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You use your smartphone’s speakers all the time: to play to music, listen to your voicemail, make phone calls, and more. But what can you do if you think your iPhone speakers are not working?
Is there an iPhone speaker test you can use to check the problem? How can you fix your iPhone speakers? And how can you check they’re clean and not affected by water?
Under some circumstances, you’ll need to visit Apple directly if your iPhone speaker is not working. But before you do that, we have a few tips to fix your iPhone’s speakers.
The iPhone Speaker Test: How to Check If Your Speakers Are Working
How can you tell whether you have a problem with your speakers (i.e., most likely a hardware issue) or with the volume? Before we run through some fundamentals, narrow down where the problem is with this simple speaker test.
Connect your headphones by plugging them in or connecting via Bluetooth. If you can hear music through them but not when you disconnect them, there’s likely something wrong with your speakers.
There are two ways to check this. The first is by looking at the symbols shown on your volume bar. Disconnect any headphones, then navigate to Settings > Sounds & Haptics (or Sounds on iPhone 6s and earlier) and turn Change with Buttons on (if it isn’t already). This lets you use the buttons on the left side of your iPhone to adjust the ringer volume instead of just the media volume.
Use those buttons to increase your volume, and one of three symbols will appear. The ringer (which looks like a speaker and means nothing is connected), the Bluetooth symbol (meaning a device is still connected), or headphones. If you see the headphones, there may be something in your headphone jack. In this case, you’ll need to clean it, which we’ll come to.
Alternatively, start playing music in the Music app and tap the AirDrop symbol at the bottom-center of the interface. This will tell you where the music is playing.
Finally, under Ringer And Alerts (in Settings > Sounds & Haptics), move the slider up or down. You should hear your ringtone, even if your device is on silent. If you don’t hear anything, there’s definitely something wrong. You’ll probably need to visit your local Apple store.
If you can hear a sound, albeit distorted, you may be in luck…
iPhone Speaker Won’t Work? Basic Troubleshooting
There could be numerous reasons why your iPhone speaker isn’t working, so let’s start by checking through some basics.
Make sure your iPhone isn’t on Silent—that’s the switch to the top-left of your device. If it’s positioned towards the back of the device (showing orange), move it so it’s nearer to the screen.
Ensure iOS is up-to-date by going to Settings > General > Software Update. This rules out any temporary glitches in the OS.
After these checks, there’s one more important strategy to fix your iPhone speaker: a force-restart. Rebooting your phone in this way can clear up small software mishaps. On the iPhone 8 or newer, quickly press Volume Up followed by Volume Down. Then press and hold down Power until the Apple logo appears.
For the iPhone 7, hold the Volume down and Power buttons until you see the Apple logo. If you have an iPhone 6s or older, hold the Home and Power buttons until you see the logo.
Give your phone time to reboot, then use the slider under Ringer and Alerts again to see if this has sorted the issue.
How to Check for iPhone Bluetooth Devices
Perhaps your speakers are fine, but the sound is going through another device. If you have Bluetooth enabled, your iPhone might send everything to a hands-free unit in your vehicle, through AirPods, or similar.
Go to Settings > Bluetooth to see a list of connections. Disable any Bluetooth headphones, speakers, or other devices that you don’t want to play through.
You can also turn Bluetooth off altogether by toggling the button at the top. However, this will cut off other connections, such as smartwatches. Tap a connected device to disconnect it, or select the i on the relevant device and choose Forget This Device to prevent it from pairing in the future.
How to Turn On Speakerphone on Your iPhone
During a call, hold your device away from your face so the screen lights up. Tap the Speaker icon in the upper-right of the grid. This will let you participate in a conversation without holding your iPhone to your ear. If you’re connected to a separate speaker through Bluetooth, a popup menu will appear, allowing you to select where you want to hear the call audio.
If you want all calls to go through your speakers by default, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Call Audio Routing. You can then switch from the default Automatic to either Speaker or Bluetooth Headset. You can undo this at any time; when you want to take a private call, hit the Speaker icon in the grid to toggle it off.
How to Clean Your iPhone Speakers
Even the smallest bits of dirt can be detrimental to your smartphone. In some cases, dust can affect volume—or, if in the charging port, trick your iPhone into thinking it’s connected to an external device. It’s vital you keep all parts of your phone clean, but also that you take great care in dealing with the sensitive equipment.
While it can be effective, Apple’s cleaning instruction page advises against using an air compressor or canned air to clean your device. A soft lens cloth is generally the best for light cleaning. If you have stuck-on grime, try gently moving a soft-bristled toothbrush across the surface of the speakers. You can also run a cotton swab across any recesses.
