How to Master Music Settings on the iPhone

Where to Look for Hard-To-Find Music Settings

Smiling young woman with cell phone and earbuds on waterfront promenade

Westend61 / Getty Images

While most of the coolest things you can do with the Music app on the iPhone are found in the Music app itself, there are some harder-to-find settings outside of the Music app that you can use to increase your enjoyment of your music and protect you (or your kids) at the same time.

How to Adjust EQ Settings in the iOS Music App

You have to go to Settings > Music > EQ to find the equalizer settings for your music. These settings provide different kinds of audio playback styles. If you 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? Pick the Spoken Word option.

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

How to Set a Music Volume Limit on iPhone

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 of the music on your device.

To use it, go to Settings > Music > Volume Limit. Move the Max Volume slider to the loudest you want your music to play. Once it's set, no matter what you do with the volume buttons, you'll never hear music louder than the limit.

If you're setting a volume limit on a kid's device, you should lock the limit in the password-protected Restrictions screen so it can't be changed. To do that, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Volume Limit > Don't Allow Changes.

Those steps are for iOS 12. On earlier versions of the iOS, go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Volume Limit. Tap Volume Limit and select Don't Allow Changes.

How to ​Use Sound Check on iPhone

Songs are recorded at different volumes, meaning that you might listen to one song that's loud and then one that's pretty quiet, causing you to adjust the volume for each song. Sound Check 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, go to Settings > Music > Sound Check and tap the slider to move it to the On position. 

Sound Check works in iTunes, too. To learn how to enable it there, check out How to Enable and Use Sound Check in iTunes.

Other iPhone Music Settings

While you are on the Settings > Music screen, you can turn off the use of cellular data for updating your music library by tapping Cellular Data and then toggling the selector to the Off position. This setting comes in handy if you are approaching your monthly data limit, but be aware you won't be able to download, upload, or stream music from the Music app when it's off.

Also on the Settings > Music screen is the Downloaded Music setting, which contains a list of all the music currently downloaded on the iPhone along with the amount of space it is using. When you need to free up space on the iPhone, tap Edit at the top of the Downloaded Music screen. Tap the red circle next to any entry to reveal the Delete option for that artist. Tap it to remove the song. Repeat until you are happy with the amount of available space you have available on the iPhone, which is displayed at the bottom of the Downloaded Music screen. Tap Done to close the editing screen.

The Music app will also intelligently free up the space used by music for you, if you want. Turn on the Optimize Storage slider on the Music settings screen and it will automatically delete music you haven't listened to in a while. If you want that music back, you can always redownload the music later.