This is how Apple protects your hearing (and how you possibly turn it off)

Have you noticed that the volume of your iPhone suddenly drops enormously during an intense listening session? Perhaps the sound is a bit too loud, because from iOS 14.2 the headphone safety automatically kicks in.

The sound of my iPhone suddenly decreases?

At the beginning of November I get into the car to go out. This goes through a fixed ritual: I get in, take my iPhone from my pocket and connect it to the lightning adapter, which is always available. Although my car is not super old-fashioned, it does not have an on-board computer or modern radio system. No bluetooth, not even USB – listening to music is done via an old-fashioned cable in the auxiliary input.

Just as quickly I see a message appear on the screen of my iPhone: whether I am connecting to headphones? Yes, in itself you could call it that. I tap “Headphones”, crank up a playlist, buckle up, start the engine, and go.

After about half an hour, the volume of the music suddenly drops. Crazy. Via my Watch – because it is easier to operate blindly – I turn the volume of my iPhone to full again. And no, that’s not even that hard. I always control the actual volume via the car radio itself. Another half hour later: the same story. The sound of the iPhone suddenly quieter. The bad guy? Headphone safety.

Headphone safety

In iOS 14.2, Apple gave your iPhone the power to automatically lower the volume. This happens if longer exposure up to the relevant sound level would cause hearing damage and is accompanied by the message below. Volume limitation was already possible in previous iOS versions. However, you had to set this yourself. Headphone safety is fully automatic and in many cases cannot be switched off.

And why should you? It is a very useful feature as hearing damage can have lasting and far-reaching consequences. From tinnitus – a constant ringing or ringing in your ears – to complete deafness. The music a little less loud means more pleasure from your hearing.

Incorrectly adjusted iPhone volume

Headphone safety has a drawback, however. With the AirPods, your iPhone knows exactly how loud the volume is. For example, it accurately measures when and to what extent to lower the volume. He can also make a good estimate with bluetooth headphones.

However, where things go wrong is when using an analog cable – the old-fashioned mini-jack. You plug this into the auxiliary input of a speaker – or you plug the cable of a speaker into the lightning adapter. Some speakers that enable a Bluetooth connection as an extra are also difficult to assess for your iPhone. Such devices generally have their own volume button, which works independently of the iOS volume. And if you then fully open the volume slider of your iPhone, after half an hour it wrongly thinks “this has been enough”. Very annoying, but in the case of the lightning adapter something can be done about it.

Hear and feel

On your iPhone, go to “Settings> Hear & Feel> Headphone Safety”. Tap “Lightning Adapters”. Set the slider behind Connected to headphones to gray and the speaker will no longer be seen as headphones.

An alternative method is to tap “Forget all adapters”. As soon as you reconnect the lightning adapter, you will again receive the message whether it is a headphone connection or not. Then choose “Other device”. This allows you to turn your iPhone to full power again and then determine the volume itself via the speaker.

Volume limitation iPhone

Do you want a volume limit to be set, so that you do not have to worry about possible hearing damage? Of course you can!

  • Go to “Settings> Hear & Feel> Headphone Safety”.
  • Set the slider behind Reduce loud noises to green.
  • Choose the maximum number of decibels your iPhone can emit, from “As loud as a vacuum cleaner (75 decibels)” to “As loud as an ambulance siren (100 decibels)”.