phone’ argument also blows. I love every other feature about this phone and I use it for them. That doesn’t negate an obvious problem. The facts are, threads like this produce bad publicity, and bad publicity produces better decisions. End of story. Keep posting disappointed ones.

  28. I recieved an iphone and i am still trying to figure out if its a knock off or not.i can not put my phone on vibrate or even silent because the volume buttons on the side of the iphone is missing on mine. i am also still trying to figure out if its a 3g or 2g phone but i would need some help in figuring out these things. about the volume, at times it wuld ring loud but most times it dont. atleast i can say the alarm on it always rings loud…lol..can i get some answers as to why my iphone dont have the volume buttons on the side like most iphone. thank you for your reply.

  29. i am hoping i dont have to wait too long to get the answer.

  30. OMG cedel!!!!!!!! at last someone has the same problem as me!!!!!!
    it’s the same deal with my iphoooooone!!!!!
    it looks totally like an iphone, with the logo and everything but the volume control and the silent button isn’t there.. did u notice that the charger’s port is smaller than the other iphones? and also the theme it looks like an MS-DOS thing!
    my phone has this feature of using two sim cards, and WiFi but i still didn’t figure out how to make it work, plus it says it was assembled in china, but it doesn’t look like the real iphone, also some features are missing like the theme, other devices are not finding my bluetooth and my bluetooth cannot find other devices
    is urs the same?
    what we gotta do?

  31. i am kinda happy to know that i am not the only one with that problem Njood…i taught i was not up to date with technology cause for the life of me i can not get the bluetooth to work…and yes my iphone also state that it was assembled in china, it works with sim cards ..but the wifi i dont think mine have that feature..one other thing that i noted when i got it was that the apple sign on the box was covered with white paper..is that a sign?…i really hope that we would get some answers..as to why our iphone is so different in so many ways..

  32. Yes the ringer volume on my iPhone 2G 8Gb is hopeless, yes!!! Before any bright spark say “Have you checked the silence and the volume control” all are ar Max!!!
    When the phone is in my pocket, jeans or coat walking down any normal city street, i just don’t hear it ring or vibrate, never had this with any other mobile…normally have to turn the volume down!! Can’t anyone write some kind of sound booster programme?? Waste of time asking Apple, they never do anything that their end users want!!!

  33. OMG. This is the worst thing about my iphone. I was sooo excited when I got it. Now i realize that atleast my old pink piece of crap would ring all the time. I miss EVERY SINGLE call I get and always have to call ppl back. I too look like a fool when trying to access my voicemail.
    Ahh what a joke.

  34. I have suddenly found that when I dial a number, I have to turn the speaker on in order to hear the person on the other side (while holding it at my ear). It wasn’t always like this. I’ve had my phone for over a year now.

    It complicates dialing when you’re using bluetooth in your car, as you cannot dial completely hands free. You have to wait for the phone to ring and then turn on the speaker button. Is there anybody who knows about this problem and possibly knows how to solve it?

  35. I spent about three hours with apple support last week over low volume issue — did everything they said about re-installing latest software, backing up phone, wiping out memory, restore, reset etc. to no avail. They told me to go to Apple Store for new Iphone. I saw “the genius”. He blasted the speaker with canned air. (Do they every tell the consumer they should do this?) He then took a jeweler’s loupe — looked into where the charger plugs in, said, he saw some “green” corrosion on “the metal” and therefore the phone which is only six months old is no longer under warranty because “it obviously came in contact with moisture. I asked him if the moisture caused the low volume — he said he didn’t know because the apple store never repairs any iphones but that Apple was not going to repair or replace the iphone. I have two iphones and have called about low volume on one or the other phone several times. This totally sucks!!! I asked him if there was a system wide problem with the iphone, would his response still be the same — that the three year warranty (I bought Apple care) was voided? He said yes. So Apple offered to refund the $69 for Applecare. He told me I could buy a new iphone for $100 more than I paid last August. So that is Apple’s response to the lousy engineering of the speakers. (I miss all the calls received when my other iphone is in my purse or my pocket.) This phone has had low volume from day 1. So my advice to anyone who recently got an iphone — don’t bother calling tech support at Apple — take the phone in to exchange ASAP — don’t wait until a little humidity or salt air gets in to turn the “metal connector” a “little green”.

  36. I solved my volume problem on mine and my Wifes iPhone (2G 8GB). Metal/Plastic back cover.
    The only problem is that you have to be a little bit brave and gently prise the plastic back off at the bottom of phone with a thin putty knife, (i used a pizza cutter, mind your fingers!!).
    Inside, over each, left and right speaker multiple holes is a type of black plastic gauze, pick these off and throw them away, they block all the sound and that´s why i could never hear a call when the phone was in my pocket. Works really well now and we never miss a call or sms message, but make sure that you choose a strong ringtone as well though, I use the ¨old telephone¨ ringtone that´s already in the phone and the Wife has Amy Winehouses ¨Rehab¨ as her custom ringtone.
    Hope that this is of some help, not ideal, but we both really like the phone and didn´t want to change back to Nokias so hence the DIY solution. GET YOUR FINGERS OUT, APPLE ENGINEERING TEAM!!!!

  37. Guess what !I could not hear a thing on my iPhone !! Plugged the earphones in and pulled them out fast. Switched it on and off a million times and now its back again but i hear a squicky sound. At least i can use it now.

