How to Make Your Airpods Louder: Time-Tested Hacks

Man listening to AirPods outside (From: Unsplash)
Man listening to AirPods outside (From: Unsplash)

Make the most out of your AirPods by making them louder with these tested and proven tips and tricks.

The functionality and build quality of AirPods are unquestionable — as evidenced by the fact that AirPods reached their 100 million pairs sold milestone in 2020. But, they are still far from perfect.

One of the most common complaints we hear is about the AirPods’ volume and how these earbuds seem to be on the softer side. Imagine turning up the volume because you only hear whispers, only to find out that your volume’s maxed out already — yikes!

It is truly frustrating, especially if you need to be on an important call, or just want to relax with a movie or music. You’d think that this isn’t what you’d expect from something as costly as a pair of AirPods, and no one will blame you.

But, don’t give up just yet! Instead, try out these hacks we have for you to make sure you’re getting the most out of your AirPods.

How to Adjust Your AirPods’ Volume

Woman enjoying loud AirPods
Woman enjoying loud AirPods

First up, we have the basics on how to turn your AirPods’ volume up — or down for that matter.

Unlike your typical wired headphones, the AirPods do not have any inline controls much like most of the wireless headphones out there today. To address this, some brands like Sony with their WH-1000XM4 integrated gestures into their headphones. Unfortunately, all AirPods variants are limited to touch controls only.

Gestures and touch controls are fundamentally different. Touch controls are limited to clicks, double-taps, and long-presses while gestures take it to the next level by allowing slides, circles, and more.

With this, adjusting the volume from the AirPods and AirPods pro is dependent on the source of the audio. More specifically, to adjust the volume of the AirPods, you would either need to command Siri, manually press the volume buttons on your device, or use the volume settings of the app you’re on. For the AirPods Max, the Digital Crown is an extra option.

Let’s go over them one by one.

Using Siri

“Hey Siri, turn the volume up.”

Saying this phrase out loud is one of the easiest ways to increase or decrease your volume. Siri is one of the smartest and most popular virtual assistants out there and simple tasks such as raising volume shouldn’t be a problem for her.

More than that, you can even ask Siri to execute more complicated commands such as to lower your volume to a certain percentage. Another useful trick with Siri is to combine the play and volume commands in one sentence like, “Hey Siri, play Sour by Olivia Rodrigo on Spotify in max volume.”

Did you know? If you ask Siri when her birthday is, she will answer that she was not really born but came into existence gradually instead. She’ll also proceed to tell you that her first day as an assistant was on October 4, 2011.

Using the volume slider

This one is as simple as it gets. To turn up the volume, you can just reach out for your phone, turn the upper button of your volume rocker and you’re good to go. You can also pull down the control center and adjust your phone’s volume there.

Volume slider in the Control Center
Volume slider in the Control Center
If you’re using any of the mainstream listening apps such as Apple Music or Spotify, then you should also be able to see the volume slider on your lock screen while listening.

Using the App Sound Settings

Some mobile apps also have their own volume settings where you can make the sound you’re listening to louder. Case in point, with the Apple Music app, you’ll see a volume slider at the lower part of the screen when you play a song.

Volume Slider on Apple Music
Volume Slider on Apple Music

For other applications such as mobile games, using the app settings to adjust the volume is also quite useful. For example, if you’re playing a game on your phone while listening to music at the same time, you can simply lower the game’s volume through the in-game settings so that you could hear the music you’re playing better.

Using the Digital Crown (AirPods Max)

Unlike their predecessors, the AirPods Max have the ability to adjust volume without having to use any of the methods mentioned above. This is made possible through their Digital Crown.

Apple AirPods Max Digital Crown (From: Unsplash)
Apple AirPods Max Digital Crown (From: Unsplash)
The Digital Crown was first introduced in the Apple Watch Series 1. This part of the Apple Watch serves as a multifunction button and draws inspiration from the regular dial at the side of your watch.

This little button is a haven of AirPods Max functions. To raise volume using it, all you need to do is to rotate it clockwise. Consequently, rotating it counterclockwise will decrease the volume.

If you’re more comfortable the other way around, Apple allows users to change the direction of rotation to adjust the volume. Head on to Settings > Bluetooth, and then tap the “i” button next to your AirPods Max on the screen. Tap Digital Crown and, under “Increase Volume By Rotating,” choose either one of the options.

