iPhone Ear Speaker Not Working? Try These 17 Fixes

iPhone ear speaker not working

A common problem that iPhone owners have is when their iPhone ear speaker is not working properly, or the iPhone is has a low volume during calls. This can be really annoying especially when you take important calls quite often.

Why Your iPhone Ear Speaker is Not Working

1. Dirty Speaker

The most common reason for low volumes during a call on your iPhone is the lint and the dirt particles that get clogged in the speaker grill of the earpiece.

With that being said, you need to clean it up in an appropriate way to get your iPhone volume back to normal. You can do this by using an anti-static brush and lightly brushing the ear speaker to get the lint off.

2. Audio Is Being Routed Somewhere Else

If your audio is being routed somewhere else, this can cause you not to hear anything come out of the ear speaker whenever you’re on a call. The audio could be diverted through your headphones, or through a speaker, you need to make sure of this.

For you to know that there’s a definite problem with your ear speaker, you would’ve had to face multiple occasions where the ear speaker volume has been low whenever you’re on a call.

If this is the first time it’s happened to you, then chances are that the audio was being routed somewhere else without your realizing it.

3. Hardware Problem

The ear speaker itself could just be damaged and there’s nothing that you can do to fix it immediately. Sometimes after years of having your iPhone, it faces problems and the ear speaker not working on calls could be one of them.

To make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future, extra care must be taken when using your iPhone for calls. Doing things like making sure that the outside of your ears is cleaned properly.

Or that you’re not placing your iPhone where there are excess amounts of lint or debris that could get into the ear speaker and damage it permanently.

4. Software Problem (it Might Have Happened After An Update)

You may have noticed that the ear speaker stops working after a software update. If you’re experiencing problems with the ear speaker after an update, chances are that the problem is bug-related and you’ll just need to perform some troubleshooting steps to get rid of it.

In this case, if this doesn’t work, then you’ll just need to wait for a future software update to be rolled out so that your ear speakers can be fixed. There could also just be a generic glitch on your iPhone that’s causing you to hear calls quietly.

5. They’re Speaking Quitely

Surprisingly, this problem might be occurring simply because the people you’re talking to on the phone are being quiet and their mics are muffled which is causing you not to hear them properly through your ear speaker.

if you’ve experienced this problem numerous amount of times, then it’s safe to say that it’s probably not them. But if this has happened a handful of times and the other times you can hear people perfectly, then the problem is down to the people that you’re speaking to.

When you’re on a call with them, you should ask them to speak into the mic at the bottom of their iPhone to ensure that you can hear them properly.

How to Test If Your iPhone Ear Speaker is Not Working

For you to know if there’s actually a problem with your ear speaker, you need to make sure that you test it out. The last thing that you want to do is send your iPhone in for repair when it doesn’t need repairing.

Everyone has experienced a phone call with someone who isn’t speaking up or has a problem with their mic but if you’re noticing the same problem with everyone you’re on the phone to, then you should test it out to make sure that there’s definitely a problem with your ear speaker.

1. Can’t Hear on iPhone

The first thing that you’ll notice when your iPhone ear speaker isn’t working is that the person on the other end isn’t able to hear you at all. This means that you’re routinely unable to conduct calls because your voice isn’t being heard on the other end.

2. iPhone Ear Speaker Quiet and Call Volume Low

Another thing that you might notice when your earpiece isn’t working properly is that your voice comes across as quiet on the other end. This means that people on the other end aren’t able to hear you as loud as your voice is made to be heard.

Your iPhone ear speaker is made so that the person on the other end can hear you loud and clear. If they’re unable to hear you and you sometimes sound quite, then you know that’s a problem with your ear speaker that needs to be fixed.

3. Jump On The Phone To Multiple People

One way to test if there’s genuinely a problem with your ear speaker is to hop on the phone to many people in one sitting.

When you do this, you’re testing to see if this is a permanent problem that happens to everyone and not just something temporary that could be down to that person and not down to your ear speaker. To make sure of this, you need to call people you know will pick up.

