My iPhone Speaker Sounds Muffled! Here’s The Fix.

A lot of the day-to-day tasks on your iPhone revolve around functional speakers. When your iPhone speakers aren’t working, you can’t enjoy music, talk to someone on speakerphone, or hear the alerts you receive. This problem can be incredibly frustrating, but it can also be fixed. In this article, I’ll explain what to do if your iPhone speaker sounds muffled!

Software Vs. Hardware Issues

A muffled iPhone speaker can be the result of a software problem or a hardware problem. The software tells your iPhone what sounds to play and when to play them. The hardware (the physical speakers) then plays the noise so you can hear it.

We can’t be sure what type of problem this is yet, so we’ll start with the software troubleshooting steps. If those steps don’t fix your iPhone speaker, we’ll recommend a few great repair options!

Is Your Phone Set To Silent?

When your iPhone is set to silent, the speaker won’t make any noise when you receive a notification. Make sure the Ring / Silent switch above the volume buttons is pulled towards the screen, indicating that your iPhone is set to Ring.

Turn The Volume All The Way Up

If the volume on your iPhone is low, it may sound like the speakers are muffled when you receive a phone call or notification.

To turn up the volume on your iPhone, unlock it and hold the top volume button on the left side of your iPhone until the volume is all the way up.

You can also adjust the volume on your iPhone by going to Settings -> Sound & Haptics and dragging the slider under Ringer and Alerts. Drag the slider all the way to the right to turn the volume on your iPhone all the way up.

If you want to have the option to turn up the volume using the buttons on your iPhone, turn on the switch next to Change with Buttons.

sounds and haptics ringer and alerts

Take Off Your iPhone Case

If you have a bulky case for your iPhone, or if the case was put on upside down, it could make the speaker sound muffled. Try taking your iPhone out of its case and playing a sound.

Clean Out Any Gunk From The Speaker

Your iPhone speakers can quickly get filled with lint, dirt, or other debris, especially if it has been sitting in your pocket all day. Try wiping off the speaker with a microfiber cloth. For more compacted gunk or debris, use an anti-static or an unused toothbrush to clean out your speaker.

Back Up Your iPhone And Put It In DFU Mode

Before you run to your local Apple Store to get a hardware repair done, let’s make sure we’re absolutely certain that the speaker is broken. A DFU restore is the last step you can take to completely rule out any type of software problem causing your iPhone speaker to sound muffled.

First, backup your iPhone. A DFU restore erases then reloads all the code on your iPhone. You’ll want a recent iPhone backup so you don’t lose your contacts, photos, messages, and more.

You can follow these guides to back up your iPhone using iTunes or back up using iCloud.

After you’ve backed up your iPhone, follow these instructions to put your iPhone in DFU mode.

Before checking if your speakers work, go through steps 1-4 again and then try to play music or use your speakerphone. If the speaker still sounds muffled, it’s time to look into repair options.

Repairing Your iPhone Speaker

Apple offers repairs for iPhone speakers. You can schedule an appointment at the Genius Bar or use their mail-in service by visiting their support center.

One of our favorite and often less-expensive repair options is Puls. They will send an iPhone repair expert to a location you choose and can have your iPhone fixed in as little as an hour. They also offer a lifetime warranty, so this might be the best option for you!

If you have an older iPhone, you may want to consider upgrading to a new one instead of paying out of pocket to repair your old one. New iPhones have better stereo speakers that are great for listening to music or streaming videos. Check out UpPhone’s comparison tool to find a great deal on a new iPhone!

Can You Hear Me Now?

Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, we’ve either solved your speaker problem or at least figured out that you need a repair. If your problem was fixed, let us know which step helped you figure it out — this might help others with the same problem. Regardless, if you have any other questions, leave them in the comments below!

About Author

David Lynch is an expert on cell phones, cell phone plans, and other tech. After using a flip phone into his early 20s, he learned the ropes about iPhones and Androids from a former Apple employee. Today, his articles and videos are read and viewed by millions, and he has been cited by major publications including Reader's Digest, Wired, CMSWire, Consumers Advocate, and more.

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6 months ago

I had an android and found that a conversation was clear for about 30 seconds and then became very muffled. I thought that i needed to change the phone but have just bought a refurbished iphone 12 from Apple and the same thing is now happening. Any ideas anyone?

11 months ago

My volume is good when we i am calling someone but it is not the loudest when on speaker or on YouTube what do I do

1 year ago

Thanks for tips. I had rattling speaker sound because of dirt. I had tried to suck and blow the speaker, and it lost almost all the volume and I thought I broke the element. Finally I thought there is not much to loose so I flushed the speaker grille under running water and used some toothbrush. After the flushing the volume came back, but unfortunately the voice is still bit rattly (not severely) because of dirt particle at the speaker element.
(iPhone XS)

Last edited 1 year ago by Markus
1 year ago

iPhone 13…, When I do a recording for choir class…. It sounds muffled very faint like you can’t hear anything. What do I do?