What to Do If the Airpods Don’t Get Loud Enough

AirPods with low volume
AirPods with low volume

If adjusting the AirPods’ volume doesn’t fix the issue, or if the AirPods still aren’t loud enough even at maximum volume settings, it could be because of some other underlying hardware or software issues.

To fix this, we’ve compiled a list of the top tested solutions you can try. Let’s see which one works for you!

Clean Your AirPods

Dirty AirPods can lead to all sorts of problems including muffled sounds from the speakers with dirt, grime, and other debris filling up the ridges of the AirPods over time. With that said, one of the reasons why your AirPods aren’t as loud enough is probably because they aren’t clean enough.

Apart from volume problems, dirty AirPods can also be the culprit for electrical problems or even ear infections on your end.

Luckily, the solution for dirty AirPods is really simple — clean then. The proper way to clean your AirPods is with the use of 70% isopropyl alcohol, some cotton swabs, and a toothpick. Do these steps every 72 hours to have clean AirPods that will perform up to standards.

Dip the swabs onto the alcohol solution to clean and disinfect the AirPods while being careful in cleaning the ports to avoid electrical damage. The toothpick, on the other hand, can help you prick out debris from the ridges.

Cleaning your AirPods with a cotton swab
Cleaning your AirPods with a cotton swab

Check Sound Balance

The Sound Balance is responsible for the individual volumes of each AirPods. At times, this accessibility setting can be misconfigured, resulting in unbalanced sound where one AirPod is louder than the other.

Usually, people would adjust the sound balance when using only one AirPod in order to get more volume out of it. We could forget adjusting this back which would leave us with one AirPod being too soft.

Here’s how you can adjust this setting:

  1. Head on to Settings > Accessibility"Settings
  2. Click Audio/Visual"Accessibility
  3. Adjust the slider underneath the Balance section to your liking.

    Sound Balance slider
    Sound Balance slider

For those who hear better on one ear over the other, you can utilize this feature to hear better. You can try making the AirPods louder on the side you hear less with and see if it improves the listening experience.

Disable iPhone Volume Limits

Listening or watching in high volumes through your AirPods can be immersive, but we all know that it can be a tad bit harmful. With that, Apple has placed volume limits to cap maximum volume and prevent potential hearing damages.

In some cases, volume limits can be the reason behind soft AirPods. With that said, if you want to make your AirPods louder, removing these limiters is one way to do it.

The volume limits are there for good reason. This follows what the World Health Organization (WHO) has set parameters for safe listening. The daily recommended safe volume level is 85 dB for a maximum of 8 hours.

Here’s how you can disable the volume limit on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics"Settings
  2. Tap Headphone Safety and toggle Reduce Loud Sounds"Headphone
  3. This will bring up a slider where you can adjust the maximum volume output for your device.

    Volume limit slider
    Volume limit slider

Reset the Bluetooth Connection

It is no secret that the AirPods rely on Bluetooth to pair up with devices. This allows the AirPods to pair up with most Bluetooth-ready devices out there such as Android smartphones and, of course, iPhones.

All the current AirPods (Gen 2, Pro, Max) use Bluetooth 5.0 or higher. The first generation AirPods had Bluetooth 4.2.

However, in some cases, the Bluetooth connection between your AirPods and your device can have problems beyond our understanding. At times, the communication between the two devices can have issues resulting in volume problems. In these cases, even if your iPhone’s volume is maxed out the AirPods can be playing it at 80% only.

So, if you suspect this to be the case, here’s a nifty way you can reset the volume connection by disconnecting and reconnecting the AirPods:

  1. With your AirPods connected, play some music and turn the volume down to zero.

    Pull down the control center and slide down the volume
    Pull down the control center and slide down the volume

  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and then disconnect your AirPods by pressing the “i” button.

    Disconnect your AirPods
    Disconnect your AirPods

  3. The music will automatically be paused to just play it again and turn the volume back down to zero one more time.

    Slide down the volume to zero again
    Slide down the volume to zero again

  4. Reconnect your AirPods and turn the volume up.

    Connect the AirPods
    Connect the AirPods

Reset the AirPods

When all else fails, reset. This is one of the proven laws in troubleshooting basically any gadget or device out there today, including your AirPods. It allows the AirPods and your iPhone to restart their connection and get off on the right foot.

