iPhone Music App Settings: SoundCheck, EQ, & Volume Limit

While most of the neat things you can do with the Music app are contained within the app itself, there are some settings that you can use to both increase your enjoyment of your music and protect you at the same time.

To access all of these settings:

  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen
  2. Scroll down to Music and tap it

Shake to Shuffle

This setting is the type of thing that makes the iPhone so much fun. When it's turned on (the slider moved to green/On) and you're using the Music app, just shake your iPhone and the app will shuffle songs and give you a new random playlist. No button tapping required! 


Songs are recorded at different volumes, meaning that you might listen to one fairly loud song and then one very quiet one, causing you to have to adjust the volume each time. SoundCheck tries to prevent this. It samples the volume of the songs in your Music library and attempts to play all songs at an average volume.

If you want to use it, just move its slide to green/On.


EQ is the equalizer setting. This provides different kinds of audio playback settings for your iPod/Music app. Want to increase the bass sound of your music? Choose Bass Booster. Listen to a lot of jazz? Get just the right mix by choosing the Jazz setting. Listening to a lot of podcasts or audiobooks? Choose Spoken Word.

EQ is optional, and turning it on uses up more battery than if it's off, but if you want an improved audio experience, tap on it and select the EQ setting best for you.

Volume Limit

One big concern for a lot of iPod and iPhone users is the potential damage they may be doing to their hearing by listening to a lot of music, especially with earbuds that are so close to the inner ear. The Volume Limit setting is designed to address that; it limits the maximum volume you can play music at on your device.

To use it, tap the Volume Limit item and move the volume slider to the loudest you want music to be. Once that's set, no matter what you do with the volume buttons, you'll never hear things louder than the limit.

If you're setting this on a kid's device, for instance, you may want to lock the limit so they can't change it. In that case, you'll want to use the Lock Volume Limit setting, which adds a passcode so the limit can't be changed. Use the Restrictions feature to set that limit.

Lyrics & Podcast Info

Did you know that you can display the lyrics to the songs you're listening to on your iPhone's screen? This setting enables that. Move it to green/On to turn that feature on. It also turns on the ability to display notes about podcasts. There's a catch, though: you need to add lyrics manually to your songs in iTunes. Podcasts come with the notes already embedded.   

Group By Album Artist

This setting is helpful in keeping your music library organized and easy to browse. By default, the Artist view in the Music app shows the name of each artist whose songs you have in your library. Normally this is helpful, but if you have a lot of anthologies or soundtracks, that results in dozens of entries for artists that have only one song. If you move this slider to green/On, those artists will be grouped by album (i.e., by the name of the anthology or soundtrack). This can potentially make individual songs more difficult to find, but it keeps browsing neater, too. 

Show All Music

This feature is related to iCloud, so you must have iCloud enabled on your device for it to work. When the setting is turned to white/Off, your Music app will only show the songs downloaded to your device (which makes for a simpler, neater listing of your music library). If it's set to green/On, though, the full listing of all songs you've purchased from iTunes or have in iTunes Match will appear. That way, you can stream songs to your device without needing to download them.

iTunes Match

To keep your iPhone's music in sync with your iTunes Match account, move this slider to green/On. In order to use this feature, you'll need an iTunes Match subscription. You'll also want to store all your music in the cloud and let that control your sync settings. If you connect your iPhone to iTunes Match, you will no longer control what syncs to it via iTunes. Depending on how you use your music and how much of it you have, this will be more or less appealing.

Home Sharing

To take advantage of Home Sharing, a feature of iTunes and the iOS that makes it easy to transfer music from one device to another without syncing, sign into your Apple ID in this section. Learn more about Home Sharing here.