Do not use any other liquids, including cleaning supplies, as this can cause more harm. Follow our full guide to cleaning your iPhone if it’s really dirty.
How to Get Water Out of Your iPhone Speakers
Liquid damage isn’t covered under Apple’s warranty, even with the water resistance of modern phones. This water resistance can weaken over time, meaning you may need to dry out your speakers if an accident occurs.
Don’t plug your iPhone in to charge if it’s wet. This can be a serious safety threat and could destroy your phone.
Instead, stand your phone at about a 45 degree angle with the speakers facing down. Use a lint-free cloth to catch any drips; any other absorbent material, including cotton balls, could further damage your device. If you think there’s still water in any recesses, gently tap your device with the charging port facing down. Consider placing it near a small fan to increase air circulation.
Despite what you might have heard, you shouldn’t seal your phone in a bag filled with rice. This can further corrode elements in your smartphone. However, you can try silica gel. You’ll often find packets of this in new pairs of shoes, because they soak up moisture. Be careful using these around children or animals as they are dangerous if consumed.
Follow our tips for fixing a water-damaged iPhone if you need more help.
How to Make Your iPhone Speakers Louder
What if there’s not an issue with your speakers at all, and you just want to make your iPhone louder?
An easy way is to place it on a more conductive surface. Wood or metal will carry vibrations further. Placing your device in a bowl may also help. Such a curve acts in the same way our ears do—by funneling noises in one distinct direction. By the same logic, don’t place your iPhone on anything that absorbs vibration, like paper.
If you find your iPhone’s speakers are insufficient, seek out an external speaker system. Have a look at the best cheap Bluetooth speakers for some great options.
What If Your iPhone Speakers Still Don’t Work?
If you’ve done everything we’ve advised above, and your speakers still don’t seem to work, we have bad news. There’s likely something wrong with your phone, meaning you’ll need to book an appointment at your nearest Apple store.
Otherwise, there are various ways to improve the volume of your iPhone or iPad, including software patches, hardware fixes, and additional apps.
Read the full article: iPhone Speaker Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It
Apple makes fantastic mobile products, but the flimsy iPhone charger cable deteriorates too quickly. Either you can fix a frayed Lightning cable or buy a new iPhone charger cable that won’t break easily at its connector point.
When you’re looking for the most durable iPhone charger cable, figure out where you will use it most often. That would determine the ideal length, how strong you need the cable to be, and so on.
Instead of buying another one from Apple, get one of these best and most durable Lightning cables to charge an iPhone or iPad.
1. Best iPhone Charger Cable That Won’t Break:
Anker Powerline+ III
The Anker Powerline+ III iPhone charger cable is the best choice for most people. The nylon braiding on the cable ensures it won’t fray at the connector point and that it will withstand the tugs and tangles of regular usage. Anker claims it can stand 35,000 bends and 175 pounds of tensile strength.
In fact, Anker is so confident that regular use won’t damage this cable that it’s offering an unprecedented hassle-free lifetime warranty. If you have any quality issues, Anker will replace the cable for free.
The cable uses a rust-proof Lightning connector that is stronger than previous models, and won’t scratch easily. It also coils up into smaller sizes, making it great for traveling.
We’ve highlighted the 6-foot model above, but it is also available in a 3-foot model. The Powerline+ III is a worthwhile investment, as it is one of the best iPhone charger cables that won’t break.
2. Best Budget iPhone Charger Cable:
The original Anker Powerline may be old, but it’s still one of the best iPhone charger cables worth your money. It is MFi-certified, designed to resist fraying, and charges all Apple devices at full speed.
Anker claims to use Kevlar cables that can withstand bending up to 5,000 times. Bending is the primary reason why cables and headphones keep breaking. The company has reinforced the stress point around the Lightning pin, which is where most cables fray.
All this is without sacrificing compactness. Some sturdy cables end up with a large casing around the Lightning pin connector, which makes it difficult to connect if your iPhone has a case. Anker’s PowerLine has no such issues and fits comfortably wherever the standard Apple Lightning cable can go.
3. Durable, Non-Tangling Lightning Cable:
Monoprice Flat Lightning To USB Cable
The Monoprice Flat Lightning To USB Cable is one of the best iPhone charger cables that won’t break. Why? It’s a flat cable, which has its own unique advantages.
Flat cables are excellent for those who carry theirs loosely in their backpacks or pockets. Such types of cables don’t tangle or twist easily, making them last longer than standard wired cables. They are also a little more resistant to stress at the connector point, so they don’t fray easily.
