iPhone Speaker Not Working? Here’s The Real Fix!

When an iPhone’s speaker stops working, so do many of the features that make the iPhone so great. The music stops playing, you can’t make calls using the speakerphone, and you don’t hear a “ding” when you receive a text message or an email, or maybe your iPhone speaker is muffled. One thing’s for sure: Your iPhone uses its speaker a lot. In this article, I’ll explain what to do when an iPhone speaker is not working so you can fix the problem for good.

Is My iPhone Speaker Broken?

At this point, we simply don’t know. Broken and not working are two different things. You should try to do an iPhone speaker test just to see if no sound will come out of your phone at all or only a few sounds. Test your ringtones, media sounds, and check to see if your iPhone speaker is not working during calls.

To determine why your iPhone speaker won’t work, it’s necessary to understand the two things that happen every time your iPhone makes a sound:

  1. Software: Your iPhone’s software decides which sound to play and when to play it.
  2. Hardware: The built-in speaker on the bottom of your iPhone converts the software’s instructions into sound waves you can hear.

iPhone 7 speaker

What Causes iPhone Speakers To Stop Working?

Software

If the software is malfunctioning, your iPhone may not be sending the proper signals to the speaker, so the speaker doesn’t work at all or your iPhone speaker is muffled. Here’s the good news: Most software problems can be fixed at home. Unfortunately, the hardware is a different story.

Hardware

speaker graphicThe iPhone speaker is one of the most damage-prone components on iPhones. Speakers make sound waves when a very thin piece of material vibrates very, very quickly. If the material is damaged in any way, your iPhone speaker can stop working entirely, start to make static noises, or make your iPhone speaker muffled.

How Do I Know Whether It’s A Hardware Or Software Problem?

When I worked with customers with speaker problems, I would always try to fix the iPhone’s software before replacing the speaker itself. Software is free to fix and speakers are not, but that’s not the only reason why. If there is a software problem, we could replace the speaker again and again and the iPhone still wouldn’t play sound.

This happens all the time to people who replace their iPhone batteries and are surprised when their battery drains just as fast or even faster. Later, they realize the battery drain problem was being caused by software all along.

How To Fix iPhone Speaker Problems

1. Make Sure Your iPhone Isn’t On Silent

It happens all the time. A customer comes into the Apple Store and we fix the problem by turning up the volume and flipping the silent switch to the “Ring” position. Check out my article called My iPhone Won’t Ring if your speaker is making some sounds but doesn’t ring when you receive a phone call.

ring silent switch on iphone 7

2. Make Sure The Volume Is All The Way Up

It’s easy to accidentally turn the volume all the way down on your iPhone or flip the silent switch if you’re using a big, bulky case. Unlock your iPhone and hold the volume up button until your iPhone is turned all the way up. I’ve worked with customers who say, “Oh! I was wondering where the volume buttons were!

volume buttons on iphone 7

If the volume isn’t turning up even as you hold down the volume up button, open the Settings app and tap Sounds & Haptics. Make sure the switch next to Change with Buttons is turned on (you’ll know it’s on when it’s green).

ios 13 change with buttons

If you turn the volume all the way up and you hear sound playing very, very quietly, your speaker is damaged. Skip to the last step to learn about your repair options.

3. Make Sure Your iPhone Isn’t Stuck On Headphones Mode

iphone headphones stuckWhen headphones are connected to your iPhone, all sound plays through the headphones, not the speaker. Here’s the tricky part: If your iPhone thinks headphones are plugged in but they’re not, your iPhone tries to play sound through headphones that aren’t there.

This usually happens when a piece of debris or small amount of liquid gets inside of the headphone jack and “fools” the iPhone into thinking headphones are plugged in. If you see Headphones under the volume slider when you turn the volume up or down, check out my article about why iPhones get stuck on headphones mode to find out how to fix it.

4. Make Sure Sound Isn’t Playing Somewhere Else (Yes, This Can Happen)

iPhones automatically reconnect and play sound through Bluetooth speakers, Apple TVs, and other devices as soon as they come in range. Sometimes people don’t realize their iPhone is playing sound through another device in their house or car. Here are two examples of how this can happen:

  • You have an Apple TV that’s hooked up to your TV. At some point in the past, you used AirPlay to play music through your TV speakers. When you come home, your iPhone reconnects to the Apple TV and continues streaming music through it — but the TV, and the speakers, are off.
  • You use a Bluetooth headset in the car. When you go in the house, your iPhone speaker suddenly stops working — or does it? In actuality, your iPhone is still playing sound through the Bluetooth headset because you forgot to turn it off. (Watch out for Bluetooth speakers, too!)

To make sure your iPhone isn’t playing music somewhere else, we’ll turn off Bluetooth, disconnect from AirPlay devices (like your Apple TV), and try playing sound again. You can accomplish both using Control Center on your iPhone.