4. Use Another iPhone and Test The Ear Speaker

If you have another iPhone, you can make a call to someone and compare that quality of sound that’s coming out of the iPhone with the suspected bad ear speaker, and the iPhone that’s fine.

If you find a large difference, then it’s safe to say that your iPhone ear speakers are broken and they’ll need to be fixed. It’s best if this is done with the same model iPhone but if they’re close in terms of the year they were made, then you should be good.

How to Fix iPhone Ear Speaker Not Working

Now you’ve tested to see if your iPhone ear speaker is actually faulty, you can now fix the ear speaker using the steps below. Fixing the ear speaker consists of carrying out steps that’ll help you hear the audio clearer rather than steps to dismantle the iPhone and replace any parts.

If you have a warranty, it’ll automatically be void if you attempt to fix your iPhone yourself so the best thing that you can do for now is to try and fix it using some troubleshooting steps that Apple is fine with.

1. Remove the Plastic Cover that’s Over the Ear Speaker

When you purchase the new iPhone, there is a small plastic cover sitting on the grill which may block the caller’s voice during a call so, make sure to remove it. It’s very basic advice but you’ll be surprised how by how many people don’t notice this plastic cover.

This cover is there to protect the ear speaker from dirt and debris that could damage it but it can actually block sound that’s coming out of your ear speaker so it’s best to take it off.

2. Change Call Audio Routing to Speaker

The call audio routing has two ways of working. If you have a Bluetooth headset, you can assign the call audio routing to the Bluetooth headset. If you want to use the speaker of your iPhone to receive calls, you can assign the audio to your speaker.

Of course, the second option is what you want to do. Here’s how you assign call audio to the Speaker:

  1. Go to Settings app
  2. Tap General, then go to Accessibility
  3. Scroll down to find ‘Call Audio Routing’ and tap it
  4. Select ‘Speaker’

Your call audio is now assigned to your speaker meaning that you will receive calls to you ear speaker only.

This tip will only be helpful to you if you couldn’t hear anything at all.

3. Make Sure The Volume Is All The Way Up

One thing that might be obvious but some may fail to notice is that their volume is always turned down whenever they’re on a call. If your volume is turned down, then it’s going to seem as if there’s a problem with your ear speakers when there isn’t.

Making sure that your volume is turned all the way up whenever you’re speaking to someone on the phone will ensure that you can hear them at all times. This can be done by clicking the volume up button on the left of your iPhone.

Make sure the slider shows that the volume is all the way up so that you know for sure that the speaker is emitting as much sound as it possibly can.

4. Make Sure That There’s No Music Playing

Sometimes people like to have music playing on their iPhones whilst they’re on a call. If you have music playing, whether that’s on Spotify or Apple Music, then it’s going to seem as if there isn’t much sound coming out of your ear speaker when you’re on call.

Simply pause any music that’s playing in the background and check if the sound coming out of your speaker sounds any better. If not, then it looks like the music was having no effect on the ear speaker so you’ll need to try another troubleshooting step.

5. Check Audio Balance

In forums etc, people have reported that the fact that having an imbalance in the left or right channel was the reason their ear speaker wasn’t working properly during calls.

It’s important that you go into select and make sure that the audio is balanced between the right and left channels. Once you’ve done this, you should make a call to someone to see if this was affecting the ear speaker.

To adjust the audio volume balance between left and right channels:
  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual.
  2. Adjust the Balance slider.

6. How to Clean iPhone Ear Speaker

The very first thing that you need to do is to switch your iPhone off. You also need to disconnect all the cables that have been plugged into your phone.

Here are the next steps:

  1. Grab a dry q-tip
  2. Get a little rubbing alcohol and hold your phone face down. This is because the alcohol can easily get into the speaker if the phone was faced up.
  3. Put a little alcohol on the q-tip
  4. Start rubbing the q-tip across the earpiece lightly
  5. Do this four to five times

You can also place your mouth over the earpiece then suck and blow to remove the lint and dirt particles clogged inside the speaker grill.

Well, why alcohol?

Rubbing alcohol evaporates so it won’t get stuck in your ear speaker. This will prevent it from getting damaged. Once you’re done cleaning the ear speaker 4-5 times, switch your iPhone on and call one of you’re a friend or a family member and make sure the volume is on full volume.