Flat cables are generally not available in longer lengths, and this Monoprice cable tops out at four feet. But there’s also a handy six-inch cable included, which is perfect to use with power banks.
4. Best Heavy-Duty iPhone Charger Cable:
Fuse Chicken Titan+
Did your puppy or cat chew through your charging cable? Houses with pets would do well to get the Fuse Chicken Titan+, one of the most durable iPhone charger cables that is decidedly pet-proof too.
The Titan+ cable is wrapped in two layers of flexible steel. The Lightning and USB connectors are sealed with a one-piece housing over the cable and electronics, then with another aluminum housing for added protection. In other words, if you manage to break or fray this cable, you need to have a good, hard look at what you are doing with your life.
There are a couple of issues with it, though. First, the connector is a little thick, so it might not fit all cases. Second, the steel makes it difficult to coil this into a tight, small circle. Be aware of those trade-offs before you buy it. The Titan+ also has only one length, available in a 5-foot model. But if you’re after the most heavy-duty iPhone charger cable, this is the one to get.
5. Fastest iPhone Charger Cable:
Belkin Boost USB-C To Lightning Cable
Apple’s new 18W USB-C charger adapter supports faster charging speeds for iPhone and iPads. But you need the best USB-C iPhone charger cable to go with it. Get the Belkin Boost USB-C To Lightning Cable for the fastest charging speeds on an iPhone.
The Belkin Boost iPhone charger cable delivers the same charging speeds as the original Apple cable, but feels more sturdy and looks better. The connector is a little thick, so it might have issues with some cases.
The faster charging speeds are on select devices, like the latest iPhones, iPad Pro, and MacBooks. In fact, you can charge some laptops and iPads much faster by using a 30W Apple USB-C adapter. Buy this cable only if you have one of the phones that supports faster speeds.
6. Split iPhone Charger Into Two Ports:
Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar
Apple removed the 3.5mm audio jack, so now there’s only one port on iPhones. This Lightning port is for both charging your phone and using wired headphones. If you want to do both simultaneously, get the Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar. This device is a splitter, letting you connect two cables into a single port.
It comes in two variants, so choose one based on what you want to do. The Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar has one headphone port and one Lightning port, so you can charge your device and use standard wired headphones. Meanwhile, the Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar has two Lightning ports.
Honestly, I’d say you should ditch both. The new wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone are great. You’re better off buying those and not bothering with a clunky adapter.
7. Best iPhone Wall Charger Adapter:
Anker PowerPort PD 2
Apple bundles a slower 5W power adapter in the box with an iPhone. But the iPhone can be charged faster with a better wall charger. Forget what Apple gave you and buy the Anker PowerPort PD 2; it is the best iPhone wall charger available today.
The charger has a regular USB-A port and a second USB-C port. So, you can couple this device with the Belkin Boost USB-C to Lightning Charger Cable for faster charging speeds of up to 18W. And you can charge a second device, like your AirPods, alongside, too.
The Best iPhone Charger Cable for Your Phone
As this list shows, new cables obviously cater to certain users or add features that are missing. But a cable is a cable, and some reliable choices like the Anker Powerline range are still excellent bang for your buck. But honestly, we would love it more if Apple stopped playing this game with its consumers.
The universal USB-C standard does everything the Lightning port can, and there is a wider variety of cables available for it at lower prices. So, the company should take note of the reasons why Apple should ditch Lightning Cables and make the switch to USB-C, instead.
Read the full article: The 7 Best Lightning Cables to Charge Your iPhone or iPad
In an effort to provide a comprehensive overview of online consumption habits in the UK, for the past several years the Intellectual Property Office has published its Online Copyright Infringement Tracker.
The latest wave of research, dated March 2019, covers both legal and illegal online consumption in several key areas including music, film, TV, video games, software and a new category this year, live sports.
At 158-pages long, the report is certainly comprehensive but it does come with an important note. In common with similar consumer surveys, there are concerns that respondents may not tell the whole truth when asked about their illegal activities. With this in mind, instead of asking people whether their sources were illegal, respondents were given a list of options with the categorization being done behind the scenes.
Importantly, one of the options was “Download/access for free from the internet, without really being sure where it comes from”. This category was completely excluded from illegal/legal calculations and consumers who only utilized these sources were omitted from the results. This means that caution should be applied when comparing this wave’s results to the previous year’s.
The published infringement figures are based on the number of people who used at least one illegal source during the previous three months. The headline figure is that 25% of the online content consuming population did so, a figure that has remained static for the past three years. However, there have been some considerable shifts when individual categories of content are considered.
