Keep all songs at the same volume on your iPhone with sound check

Sound Check is one of those features that most iPhone and iPod users don’t know about, but almost certainly should be using. With the function activated, you will not only get a better music experience, but also protect your hearing.

Songs are recorded at different volumes and with different technologies (this is especially true of older recordings, which are often quieter than modern ones). Because of this, the default volume at which songs are played on your iPhone or iPod may be different. This can be annoying, especially if you just turned up the volume to listen to a quiet song and the next one is so loud that it hurts your ears. The sound test can make all songs play at roughly the same volume. Even better, it’s built into all recent iPhones and iPods. This is how it is used.

How the sound check works

Soundcheck sounds great, but how does it work? Despite what the concept of the feature might make you think, according to Apple Sound Check it doesn’t actually edit your music files to change their volume.

Instead, Sound Test scans all of your music to understand basic volume information. Each song has an ID3 tag (a type of tag that contains metadata or information about the song) that can control its volume level. The sound test applies what it learns about the average volume levels of your music and adjusts the ID3 tag of each song that needs to be changed to create a more or less uniform volume for all songs. The ID3 tag is changed to adjust the playback volume, but the music file itself is never changed. As a result, you can always return to the original volume of the song by turning off the Sound Check function.

Learn more about what ID3 tags are and what they’re used for in How to change the artist name, genre, and other song information in iTunes.

Turn on sound check on iPhone and other iOS devices

To turn on sound check on your iPhone (or any other iOS device, like iPod touch or iPad), follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Settings app to open it.
  2. Tap Music .
  3. Scroll down to the Playback section .
  4. Move the Sound Check slider to on/green.

These steps are based on iOS 10 and up, but the options are similar to previous versions. Just look for the music app settings and sound test should be easy to find.

How to Activate Sound Check on iPod Classic/Nano

For devices that don’t run iOS, such as the original line of iPod/iPod Classic or iPod nanos, the instructions are slightly different. These steps assume you’re using an iPod with a click wheel. If your iPod has a touch screen, like some later iPod nano models, adapting these instructions should be fairly intuitive.

  1. Use the click wheel to navigate to the Settings menu .
  2. Click the middle button to select Settings .
  3. Scroll halfway through the Settings menu until you find Sound Check . Highlight it.
  4. Click the middle button on the iPod and Sound Check should now read On .

How to use sound check in iTunes and iPod Shuffle

Sound check is not limited to mobile devices. It also works with iTunes. And if you noticed that the last tutorial didn’t include the iPod Shuffle, don’t worry. Use iTunes to enable the shuffle sound check feature.

Learn how to use Sound Check with iTunes and iPod Shuffle on this page.

How to turn on sound check on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV 4th generation

Apple TV can be the center of a home stereo system thanks to its support for playback from iCloud Music Library or Apple Music Collection. Just like the other devices in this one, the Apple TV 4K and 4th generation. Apple TV also supports the Sound Check feature to equalize the volume of your music. To turn on sound test on those Apple TV models, follow these steps:

  1. Select Settings .
  2. Select Applications .
  3. Select Music .
  4. Highlight the Sound Check menu and click on the remote control to activate the menu to On .