Dylan McCoo
1 year ago
Reply to  David Lynch

I don’t use a screen protector….

1 year ago

My iPhone XR had muffled sound because I dropped in my plate of chicken wings and BBQ got stuck in the speakers and charging dock. Used the toothbrush suggestion and toilet paper and my sound is even better than before! Thank you for the tips!

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Anon

Glad to hear the toothbrush did the trick! However, if you encounter a problem like this down the line, you might want to be careful with the toilet paper. Items like toilet paper can break apart and get stuck in the charging port, causing even further damage. It’s for this reason we recommend against using other fragile items, like toothpicks or cotton swabs, to keep your Lightning port clean.

1 year ago

I have a brand new iPhone 13 pro and people tell me when I am on speakerphone they have a hard time hearing me. If I switch back to the regular mode it goes away.

andi w
1 year ago

I just got an iPhone 12, and while the phone is locked, the volume of incoming texts and notifications is very low. If I am not next to my phone, I wont hear the notification. I have checked ALL volume possibilities and everything is on high. I have watched all kinds of videos and fix it threads, but nothing works. I have missed important work messages and texts, this is VERY frustrating and honestly not acceptable for a brand new phone.
I am thinking my phone is faulty, because nothing works to fix the muted sound.
Any ideas?

1 year ago
Reply to  andi w

I have also a sound issue with my text messages not being heard or hearing people unless on speaker mode. Everyone doesn’t need to hear my conversations also have found volume not loud enough with wired ear buds to listen to YouTube or other video or zoom meetings. This is my first Apple product, had iPhone 12 a month not happy at all, going back to Android easy to use for typing, getting to contacts on dial keypad and buttons are on the bottom of screens where my thumbs are while holding a phone.

1 year ago

Iphone 11, cant hear people very well even with volume all the way up, i have to put them on speaker.

David Payette
1 year ago
Reply to  Andile

Sometimes the earpiece speaker gets damaged — even dropping your phone the wrong way can jar something loose. The good news is that repairing an earpiece speaker isn’t difficult or expensive. If your phone is under warranty, make an appointment at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store. If it isn’t, it might be worth checking out a local repair shop.

Diane D
1 year ago

Today I have gotten an iphone SE2020. The phone volume barely works. I can hear someone but not enough to know or hear anything. Also the volume on the voicemail is the same way. I’ve read all the comments here. I got this new phone 30 minutes ago. ATT seems to be dragging feet. Any suggestions. Thank you.

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane D

Hi Diane,

If your iPhone is brand new, I’d suggest going directly to AT&T or Apple to have it replaced. An iPhone fresh from the box should not have an issue like this. Sorry to hear you’re having trouble, and I hope this helps!

1 year ago

My iPhone sound works only when I receive calls or for alarm I cannot listen to music or videos on YouTube

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Mihlali

Hi Mihlali, is it possible that your iPhone is connected to a Bluetooth audio device you don’t know about? If that’s the case, your iPhone might be playing sound over Bluetooth rather than through its speakers. Open Settings and tap Bluetooth to check if your phone’s currently connected to any Bluetooth devices.

Katrina Pierce
1 year ago

Iphone 11, cant hear people very well even with volume all the way up, i have to put them on speaker.

Howard W
1 year ago

Tried all of the suggestions and nothing worked. So, I took the phone apart, removed the camera and could see the back of the earphone speaker grill. It was covered in ear crud on the inside. I gently picked it out with a cocktail stick, before using a small interdental brush to get the remaining. Phone now as good as new!

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard W

Glad this worked for you Howard! However we generally advise against taking apart your iPhone when performing home repairs, as that can void your warranty with Apple.

Marilyn B
1 year ago

I’ve tried all these suggestions, but sound is still muffled. Relieved to know others have problems, so my ears are ok!

Wilda miller
1 year ago
Reply to  Marilyn B

My iPhone 12 just started doing this. Muffled dad , can’t here people. I tried everything they said. I see all these people on sound like a defeat in the speakers!

1 year ago

what Would be best to clean the speakers with ? It was quite gunky , probably from my 10 month old , but I feel there might still be gunk in there that I can’t quite get out.

1 year ago

I have an iPhoneX and when I’m making calls, I’m unable to hear anything unless i put it on speaker. My speaker is working fine otherwise in terms of videos/music/YouTube. The only problem is when I call someone, I am unable to hear anything. Thanks

1 year ago
Reply to  Iram

I have the same problem

Carolyn Horst
2 months ago
Reply to  Iram

IPhone X must have a defect, same problem!!!!

