Volume Booster Tips for Smartphones and Tablets

Get better sound from your Android or iOS device

Listening to music, enjoying audiobooks, and having voice conversations while on the go are just a few of the benefits of smartphones and tablets. On the downside, when you're someplace with lots of background noise, you may not hear the audio as well as you'd prefer. There are several ways to boost the volume such as adjusting the settings, using an app, and pairing the device with earbuds.

The tips below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Adjust Device Settings

When the volume on your Android or iOS device isn't loud enough, start with the basics. To adjust the system sound on your device, open the Settings app (for Android) or Control Center (for iOS) and go to the Sound settings.

Android sound settings

In the Sound settings, look for the volume sliders for the different audio types: ringtone, notifications and alerts, system, alarm, and media. Turn up the media volume by moving the slider to the right.

While in the sound and audio settings, look to see what other audio adjustment options may be available (especially on an Android device). These might be labeled as an equalizer, sound effects, or adaptive sound—the terminology varies based on the manufacturer, model, carrier, and operating system version.

Install a Volume Boosting App

If the media volume slider doesn't boost the volume enough, install a volume boosting app. There are several options (including free apps) available from Google Play and the App Store. You don’t need a rooted device to use many of these apps, although there are apps that are only for rooted or jailbroken devices.

Volume Booster by GOODEV on Android

Many of these volume boosting apps offer comprehensive features in addition to media volume control, such as multi-band equalizer adjustment, audio presets, bass boost, widgets, music visualization effects, various modes, speaker and headphone settings, and more. It’s worth testing out a few to see which you prefer the most.

Some volume boosting app interfaces are simple and straightforward, while others can be complex and extravagant. Some apps contain ads. Some developers update their apps more frequently than others. And, not all apps are compatible with every model or OS of a smartphone or tablet.

Some music and media player apps offer built-in volume-enhancing features. Not only are these music apps often better than the stock player that comes pre-installed on devices, but it means having one less app in your library.

Root Your Device

You can root an Android device or jailbreak an iOS device to gain greater control—superuser access beyond the manufacturer’s imposed limitations. When you root or jailbreak a phone, you can increase volume as much as you want. However, there are consequences of rooting and risks of jailbreaking to consider. It's possible to permanently and irreversibly brick a phone. For the Android OS, the Google Play store hosts, scans, and verifies hundreds of apps designed to work on rooted devices. For iOS, visit Cydia for third-party apps.

Flashing Ainur Sauron audio mod on Android

On Android, rooting opens up another set of options from audio mods and custom ROMs. Some custom ROMs come with additional options, including sound options. Even if a ROM doesn't come with any, find an audio mod specifically designed to enhance audio capabilities on an Android. These are independent projects, so be careful what you flash. There are also no guarantees that these projects will be maintained in the long term.

Reposition for Optimal Output

To get the most volume from your smartphone or tablet, know where its built-in speakers are located. On newer iPhone models, the speakers are next to the Lightning connector port at the bottom. Although locations can vary a bit with Android smartphones, the speaker is somewhere on the back. But sometimes, as with some Android tablets, the speakers are found on the bottom.

After you find the speakers, make sure that any protective case used with the device isn’t blocking the speaker ports. Not all cases and covers are designed with optimal audio flow in mind.

If the device has a speaker on the back, set it screen-side down so that the speaker faces up. This way, the audio or music won’t be muffled by the resting surface. Another option for a device with a rear-facing speaker is to lean it against something hard. This way, the sound waves reflect back towards you instead of being aimed away. This is particularly effective when watching a video since you can also see the screen.

If you're still not getting the volume you want, place the device in a bowl or large cup. The shape of the container redirects the sound waves in a focused pattern as opposed to an omnidirectional spread. As a result, the audio output will be amplified, but only if the device is in the right spot. Since you can’t see the sound waves, you’ll have to play around with the positioning a bit. Results will vary based on the geometric shape of the container.

Enhance With Accessories

The majority of smartphone and tablet cases are made so that the device speakers are uncovered. Some cases will either block the speakers or enhance them. Products such as the Speck CandyShell Amped for smartphones and Poetic TurtleSkin for tablets provide sound amplification features. Protective cases like these have built-in channels that redirect and amplify sound waves, leading towards an output that can be heard better. However useful, such products aren’t available for all makes and models of devices and are becoming increasingly rare for newer phones.

If you don't want to use a smartphone case, check out one of the sound-amplifying stands, docks, or cradles. As with sound-amplifying cases, these accessories redirect and channel sound so that it’s aimed at the listener. Most are made of finished wood, although they are also made of plastic or silicone. Some are compatible with only the iPhone and sometimes iPad. Others are universal and work with select Android smartphones.

Since these sound amplifying accessories are compact and require no energy, they’re reasonably light and easy to carry around. The better ones have cutouts for cables to plug in and charge the device.

AudioQuest Dragonfly DAC amp to boost audio connected to an iPhone

When you want to play music through a connected speaker, but are unable to achieve the desired volume level, use a portable DAC AMP to boost decibels and improve audio quality. These accessories range in size and can be as small as a pack of gum or as large as a standard smartphone. When you need additional power to drive speakers or headphones, a portable DAC AMP is the way to go.

Connect to Portable Speakers or Earbuds

If you’ve tried all options up to this point and still aren’t satisfied, consider a portable speaker (often featuring Bluetooth wireless connectivity) or a set of earbuds. Some speakers, such as the Anker SoundCore Nano, are astonishingly loud for being so small. Plus, a separate speaker is generally more capable of delivering higher volumes without much sacrifice to quality (at least when comparing to built-in speakers on smartphones and tablets).

Anker SoundCore Nano Bluetooth speaker

If you want privacy when listening, go for a compact and wireless set of earbuds, such as the Bose SoundSport or Apple AirPods. Wireless earbuds are portable and discreet versus regular on-ear or over-ear sets of headphones.

For the absolute best sound quality, choose a top-notch pair of headphones paired with an external DAC. This combination takes the work of processing and creating sound away from your phone which is made to be a jack of all trades and puts it on gear built to do one thing well.

Tips to Keep in Mind

To get the best volume enhancement on your smartphone or tablet, follow these tips:

  • Audio quality can drop significantly (e.g. distortion, sibilance) once the volume reaches a certain point.
  • Speaker hardware can be damaged or destroyed if pushed too far beyond what it can effectively handle (via software and apps).
  • MP3 is a lossy format. For the best quality, consider WAV or FLAC. See our article on audio file formats: How Audio File Formats Differ and What This Means for Listeners.
  • Install apps from trustworthy and reputable sources, whether they're for rooted or jailbroken devices or not.
  • Be aware of the risks of rooting or jailbreaking a phone prior to making that decision.
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