‘What is Sound Check on an iPhone?’: How to protect your ears from downloaded songs with higher volume

The iPhone's Sound Check feature could save your hearing.

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The iPhone’s Sound Check feature could save your hearing.
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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

When streaming music on your phone, an abrupt ad-break can be a real vibes killer. A better solution might be to craft a playlist using music downloaded to your iPhone.

However, doing so leaves yourself open to another cringe-worthy glitch – when you’ve turned up the volume a quiet song, only to get your ears blown off by songs that are way louder.

Fortunately, the iPhone offers a solution in the form of its “Sound Check” feature, which plays all the music on your phone at the same volume, no matter how loud the sound file itself is.

Note, though, that this only works with music that’s downloaded onto your iPhone or streamed with Apple Music – music from Spotify or Pandora, for instance, won’t be affected by Sound Check.

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How Sound Check works on your iPhone

Sound Check doesn’t go in and modify your music files on a molecular level, so to speak. All your music is still the same.

Instead, the iPhone scans the song to see how loud it is, and stores that information in what is called its “ID3 tag.”

When Sound Check is on, your phone automatically reads and adjusts the playback volume based on how loud the ID3 tag says the song normally is. Conversely, when Sound Check is off, the ID3 data is ignored, and no volume adjustments are made.

Enabling the Sound Check feature is simple. With three steps, you can ensure that your iPhone’s music consistently hits your ears at a consistent decibel range, regardless of what song you’re listening to.

How to enable Sound Check on your iPhone

1. Open your iPhone’s Settings app.

2. Tap “Music.” You can also use the search bar at the top to find the page quicker.

Sound check is a smart move for frequent headphone users, as a way to protect their hearing.

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Sound check is a smart move for frequent headphone users, as a way to protect their hearing.
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Emma Witman/Business Insider

3. In the “Playback” section, tap the switch next to “Sound Check” to turn it on.

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