In the area of films, for example, there was an 8% increase in the proportion who used an illegal source, up to 27% of online consumers. Music, on the other hand, remained largely stable at 20% (19% in 2018). Both TV and video game piracy are on downward trends, with the former dropping from 23% to 17% and the latter from 16% to 6% over a single year.
However, the addition of a new category (live sports) and the broadening of the e-publishing category to include content beyond just eBooks, reveals large volumes of infringers. From not being counted in 2018, 34% of online consumers said they pirated live sports at least once in the previous three months, with the e-publishing numbers jumping from 13% to 35%, making it the most-infringed category overall.
While the headline infringement figure has remained static and some categories show significant shifts, the report notes there are encouraging signs in respect of consumers who can be considered hardcore pirates, i.e those who do not consume from legitimate sources at all.
“Across most categories, it is encouraging to note that between 2018 and 2019 there was a decrease in the proportion who only used illegal sources. Where overall infringement levels remained the same, this proportion seemed to migrate towards using at least some legal sources,” the report notes.
Films, for example, where the 8% increase in some infringement may be considered a setback by the movie industry, the number of hardcore pirates plummeted from 11% down to just 2%. The actual growth in infringement was to be found among people who use a mix of legal and illegal sources, up from 7% in 2018 to 17% in 2019. Similarly, hardcore music pirates fell from 11% to just 2%, TV pirates from 14% to 2%, and video game pirates from 10% to 1%.
When the entire UK population is considered, the report estimates the following numbers of infringers: 5.7m for film, 5.1m for music, 4.4m for TV, 4.1m for e-publishing, 2.4m for live sports, 2m for software and 600,000 for video games.
Men were more likely to pirate music, films, TV shows and video games, but women come out on top when it came to live sports, software and e-publishing.
Interestingly, the report also touches on VPN usage, noting that “across all categories, respondents who had used VPNs were more likely to have infringed compared to those who had not. This difference was most pronounced in film (+13%), TV (+11%), software (+11%) and music (+8%).”
Somewhat inevitably the report also drills down into what would happen if pirate sources dried up. Would people start to pay out money (or indeed more money for dual-use consumers) or would free legal options prove more attractive?
In respect of video games, already one of the lowest-pirated mediums, 68% of people who admitted to piracy in the previous three months said they would turn to paid sources. When it came to films and TV, 57% and 46% respectively indicated they would hand over cash to a service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, while 32% and 44% would seek out free services such as YouTube or BBC iPlayer.
Just over a third of music pirates (34%) said they would migrate to a paid service if pirate sources ceased to exist, with Spotify and Apple Music coming out on top. However, 61% said they would prefer not to pay, instead searching out free music on sites such as YouTube.
When considering live sports, companies such as the Premier League and Sky will be interested to learn that almost half of infringers (49%) said they would shift to a premium service if pirate options were limited, with 31% still determined to track down free legal sources.
Finally, the report highlights three broad drivers that lead people to access all types of content illegally, even when they may already be paying for content.
“The abundance of free and widely accessible illegal content means that even those concerned about infringing may occasionally resort to using unofficial sources if they want the content badly enough. A few mentioned the near obsessive mindframe of not finding something on legal channels but knowing it is ‘out there somewhere’ and hunting it down,” the report notes.
“Another factor is the cost of accessing content and a desire to limit spending. Given the amount of content that is increasingly available, consumers are worried about overspending. As such, the opportunity to turn to free, illegal methods is valued. It enables them to access the content they want without exceeding their budget.”
Since finding and accessing illegal content is considered simple, quick and easy to carry out, consumers may actually save time and effort when compared to obtaining material from official sources, the research suggests. Not having to sign up or search through multiple legal platforms for desired content may actually be a time-saver, so improvements can probably be made here.
The latest Online Copyright Infringment Tracker can be downloaded here (pdf)
If you’re in the market for a new TV, you’re probably thinking about getting a 4K or Ultra HD model. Is there a difference, and what exactly should you be looking for when you buy? Here’s what you need to know before diving in.
What Do the “Ultra HD” and “4K” Labels Mean?
Let’s start by defining “HD.” High Definition Television (HDTV) is the standard that’s been in use for over a decade, and you’ll find it difficult to buy a TV that isn’t at least “HD Ready,” which means capable of displaying at a resolution of 1280×720 (720p).
Most modern TVs are at least “Full HD,” which means capable of displaying at a resolution of 1920×1080 (1080p).
The “p” stands for “progressive,” meaning that the entire image is drawn each frame. The alternative is “i” for “interlaced” (as in 1080i, another HDTV standard), meaning odd and even lines are displayed in alternate frames. This results in a lower quality picture.