You should see that the ear speaker volume is back to normal and you should hear the caller nice and loud. You shouldn’t see a low volume during a call anymore.

7. Check the Headphone Jack to Know Audio isn’t Routed to Headphones

If there’s something stuck in the headphone jack or port, your iPhone will think that headphones are plugged in. If there’s something stuck in there, you can use compressed air to get it out.

Here’s how to check if this is a headphone problem:

  1. Unplug any headphones if you have any plugged in
  2. Try to adjust the volume

There are two types volumes you are going to see on the screen. You can see ‘Volume’ or ‘Headphones’. If you see the ‘Headphones’, something is stuck in the headphone jack or the lightning port.

If you see ‘Volume’ when you alter the volume with the keys, this will confirm that it’s not a headphone jack issue.

8. Turn Off Bluetooth

To make sure that your iPhone isn’t connected to a Bluetooth device that’s causing the audio to come out of there, you need to make sure that you turn off the Bluetooth on your iPhone.

When you do this, it forces all of the audio to come out the native speakers meaning that if you weren’t able to hear anything from your iPhone ear speaker at all, then you’ll be able to hear it now since the audio is being forced to come out of there.

Sometimes you might not even realize that your iPhone is connected to an external speaker until you turn off Bluetooth. To turn off Bluetooth, you need to pull up the control center and click on the Bluetooth icon.

9. Check the Audio Output Settings

Your iPhone might be connected to an external speaker via AirPlay without you knowing. Even if Bluetooth is turned off, having AirPlay on can still allow your iPhone to be connected to an external speaker.

In this situation, you need to switch the audio output settings back to your iPhone’s built in speakers and away from the AirPlay speaker.

To do THIS, open Control Center, then select the AirPlay icon in the upper-right corner of the music playback control. Select iPhone if it is not already selected.

10. Turn Off Noise Cancellation to Prevent Ear Speaker Volume Problems

Noise cancellation was introduced in iOS 7 and its aim is to remove background external noises when you’re in a phone call. However, for some users, it can sound strange and it can make your phone calls sound weird, or even worse.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Settings from your home screen
  2. Tap General, then go to Accessibility
  3. Scroll all the way down to the Hearing section
  4. Turn off ‘Noise Cancellation’

This works for many people and it might work for you as well. In order to check if it’s working, go and call someone in your contact list and check if the volume from the ear speaker is working properly. If this didn’t work, go back to the same settings and make sure ‘Hearing Aid Compatibility’ option is on.

After you’ve turned this on, go to your contact list and check if the ear speaker volume is louder. check the ear speaker volume. So, this brings me to the end of the article.

If you can get your iPhones ear speaker issues resolved, let me know in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to the email list where you can ask me tech related questions personally.

11. Blow Compressed Air in the Ear Speaker

Since there might be some debris in your ear speaker that’s clogging it up and causing the sound to be muffled, blowing compressed into it will force it out.

To remove the dirt in the ear speaker:

  1. Open some compressed air
  2. Blow it at the grill on the top a few times
  3. Most of the dirt should be gone so people should hear you

12. Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone will refresh the software it’s running on. If there’s a bug or glitch that’s causing problems with the ear speaker, then restarting your iPhone may get rid of it which could fix the problem you’re experiencing.

13. Force Restart

If you’re still not able to get the ear speaker to work, then you have the option to force restart your iPhone. When you force restart your iPhone, rather than the software being shutdown (like it does when you restart your iPhone,) the hardware gets shutdown. All it does is cut the power of your device and restart it again. Doing this could get rid of bugs and glitches that could be causing issues with the ear speaker.

For iPhone 8 or Later:

Quickly press-release the volume up button, then press-release the volume down button in quick succession. Once done, press-hold the sleep/wake button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 7 & 7 Plus:

Press-hold the sleep/wake button in tandem with the volume down button for at least 7-10 seconds. Do not release them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 6 Plus & Previous Models:

Press-hold the home and side/top button (as per the model) for 10 seconds. Do not release them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

14. Update Your Software

Apple iPhone is continually being improved and enhanced. The hardware is undoubtedly new on the latest iPhone models, but so are new features on the latest iOS versions as a result. When it comes to glitches or problems, it is always a good idea to upgrade your software to the most recent version available on the market. This has been known to fix the ear speaker.

