Why Turning Off iPhone Headphone Safety Might Be a Horrific Mistake

iPhone's Headphone Safety feature
iPhone’s Headphone Safety feature

The iPhone Headphone Safety feature has been controversial and irritating, but there are reasons why you shouldn’t disable it just yet.

The iPhone’s Headphone Safety feature, released with iOS 14, brought out a lot of different emotions among users. For some, the feature is admirable because it aims to keep people safe. On the other hand, constant alerts and automatic volume adjustments are annoying and repressive.

To make matters worse, even after deciding to turn it off, the iPhone Headphone Safety can’t be turned off easily by all users. And, Apple’s restrictions on turning off this feature don’t really help either.

If you’re one of the many individuals who just want to make this feature go away, we’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone Headphone Safety feature and the steps to take if you decide to turn it off.

What Is the iPhone Headphone Safety Feature?

The iPhone Headphone Safety feature notifies users if there’s a need to turn the volume of the phone down. Apple released this feature to safeguard its users from possible hearing damage caused by listening too loudly for too long. Additionally, the device will automatically lower the volume the next time you connect your headphones.

Key features of the iPhone Headphone Safety feature

The iPhone Headphone Safety feature is mainly based on two sets of recommendations. First, is from the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The other set of recommendations is from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard for safe hearing.

According to the WHO standard, adults should only listen to a maximum of 85 decibels for 8 hours a day. Anything beyond that increases the risk of sustaining hearing damage. On the other hand, the IEC standard recommends a protocol of notifying users about high sound output levels every 20 hours.

The iPhone Headphone Safety feature automatically kicks in once you’ve reached the recommended 7-day audio exposure limit of 80 dB for 40 hours.

The feature has two ways of addressing your listening status. The first one is through Headphone Notifications where alerts are sent to you once you’ve reached the volume limit. The second way is called Reduce Loud Sounds where your device automatically limits the volume of your sound output.

Why Turning Off iPhone Headphone Safety Might Harm You

Whether we want the responsibility or not, it’s up to us to avoid losing our hearing. As previously mentioned, listening to anything louder than 85dB for more than 8 hours a day can cause hearing damage.

Worried about hearing damage? Our guide includes six ways to check if your headphones are too loud.

According to a 2017 study, people suffering from hearing loss at age 20 or older is increasing. By 2060, 73 Million adults are expected to suffer from hearing loss.

Things like the iPhone Headphone Safety feature are there to help you avoid being a part of that number. So, turning off the feature leaves you unmonitored and at risk of crossing the safety line.

So, Why Do People Still Want to Turn Off iPhone Headphone Safety?

There are several reasons why users want to disable the iPhone Headphone Safety feature. One is because the feature feels like an invasion of their freedom. Another reason is how it negatively impacts the listening experience and enjoyment.

Impact on personal freedoms

The iPhone Headphone Safety feature is a protocol that imposes itself onto the users. And, a lot of people are calling out Apple to prevent the brand from forcing more limiters in the future.

For those who cannot disable the feature, this safety feature feels patronizing. Some people even compare it to having your mom asking you to turn your music down. For these people, choosing which phone features to control is a right. Not being able to do so represents an infringement upon their freedom.

Reduction in music enjoyment

It’s not a secret that some people prefer loud music — either for special occasions like parties or for daily listening sessions. Who can blame them? Others just want to make their AirPods louder because it’s fun.

Research suggests that music volume and enjoyment are more related than we thought. Loud music is known to increase excitement and facilitation of socialization. In the same town, loud music is known to drown out both external sound and unwanted thoughts.

So, if you prevent music from getting loud when people want it to be loud, it’s like preventing them from having a good time.

How to Turn Off iPhone Headphone Safety

The hate towards the iPhone Headphone Safety feature is not exactly for the feature itself. After all, the feature was made to protect users from hearing damage. What people are upset about is how the feature works, like how difficult it is to turn it off.

According to Apple, certain countries or regions are not allowed to turn off the feature. This is due to their respective regulations and safety standards. However, Apple has not publicly released the list of the said places.

However, if you have decided to turn off the iPhone Headphone Safety feature, we’re here to let you know the several ways you can do so.

The standard method is preferred since it is the official way to disable the safety feature. Yet, some people may need to resort to other ways. This includes altering Bluetooth device settings or jailbreaking. Read about them below:

Standard method

The standard method follows the official steps provided by Apple. If you’re thinking of turning off the Headphone Safety feature we recommend that you follow this to avoid complications.

Turning off the feature through the standard method is very simple, here’s how:

  1. Open Settings > Sounds & Haptics

    Sounds and Haptics settings on iOS
    Sounds and Haptics settings on iOS
  2. Tap Headphone Safety.

    Headphone Safety settings on iOS
    Headphone Safety settings on iOS
  3. Toggle the Headphone Notifications button to disable the notifications.

    Turning off the iPhone Headphone Safety feature
    Turning off the iPhone Headphone Safety feature
You can also disable the Reduce Loud Sounds feature through this method.

Workarounds

Several users won’t be able to use the standard method — possibly due to their country’s regulations. If you’re one of them, don’t lose hope yet because there are still some workarounds you can try out.

Classifying Bluetooth Devices trick

Third-party wireless audio devices are classified by your iPhone in several categories, including headphones. If loudspeakers are counted in your headphones data, you’ll surely reach the limit faster.

Luckily, Apple lets you classify third party devices as it doesn’t know what category they should belong to. You can even purposefully miscategorize your headphones as speakers to bypass the iPhone Headphone Safety feature.

Classifying your Bluetooth devices takes some work to execute but it solves this issue with the Headphone Safety feature. So, here’s how you can do it for each of your Bluetooth devices:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth

    Bluetooth Settings on iOS
    Bluetooth Settings on iOS
  2. Click the “i” button beside your chosen Bluetooth device.

    Bluetooth additional settings
    Bluetooth additional settings
  3. Choose Device Type.

    Device Type Bluetooth Settings on iOS
    Device Type Bluetooth Settings on iOS
  4. Classify the device accordingly.

    Reclassifying Bluetooth devices on iOS
    Reclassifying Bluetooth devices on iOS

Jailbreaking

This workaround has been used by Redditors to bypass the sound limits. Jailbreaking is the process of rewriting the software of your device to remove restrictions imposed by Apple. By doing so, you will be able to turn off the Headphone Safety feature even if you’re in a country where this isn’t allowed.

However, jailbreaking offers a serious security risk for users. Jailbroken phones are easily penetrable through bootleg application stores. These stores are filled with unregulated apps that can be a host for viruses. Without Apple’s security support, you won’t be able to run to anyone for help if you get compromised.

Jailbreaking is a direct violation of the Apple end-user license agreement. As a result, your warranty and ability to avail of Apple’s services such as Apple Care will all be forfeited.

As a result, jailbreaking is highly discouraged. But if you’re willing to give it a shot, here’s a tutorial by iCrackUriDevice that you can follow at your own risk.

Conclusion

Now you know the risks and possible repercussions of turning off the iPhone Headphone Safety Tool. With this information, you can now freely decide whether to turn it off or not. At the end of the day, this feature can be annoying but it’s there for a good reason.

How did you decide to deal with the iPhone Headphone Safety feature? Have you turned it off or not? Let us know in the comments.

2 comments

  1. I can’t turn it off. Possibly because it’s a US phone and required to have it on. I am hard of hearing and use hearing aids, so yes, I have a reason to use my headphones at 70-90% volume. For those of us that need the volume, not being able to toggle this feature sucks.

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