To activate Control Center, use your finger to swipe up from the very bottom of the screen. Tap the Bluetooth icon (in the box in the upper left-hand corner of Control Center) to turn off Bluetooth.

turn off bluetooth in control center

Next, press and hold the music hub in the upper right-hand corner of Control Center and tap on the AirPlay icon. Make sure there is only a small checkmark next to iPhone. If your speaker starts working again, you’ve fixed your iPhone and discovered the cause of the problem.

tap airplay button in ios 11 control center

5. Restore Your iPhone

There’s only one way to be absolutely sure your speaker is broken, and that’s to restore your iPhone. Back up your iPhone first, then follow my instructions in my article about How To DFU Restore An iPhone, and come back here when you’re done.

After the restore finishes, you’ll know almost immediately if the problem is solved. Make sure your iPhone isn’t on silent mode (see step 1) and the volume is all the way up (see step 2). You should hear keyboard clicks as soon as you start to type your Wi-Fi or Apple ID password as part of the setup process.

If you still don’t hear anything or your iPhone speaker is still muffled, we’ve eliminated the possibility that your iPhone’s software was causing the problem, and unfortunately, it means your iPhone speaker is broken. But don’t despair — there are good options available for repairing an iPhone speaker.

6. Repair Your iPhone Speaker

If your iPhone speaker is broken or your iPhone speaker is muffled or won’t work during calls, the good news is that Apple does replace iPhone speakers both at the Genius Bar and through their mail-in repair service at their support website.

There are less-expensive alternatives too: One of our favorites is Puls, an iPhone repair service that will meet you at a location of your choice in as little as 60 minutes and repair your iPhone on the spot. Puls also offers a lifetime warranty. If you go the Apple Store route, make sure you make an appointment first, because they can get really busy!

iPhone, I Can Hear You!

By this point, we’ve either fixed your iPhone’s software or we’ve determined that your iPhone speaker is not working because of a hardware problem and you know how to get your iPhone repaired. If you have time, share how you first realized your iPhone speaker wasn’t working and which fix worked for you in the comments section below—that will help other people with the same problem.

Thanks for reading, and remember to pay it forward,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Berlyn Gresham
29 days ago

Hi, so my iphone 8’s sound recently stopped working a month ago. The volume bar even disappeared. I tried resetting my settings and pretty much everything else that you could do. also at the same time that happened my camera app stopped functioning as well. I could open it just fine but the area that shows what your filming would pulse and not allow me to take pictures at all. But just the other day all of a suddenly everything started working again. But today my phone died and everything went back to the way it was. I have no… Read more »

Diana
1 month ago

thank you SO much for this :))))))

Bernadette
1 month ago

I can hear through the phone but I can’t talk into it. When I’m on a call I can hear others but they can’t hear ne

Hope C.
1 month ago

So I’m going to try and have this make sense as I attempt to explain what’s going on. The past few months I have assumed that one of my speakers were busted, and I just assumed it was the bottom left speaker (which I found out today is a vent – thanks for that info btw) and that the top ear speaker was actually considered the right speaker (This I also found out today! What?! Who knew!). Anyway …… Siri does not understand me when I speak to her, neither does the ‘talk to text’ microphone on the keyboard. Also,… Read more »

Corey h
23 days ago
Reply to  Hope C.

mine does the same exact thing… did you figure out what is causing this nonsense.

Jfa
1 month ago

If hardware problem on my iPhone X, would I still hear Spotify, and Siri(if I use the side button).

Hamdy
1 month ago

The speakers don’t work .I cleaned with drayer return working a while but don’t work again !how can i solve it ???

Terry
1 month ago

I have an iPhone 8 Plus
The right speaker works but no sound out of the left speaker. What could the problem be??

Editor
Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry

As it turns out, what you’re seeing on the left is not a speaker, but a barometric vent! There is nothing wrong with your speakers. I do agree though, it does look like a speaker.

Ryan
2 months ago

Please help! I read your instructions and don’t know what else to do for my iPhone X. Speakers don’t work unless I reset all the settings. Then it works and I hear clicks and such when texting, with music. Then after a few hours it goes back to no sound again. What’s interesting is that when I use my wireless bluetooth headphones, I hear sounds just fine…same for bluetooth phone calls on my car speakers but if I answer on the iPhone, I can’t hear them although the other person can still hear me. In addition, i get these “phantom”… Read more »

Editor
Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan

Yeah, that’s not supposed to happen, is it? If I had to take a guess, I’d say that maybe there’s something wrong on the hardware side. IF you want to be absolutely sure it’s a software problem before you think about getting it repaired by a professional, look into doing a DFU restore. That will completely reload iOS on the device. If that doesn’t work, then you can pursue your repair options. Best of luck to you!

John
2 months ago

Hello David,
Your Information on the Iphone Speaker is excellent. Thank You