9 Ways to Improve Your Android Phone's Sound and Volume

Speaker and headphone volume boosters are part of the solution

Woman sitting at home listening on her phone via headphones and adjusting the volume
Westend61/Getty Images.

Few things are more frustrating than trying to listen to your favorite tunes only for them to fail to cut through, and there are an irritatingly wide range of potential causes on Android phones. Here are some quick solutions so you can increase the volume and get back to grooving.

01
of 09

Turn Off “Total Silence” Mode

Red arrow pointing to Do Not Disturb setting of Android quick settings bar
Go to Do Not Disturb in your quick settings menu.

Along with silencing your ringer, Total silence mode or Do not disturb also mutes all speaker and headphone volume. There are a few ways to turn this off.

  • The first is to simply drag down the quick settings from the top of your screen, then tap the do not enter icon.
  • From the full quick settings menu, you can also tap Total silence to bring up the Do not disturb settings, where you can toggle off the switch in the upper-right.
  • Alternatively, go into the Settings app, where you will notice a banner at the top when Do not disturb is on. Tap the down arrow on this banner, tap Turn Off, and you’re done.
02
of 09

Untether Your Phone From Possible Bluetooth Devices

Android
Go to Settings > Connected devices and switch off the Bluetooth toggle.

If your phone is tethered via Bluetooth to a device that plays sound, but that device isn't close by, you won’t get audio where you expect.

The quickest way to solve this is by turning Bluetooth off, which you can do by pulling down the quick settings, then tap the Bluetooth icon, which will then gray out. As with Do not disturb, you can tap the text below the Bluetooth icon to display a toggle to switch off in the top-right.

You can also deactivate Bluetooth by going to Settings >​ Connected devices, then switching off the toggle to the right of Bluetooth.

03
of 09

Brush the Dust Off Your External Speakers

Bottom of smartphone held up to show built-in hardware speakers
Cheon Fong Liew/Flickr.

If your speakers aren’t putting out what they used to and you spy dust obstructing them, it’s time to clean your speakers out. A compressed air can works best if you have it, but a clean brush can do the trick, too.

04
of 09

Clear the Lint Out of Your Headphone Jack

Headphones plugged into audio jack of smartphone

 Igor Golovniov/EyeEm

After enough exposure to lint, some of it gets trapped in your headphone jack; compacted down further when plugging headphones in.

If you notice sound problems purely with headphones and the plug doesn’t go in quite as flush as it used to, you may have lint tamped down. You can use a sewing needle or safety pin to skewer bits of lint and scoop them out, and your headphones will fit good as new!

05
of 09

Test Your Headphones to See If They Are Shorted

White headphones coiled on floor with one broken, disconnected earbud

 Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul, EyeEm/Getty Images

Headphones, while durable enough, don't last forever, and sometimes it's hard to tell when and how they reach the end of their lifespan. Generally, if your headphones are fairly old, heavily worn, kinked in places from repeated spooling and unspooling, or have gotten wet more than a few times, they're more likely to die on you from wiring coming undone or shorting out. 

This is relatively simple to troubleshoot. All you have to do is try out a different set of headphones and see if your sound comes back. If the new set gives you volume, your old headphones are probably done.

06
of 09

Adjust Your Sound With An Equalizer App

Neutralizer EQ app adjustment screen with red box indicating dial knob and red arrow indicating dialog advancement
Move the volume intensity dial for each frequency, then tap the arrow for the next frequency.

If your audio is only faint instead of completely thwarted, it might be time to tweak it with an equalizer app, which lets you change the intensity levels of certain sonic frequencies in the audio emanating from your speakers or headphones. This is the best solution if your sound is imbalanced and you just need to amp up certain frequencies, such as if you need to make up for impaired hearing ranges or you have skewed background noise to cut through.

If you’re not sure what adjustments to make, one notable standout is the Neutralizer app from AUDIOMATIC by JAVEO. Instead of leaving the tweaking to the user to demystify, Neutralizer runs you through a diagnostic to determine which frequencies need boosting, and which need toning down.

  1. To start, open the app and tap Plus (+) icon in the lower-right of the home screen.
  2. Name your sound profile and tap OK.
  3. From here, Neutralizer will play a tone you can manipulate in intensity with the circular dial at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Once set to where you can barely hear the tone, tap the arrow in the lower-right of the graph and do the same for the next tone. Do this for all tones and you will see a dialog box. If you like your settings, tap Save.
  5. Toggle the switch in the upper-right of your profile to On to enable your custom soundscape.
07
of 09

Increase Volume With a Phone Volume Booster App

Equalizer FX EQ app settings screen with red arrow indicating which way to move slider
Go to the Effects tab, enable on Loudness Enhancer, then adjust the volume slider.

Most equalizer apps allow you to increase your device’s overall volume, as Equalizer FX by devdnua does.

On startup, the app presents a default profile which you can edit. To up your volume, go to the Effects tab, switch the Loudness Enhancer to On and move the slider to the right until you’re satisfied.

For this or other equalizers to work, you might have to disable Android’s built-in equalizer.

  1. Enter Settings and tap Apps & notifications.
  2. Tap See all [X] apps, with “X” being your number of apps.
  3. Tap the down arrow to the right of All apps, then select Show system from the drop-down.
  4. Scroll until you see your equalizer, then tap it.
  5. On the next screen tap Disable
08
of 09

Adjust Volume From Settings to Circumvent Broken Volume Rocker

Sound screen in Android Settings menu
You can adjust the volume directly from the settings under Sound.

If your audio isn't muted and you still can't adjust the volume, it might be a malfunctioning volume rocker; the single up-down hardware volume button on the side of your phone that rocks back and forth.

This may result from dust or grime accumulating under the rocker button and stopping it from depressing, or it's possible the connection between the rocker and the rest of your hardware has been broken. 

Although it's a bit inconvenient for frequent volume adjustment, you can still bring your volume into the audible range. Simply access your Settings, tap Sound, then drag the Media Volume slider to the desired volume. 

09
of 09

Check the Volume for Open Audio-Playing Apps

Smartphone playing video fullscreen

 Carol Yepes/Getty Images

Some apps that play audio and/or video have their own app-specific volume settings which can alter the volume of your system while running in the background. The most common culprits are misconfigured or even buggy equalizer apps. Since they're designed to take precedence over the system volume, they can suppress volume if they're set incorrectly.

Equalizers apps can also clash, as any third-party equalizers will be installed in addition to Android's built-in system equalizer. 

However, equalizers are not the only apps capable of messing with your system volume. Some music or video players include built-in EQ settings, or even just an app-specific volume slider, that doesn't play nice with Android's system-wide volume.

Each app is different, so if you suspect this to be the case, check your running apps and look for a volume or EQ section in their settings. You can also try closing these apps by tapping the square icon on the Android navbar and swiping them away. After this, you can reboot for good measure if you choose.