15. Contact Apple Support

If you have tried all the steps and the ear speaker still isn’t working, then it looks like there’s a deeper issue that can’t be resolved with troubleshooting steps. In this case, you’ll need to contact Apple support to get this fixed. Problems with the ear speaker are most likely to happen after having your iPhone for many years.

If your iPhone has a warranty or is with Apple care, then you should be able to get this problem fixed for free. If not, you’ll need to go to Apple Support and look at ways of getting the ear speaker fixed.

16. Reset All Settings

The next thing that I’ll recommend you do is to reset all settings. Within your settings are your call settings. If there’s an issue in these settings that are stopping you from hearing properly through the ear speaker, wiping this may fix it.

To wipe all settings:

  1. From the home screen, tap Settings
  2. Scroll down to, then tap General
  3. Scroll down to, then tap Reset
  4. Tap Reset All Settings
  5. Tap Reset All Settings to confirm
  6. After doing this, call someone and check if you can hear them properly.

17. Repair the Ear Speaker

The last option is to get your iPhone repaired because your ear speaker could be permanently damaged and the only way to fix it properly is to get it repaired. Going to the Apple store is the best option for this but, you’ll need to go to the store and schedule an appointment.

After you’ve scheduled it, they will give you a date to come in which could take a few weeks.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


  1. I woke up this morning and I found out that my iPhone ear speaker is not working, so I have to make use off the loud speaker to receive calls. I came across this your article and it helped me now I can make calls with the ear speaker. I’m so happy that I don’t have to go to the repairers just because of this your article.

  2. Grt. It worked. Headphone was displayed and not volume.perhaps Something was stuck in lightning port perhaps. This problem started after charging. When again put to charging it got solved.

  3. I found the issue with mine. My phone thought there was headphones plugged in. I clicked the volume button while at the home screen and the volume for “headphones” came up instead of ringer volume, i did not have any headphones plugged in. So i plug any headphone jack into it, make a random phone call hear it ring, unplug jack, and boom, ear speaker back on. Kind of stupid but it did the trick. Kind of ridiculous that my iphone thinks theres headphones plugged in ?‍♂️

  4. My ear speaker wouldn’t work and I would have to take calls on speaker. Turning off noise canceling worked… why did it work? Is this simply a functional error or is there some sort of hardware issue? I want to have noise cancelation and private conversation at the same time.

  5. I tried plugging in and unplugging an external speaker to my iPhone 5 while playing an audio clip within the Voice Memos app, and also toggling the “speakerphone” icon the app has in the top right corner. I could hear audio from the iPhone speakerphone when selected. I could hear audio from the external speaker when it was plugged in and speakerphone was not selected. But disconnecting the external speaker and turning speakerphone off, I could hear nothing. Adjusting the volume correctly displayed “Volume” as the volume label but no sound out of the iPhone earpiece.

    While playing (but hearing nothing) in earpiece mode, I tapped on the “send to” icon on the left (the box with the up arrow coming out of the top of it, which allows you to use AirDrop or send the audio to Message, Mail, or other app, etc). As soon as I did that the iPhone earpiece started working and I can now hear audio normally from it again.

    Sharing in case this also helps someone. Thank you for all the tips.

  6. Ear speaker was so low that making calls was annoying cos I had to press the phone to my ear to hear well for months. Thankfully! I chanced upon your article and it took me some seconds to fix it with the rubbing alcohol. I actually thought I had to send it for repairs so I was worried. Thank you

  7. Thanks a so much for the inputs! Phew!!
    Ear speaker volume suddenly went low. I had changed the back cover. Stumbled upon your article and did the first thing mentioned – CLEAR the earpiece, so I used a wet tissue and the problem was resolved!!
    The mobile phone is nowadays an integral part of the human body, sending the phone to a repair center is like getting oneself admitted in a hospital!!
    Thanks once again.


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