  38. The iPhone volume is low because :

    1. Apple expected many, many, many will buy iPhones.

    2. iPhone Users will be kicked out of the office if 20 iPhones ring at the same time. It can happen, can’t it if the volumes are all very high ?

    3. Apple want us to buy the Bluetooth that will hang on our ears all day at the office !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Apple dropped the ball big time on the volume issue. BIG TIME. I cannot hear anyone in a conversation, speaker or regular talking. I have to ask people to repeat themselves constantly. This is basic functionality that Apple should have figured out by now.

    So Apple how about you get a firmware update ASAP on the volume for talking and tones. And also let us upload new tones for sms messages.

    My rating of the iPhone because of this 2/10

  40. Some complained and some said that you should have tested it before you buy it ! No good arguments !

    The publicity around the iPhone was such that it sounded as the best mobile. I also got into the trap ! Really the volume is too low. Some people took a pin and free some holes on the left where the speaker is. They got 40% sound increase. This is risky if you push the pin too deep.

    As for myself bigest complain is that I bought an iPhone from Mauritius Telecom/ORANGE and after 4 months I still cannot buy professional Applications from Apple Stores. Apple Stores are not opened for Mauritius. WHY ? Why sell iPhones to Mauritius when Apple Stores do not open for this area ? Is this not a commercial contradiction ?

    My iPhone cannot store pdf and Excel files. Further I cannot creat folders to categorize my mails ! What is the use ? I cannot attach pdf files with my sent mails. What is the use of the iPhone mail then ?

    In my opinion, the medium price Chinese mobiles are better such as the iMate mobiles. The Drag and Drop facilities here are the best !

    I am a professional. Now I use my 16 gigs to store 3000 photos that I slide all day while listening to music ! This is a disaster.

  41. Just get a N97 instead…

  42. The volume and its lack thereof is the only reason I am not getting an IPHONE.

  43. not only is the volume not very loud, but you cant control much of what volume you do have. for example, when i want to completely silence the iphone by the switch of the button on the side, you cant, because the alarm will still go off as well as if you hit an application. SO i have to go to the alarm and turn it off every time. but what if i just want the alarm to vibrate in my pocket? its so inconvienent and i dont see why you cant do this with the million and one other thigns the iphone can do.
    another thing- even if your headphone are in i find that applications still sound out loud. and lets say you put your phone on vibrate and plus the headphones in. you would assume if you went to the sounds tab in the settings and you accidentally clicked on the ringer sound choice you would not hear the sound because its on silent. and if you do hear it, you would at least expect ot hear it through the headphones which are plugged in. but the problem is the sounds are just hardwired in to play out loud. so many things on the iphone are set up this way its just STUPID.
    its so embarassing to have your phone go off in class or in a meeting.
    i dont understand why the is lacking such basic functions. apple over-thought this one too much.

  44. I’ve recently bought an iphone and have missed the majority of my calls ever since. My daughter is experiencing the same problem. I feel cut off from the world. I don’t hear the SMS signals either, nor can i feel the phone vibrate when its in my pocket.
    For this reason I wont be renewing my contract when mine expires. Its a great shame as I love every other aspect of the iphone. Its a real problem and apple needs to sort it out before the world gets to know about it !

  45. Only “Excitement” in buying an iPhone that makes us deaf and dumb. Afterwards, we understand the reality. It is nearly 11 months since I bought my iPhone, and still now Mauritius Telecom / ORANGE cannot tell why Apple/Itunes Stores are not opened to Mauritius.

    I disregarded my expensive iPhone 16G, and bought a Samsung Omnia i900, 16G, with Windows Mobile 6.1 on board. I can drag and drop all my files into my Samsung Omnia i900. I am the happiest Guy with a Mobile.

    Cheers !

  46. I just bought an iPhone last week and I havent heard my ringer in a good few days and I’m constantly trying to adjust the volume…hoping that somehow that’ll make a difference. I’m reallly pissed off that I miss all my calls and don’t hear my txts…has anyone figure out how to make the ringer work?

  47. I threw my iPhone into the Indian Ocean. Then, I bought a Samsung Omnia i900 16G. I am very satisfied !

  48. I am partially deaf so I use the “Digital” ringtone. You will never miss that sound. Highly recommend it.

  49. i was disappointed by the limited ringer options on my iphone. not the song issue, personally i hate songs as ringers but another issue…
    i’ve found that the trick to a good ringer is that it be one you will hear even in a crowded store or shopping centre but that also isn’t a jarring alarm kinda thing. it’s almost subconscious. the last phone i had for about 4 years had a simple ringer but after a while, it got to where i’d hear it ringing in my bag when others hadn’t even noticed.
    with new technology many of us change phones often and ring tunes/ringers and maybe aren’t getting to that point, but what about your home phone? (if you still have one that is) i am ‘programmed’ to hear that even with other noises around me and recently, while x-mas shopping, a store had the same ringer on their phones and i went looking to answer it ’til i remembered where i was! this inspired me to record in garage band my ringing home phone, then, export it to itunes as a ring tone where it is now in my iphone and i hear it loud and clear and even in a busy shopping centre over x-mas.
    try that maybe for calls but for in call sound probs, i can’t help, sorry!

  50. I have thrown my iPhone 3G into the Indian Ocean !

    I bought a Sansung Omnia i900 16G. Very good indeed.

  51. look on the side of the phone there is a slide switch make sure the orange is no showing if it is then slide the switch the other way

  52. You
    are
    all
    stupid…

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