Along those lines, the term 4K refers to any display format with a horizontal resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels. This is slightly confusing as TV resolutions, at least up until this point, have generally been referred to by the number of vertical pixels. TVs with this many pixels are “Ultra HD,” or UHD for short.
This switch isn’t entirely arbitrary. Unlike TVs, digital movie theater standards have traditionally emphasized horizontal resolution. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) standard is the most common for digital production and mandates a resolution of 4096×2160.
4K vs. UHD vs. 2160p
UHD-1 is the closest TV display standard to the DCI standard and refers to a resolution of 3840×2160. This resolution is four times the pixel count of Full HD. Most modern TV displays are UHD-1 as the wider aspect ratio of DCI 4K is not suitable for most TV content. However, they are both almost universally referred to as 4K.
UHD-1 is often referred to as 4K UHD or just 4K. Some people occasionally refer to UHD-1 as 2160p. When you see any of these terms, they typically mean the same thing. When it comes to TVs, there is no difference between 4K and UHD.
Note: There is also Full Ultra HD, sometimes called 8K, which refers to a resolution of 7620×4320. This is quadruple the pixels of 4K and sixteen times larger than Full HD. But 8K is still in a relatively infantile stage. For the most part, when you see the Ultra HD label on a Blu-Ray movie or elsewhere, you can take it to be referring to 4K.
Can You Notice the Difference Between HD and UHD?
While the content situation has improved, most people probably won’t notice the higher resolution even when watching native 4K content.
If you’re sitting less than six feet away from a 55-inch TV and you have perfect vision, you might notice a difference. At greater distances, smaller screen sizes, or less clear eyesight, you probably won’t. In most circumstances, the difference is marginal and may not be worth the cost of upgrading.
Yet there may be other valid reasons to make the upgrade. The higher resolution may not benefit you much, but there are other features of UHD TVs that may persuade you. Not all UHD TVs have them, however, so it’s important to tread carefully.
Ultra HD Premium
The new Ultra HD Premium standard specifies increased color depth (over a billion colors) and a higher dynamic range so the quality of the picture should be noticeable compared to prior standards.
The Ultra HD Premium logo is a guarantee that the device meets the standards and is able to display UHD content as it’s meant to be seen. Manufacturers like LG, Panasonic, and Samsung have embraced the Ultra HD Premium standard. So have content providers like Netflix, Warner Bros, and 20th Century Fox.
Sony doesn’t use the logo even though it was part of the UHD Alliance that developed it, but many of its TVs meet or exceed the required specifications.
Do You Need a 4K or Ultra HD TV?
4K content can stream to a 1080p TV. Ultra HD Blu-Ray disks play on older televisions. The latest generation of video game consoles will work as well. If you already have a TV, you can continue to use that TV and still view whatever you want.
Ask yourself if 1080p looks insufficient. If you think HD content still looks beautiful, you may do well to save your money. Most content is still made with 1080p displays in mind. And you won’t be doing yourself any favors buying a 4K TV if you primarily watch DVDs, which max out at 480p.
But there are reasons to want an UHD TV. If you have a home theater room where you’re seated further back from the screen, or you’re in the market for a new TV regardless, it makes sense to go for 4K. If you enjoy playing games at their maximum resolution, that will soon mean getting a 4K TV.
A Few Other Points to Consider
If you do take the plunge and treat yourself to a new UHD TV, you may need to make some other upgrades to get the most out of it. Your existing devices, cables, and services will all still work but they may not allow you to view UHD-quality pictures.
While HD content that’s been upscaled to UHD will look fine, the visual quality is not on part with content natively produced in UHD.
That means to experience 4K you will have to do more than get a new TV. Here are other changes you may need to make:
- You will need fast reliable broadband. 4K content requires more bandwidth than HD.
- You may need to change your cable or satellite subscription plan to get access to UHD content. It will probably cost more.
- Your old Blu-Ray player will also need replacing. UHD Blu-Ray players will upscale existing 1080p Blu-Rays as well as play the higher resolution (and more expensive) UHD discs.
- You may want a new HDMI cable. While HDMI 1.4 is capable of displaying UHD resolutions, HDMI 2.0 is needed to display them at 60 frames per second.
Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ all have growing catalogs of UHD content. To take advantage of this, you’ll need a streaming device that can handle UHD (unless your TV comes with these services built-in).
Here is our head-to-head comparison of four of the best 4K streaming devices on the market.
Read the full article: What’s the Difference Between 4K and Ultra HD (UHD)?