Missing calls because your phone isn't ringing? Can't jam out to your favorite tunes at work because you start up the playlist, but all you get is silence? Well, there are a host of reasons why your phone might be staying mum. Hopefully by the end of this page you'll be back to headbanging at your desk.
If you have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus with a grayed out speakerphone icon, or other varied audio issues, you may want to look into iPhone 7 Audio IC issues.
Sound Settings Are Misconfigured
Although “sound” on an iPhone seems simple, it is actually a conglomeration of several different settings. Each audio related function in the phone has its own correlated setting (ie. phone call, media, ringer, etc…).
- Verify that the Silent/Ringer toggle switch, is set to ring (hint: silent is orange). The position of this switch overrides all other ringer settings.
- Is Do Not Disturb on? This would also override volume settings for incoming communications. On newer versions of iOS, Do Not Disturb has been replaced by Focus.
- Check that the volume level for the sound setting you're missing is set to the expected level. Volume controls are context sensitive and adjust the volume for the current function. For a quick look at the current volume level, use Control Center.
Software Corruption or Conflict
iPhones, like all computerized devices, can be subject to software defects or bugs. The phone may have encountered an error, a third party app is wreaking havoc, or the OS itself may have become damaged.
- Restart the device. This can relieve some hang up in the boot process.
- If you’re encountering the issue only in a specific app, see if that app has any updates. App updates can be found by navigating to the App Store and clicking the account button in the top right corner.
- iOS itself may also need an update. In the Settings menu, under General, there is a selection for Software updates.
- Before processing an update, you may want to back up your device, in the case that something goes awry.
- Perform a factory reset. In the case of potentially faulty software, it is recommended to try the reset via a PC with iTunes or a Mac. This installs a fresh copy from Apple rather than reinstalling from your device.
- When testing after the reset, it is best to set up as a new device. Resist the urge to restore your backup until you have confirmed the hardware is functional on a bare OS.
Speaker Is Obstructed
It only makes sense that, if something is blocking sound waves as they come out of your speaker, you are less likely to be able to hear any of the noises that speaker is producing. In addition to muffling sounds, obstructions can silence your phone altogether.
- Start by removing your case, or verifying that your screen protector does not block the speaker. Although cases are intended to protect your phone, they may also inhibit some of the functionality.
- Check to see if the speaker grills on the phone itself, or speaker cutouts on your case are clogged. Lint, dust or other debris commonly gets stuck in the tiny gaps in the mesh. You can use a few methods to remove this.
- Blutack or other similar products are extremely effective at removing all the gunk stuck deep into the grills. Gently press it into the mesh, and pull it out. This is also a great way to get a truly horrifying look into the sorts of grime your cell phone is housing.
- If you don’t have Blutack, you can use tape instead. Try rolling the tape into cones and use the pointed end to reach into crevices.
- A soft brush, sweeping along the speaker can remove dust or looser debris.
- NOTE: It’s tempting to try and blow this debris out with compressed air, but it is best avoided. This sort of high velocity pressure often pushes the dust into the speaker, rather than removing it.
iPhone Is Detecting Connected Headphones
Pins inside the headphone jack may have become deformed, or conductive debris may be stuck in the recesses of the port, causing the phone to read that headphones are connected when they are not.
- To quickly check for this issue, increase or decrease the volume using the buttons. If the phone is diverting signals to the audio jack, a small headphones icon will be present in the volume slider.
- Verify that the port itself does not have anything lodged in it, such as unnoticed bits of the headphone plug. If you need to get broken headphone plug parts out, this is a handy video detailing a method using just a ballpoint pen. In the video he uses superglue, but you may have success even without. iFixit also sells a tool specifically for this purpose!
- You can refer to this list of methods to clean more basic dust or corrosion from the interior of the jack.
- If all else fails, replace the jack. This part is generally a included in the charge port/dock assembly. See the list of iPhone Guides to find out how to do this repair on your device!
Speaker Is Defective or Damaged
It stands to reason that if you're still not getting sound, it's because the part that produces audio just doesn't work.
- Narrow down which speaker is affected. There are in fact 2 separate speakers - the receiver speaker (or earpiece), and the loud speaker (or bottom speaker). Each speaker is activated during different functions.
- Try varying tasks on your phone - make a phone call, test out the speakerphone while you're at it, activate Siri, or listen to some tunes. Keep in mind iPhones 7 and newer make use of stereo audio, so many functions should activate BOTH speakers.
- Note: The grills to the left of the lightning port are for the bottom microphone, so lack of audio from that grill is expected behavior.
- Once you've determined which speaker is likely to be the faulty one, time to break out the tool kit and get fixing. The bottom speaker is generally replaceable all on its own, but the earpiece speaker may be part of the front facing camera assembly. Check out the iPhone Guides page to find directions and more info for your particular model.
Damage to Connecting Hardware
Both the receiver speaker and loudspeaker lack direct connections to the logic board in most iPhones. They typically have contacts which interface with the front facing camera assembly or the dock/charging flex cable, depending on the speaker in question. Signals for the speakers would be transmitted through their respective cables. If these cables are damaged, it will prevent audio signals from getting to their destination. If your phone has recently been exposed to water or repaired (even if it was an unrelated fix), you may be dealing with damaged cables.
- Check for any signs of liquid, corrosion or damage to the cables in question. Even a small nick or tear in a cable can cause a break in an electrical line. Replace if damage is located.
- Check the connector ends as well as the cables themselves. Bent pins, or damage to the connectors can also mean lack of data transmission.
- If your damage is a result of liquid entry, cleaning up minor corrosion can be done with some isopropyl alcohol and gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush or cotton swab. This should not be considered a permanent solution, since corrosion will oxidize the surface of the metal contacts, decreasing electrical conductivity and compromising the integrity of solder joints, but it can restore functionality if you’re looking for a quick fix.
Logic Board Issue
Ultimately the board is responsible for processing all of the audio signals going out to the speakers. If the board hardware is not working properly, signals may not be sent to the speakers to begin with.
- Board damage can be caused by liquid contact or electric insult, a significant drop or even flexion from being repeatedly shoved into your pocket. Check to see if your board looks bent, has signs of liquid, burn or loose components.
- Replacing the logic board is often the most practical solution in this case.
- If you’re feeling especially curious, the tiny bits and chips on the board can be repaired by microsoldering. It is an art unto itself, but a worthy endeavor for those who are adventurous. Interested? Check out this intro! Jessa’s YouTube channel is also fantastic and has loads of real time repairs. If you can't do this sort of repair yourself, you may be able to find a local shop who can!