JD Smith
1 year ago

Ringers, alarms and text notifications etc all play out of the earpiece, not the speakers. iPhone 8.

1 year ago

I have an XR, but I’m told I sound under water, any ideas please, I’ve turned off noise cancellation.

1 year ago

Go to settings>Sounds and haptics>headphone safety>Reduce loud sounds. Set it to 85 decibels

1 year ago
Reply to  Eric

My phone sound was muffled when using headphones and headphone safety was off. Thank you it worked

2 years ago

My mom wants to do karaoke on her phone. Her speaker sounds great when not singing but when she starts the microphone is really muffled and it sounds cloudy. How do I fix this?

2 years ago

My issues is my volume is all the way up but it still sound low and it’s frustrating me bc I don’t like to interact with people and music is my only way to avoid people talking to me but I want my volume to be loud bc I hate hearing other people talk

Liam Shotwell
2 years ago
Reply to  Karina

Make sure you tap the button to turn on speakerphone during calls. That should solve your problem!

2 years ago

My issue is speaker won’t work on a voice call. Speakers are fine on videos movies and music. I am elderly and need my speakers for voice calls. I have a IPhone Plus my phone was bought brand new and is been gently used.

Liam Shotwell
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeanne

During a call, you should see an option on the screen to switch to speaker mode. Just tap on it on toggle between speaker mode on and off. I hope this helps! ?

Chelaine Bauer
2 years ago

I just got a new iPhone 7 from apple after I had the SIM card issue (very common with certain iPhone 6&7s) but the receiver in my phone calls is still very low. Super frustrating. Speakers work fine.

2 years ago

My son got an iPhone7 and complained that the sound on calls was very low, but the speaker sound for music, etc., was fine. Problem was fixed when I convinced him to remove the plastic covering from the display.

2 years ago

if I put my phone on speaker it works clear as can be…the only thing that doesn’t work is I can’t hear anything on a phone call in or out unless it is on speaker…I have tried all the things you suggested

2 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

Is something covering your ear piece? My husband put his screen protector on upside down and had this same problem.

Monica Bauer
2 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

Is something covering your ear piece? My husband put his screen protector on upside down and had this same problem.

2 years ago

I did the windows thing and restarted it. It fixed the problem

2 years ago

Good post. Trouble with my iPhone was Phone-lint! After reading this post took a needle and carefully cleaned the pores of the speaker and mike at the bottom of the phone- works great now! Somehow the speaker and mike are connected to ear-speaker, cleaning the former sets right also the latter.

2 years ago

I have issues with phone calls – but if I do a FaceTime Audio it is clear as a bell. So – I am not sure this is an issue with the speakers as such or it would affect both phone calls and FaceTime equally. Any suggestions?

Lloyd Macklem
2 years ago

I bought the top iphone 8 . The left speaker has very little vibration coming from it , compared to the right . I took it into the Apple store . They want $390. to fix it . I had a new battery installed there , and the speakers cleaned .

2 years ago

my iPhone 11 Sonu’s is muffled
I can’t here the call sound

Keith Rabin
2 years ago

My volume on iPhone xr always turns itself down . It’s been to AppleCare 3 times same issue . The speaker is attached to screen so if you don’t have insurance upgrade. I got fed up and up graded to 11. Credit was great but if you can’t hear your customers it’s not worth a dime. Good luck.

Naj huet
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Rabin

Omg I have iPhone XR I’m having same problems 3 times when for repairs still people’s can hear me ,it’s muffled sound it’s alright if it’s on speaker!!! Getting fed brand new phone worth nothing !!!!

1 year ago
Reply to  Naj huet

Keith ever solve problem?

Kumar Chandan
2 years ago

I just bought a new iPhone 7 but incoming voice is coming muffled and distorted

Millie moore
2 years ago
Reply to  Kumar Chandan

I was having same problem with iPhone 7 Plus. I upgraded to iPhone 11 in April and am having same problem. I am about done with iphones

2 years ago

What fixed it for me was using the toothbrush and just wiping the speaker/mic at the bottom of the iphone, having the toothbrush only SLIGHTLY wet (Not terribly wet or you’ll mess your stuff up) works wonders. (I got cake in mine, so might not work if your phone suffers from water damage)

Last edited 2 years ago by finder12
Karen Lanier
3 years ago

People tell me that my voice sounds muffled on my iPhone 8! I’m very frustrated and want to remedy! Volume is up all the way. Do I need to take it to be repaired?

Sam Conover
2 years ago
Reply to  Karen Lanier

That is the same problem my wife has with her iPhone 8. I haven’t seen any responses.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Conover

Clean out all the speaker. One at the bottom of the phone, one at the back by the camera and also the one at the top by the ear. Just di it to mine and its clear now