Resetting your AirPods and AirPods Pro is pretty easy. All you need to do is to head on to Settings > Bluetooth, tap the “i” button and then tap Forget this Device. After that, you can just reconnect your AirPods like it’s fresh out of the box.

On the other hand, resetting the AirPods Max is a little different. To do this, you have to hold the noise control button and the Digital Crown for 15 seconds. After this, you can connect them the same way you connected them when they were first out of their box.

Click Forget this Device
Click Forget this Device

Restart Your iPhone

Following the principle behind restarting your AirPods, restarting your iPhone could eliminate any underlying software issues that may be causing the low volume.

For iPhone X and higher, you can restart by clicking the side button and the volume down button then drag the slider on the screen. For iPhones older than the iPhone X, the process is the same except that you’ll only be pressing the side button.

Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone
Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone

Disable Low Power Mode

Another reason why your AirPods may not be loud enough is because of your battery level or the iPhone’s Low Power Mode.

The Low Power Mode was first released with the iOS 9 and it will ask for your permission to be activated once your start going down to 20%. This limits some background functions of the device such as fetching emails, automatic downloads, and app refresh.

During Low Power Mode, your iPhone might deliberately lower the volume in order to save up battery, especially if you’re running really low already.

If you want to spend your phone’s last few juices on listening to audio in full volume, you can simply turn off the Low Power Mode by pulling down the Control Center and clicking the battery icon.

Pull down the Control Center and turn off the Low Power Mode
Pull down the Control Center and turn off the Low Power Mode
This mode will be on your Control Center by default. If it isn’t there, simply head on to Settings > Control Center, and then click the plus sign beside Low Power Mode.

3 Ways to Test Your Hearing

All of the solutions we listed above are pretty much all on the side of the AirPods and the iPhone. So, if the problem still persists after trying them all out, then the user might be the problem already in the sense that they’re the ones with the hearing issue.

You really won’t hear well with your AirPods if you couldn’t hear well at all.

Hearing issues can come in many forms and causes like impacted ear canals or underlying hearing damages. Lucky for you, there are some ways to confirm whether you’re the problem or not.

Have a friend to test your AirPods

One way is to have someone test the AirPods for you — preferably an AirPods and iPhone user as well. Have them compare the volume of the AirPods you’re using with the one they use and let them connect their AirPods to your iPhone as well to see if they hear anything different.

If they don’t hear anything unusual with your AirPods or with your iPhone, then that’s when you can confirm that you’re the one with troubled hearing.

Use third-party apps

Mimi Hearing Test interface (From: App Store)
Mimi Hearing Test interface (From: App Store)

Another way to test your hearing is with the use of third-party apps such as the Mimi Hearing Test. Basically, apps like the Mimi Hearing Test will assess your hearing ability and show you results to guide your audio settings and adjustments.

Consult a professional

And, last but not the least, a quick visit to an ENT specialist would be the best way to diagnose and treat any hearing conditions. Both of these ways could determine the extent of your hearing problems.

With the iOS 14, Apple released a feature called Headphone Accommodations which made listening more accessible even to those with hearing concerns. This allows users to apply customized audio settings to calls, Siri, and many more functions. The Custom Audio Setup will let you hear audio samples so you could choose which ones would sound better to you.

If Everything Fails, Try Apple’s Online Support

As a last resort, you can try out Apple’s online support. To do that, simply head on to the website, choose AirPods from the grid menu and choose Audio & Sound.

Soft AirPods aren’t listed on the choices of problems you can choose from so you could go ahead and click “The topic is not listed” and type your inquiry.

Apple Online Support for AirPods
Apple Online Support for AirPods

Apple may take some time answering your query and there is also a chance that they’ll simply provide you with the solutions we have discussed above. However, it is still worth taking a shot if you’re really out of options. You can make this your backup plan so you can just submit your inquiry and explore the solutions above while waiting for a response from Apple.

Conclusion

That’s pretty much it, congratulations! Your AirPods are probably fixed by now and you’re now listening to your favourite tunes in the volume level it’s meant to be heard on.

The AirPods’ volume issues can be annoying but only for those who may not be familiar with the solutions yet so be sure to arm yourself with the tips we mentioned above. The next time your AirPods pull the same situation, you’ll know what to do and you won’t have to worry much anymore.

What worked for you? Did you do anything else outside of the tips we mentioned above? Share it with us through the comments!

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