Apple Headphones Volume Control Gripe

Our one BIG complaint about the Apple Headphones Volume Control as it functions on the various generations of the  iPod Touch, is that the UP and DOWN increments that the volume control keys generate when pressed are too big. In version 5.1 of the Apple firmware (the latest version supported on our Touch from 2010), you only get 16 steps to go from no volume to full volume. This means that for sensitive ears, we often can’t find a pleasing setting; position 6 is too soft while position 7 for example, is too loud. The push-button volume control steps are thus, too coarse.  You can zero in after a fashion, to the right loudness level by tweaking the built-in equalizer settings.  But to extend battery life per charge, we’d rather keep the equalizer off.  Or, you can use the on-screen graphical control for finer volume adjustments.

On-screen slider is more granular.  Now the on-screen volume slider has greater granularity (smaller steps). So when I adjust the loudness with that, I can always find “the right” level. But that’s a pain as well, because if you have the screen set to lock (turn off) after some minutes, then to adjust the volume using that touch volume control, you must first UNlock the screen. This requires an extra touch as well as a slide just to get to the volume control to show up again onscreen.

One final workaround, is to find a set of headphones that play a bit more softly or loudly for a given volume setting; earbuds that either slightly raise or lower by a small amount, all of the volume output levels.  Then, if you found a close-to-correct setting with the old phones, the new phones may either trim or add to the volume just enough, to make that setting just right for you. However, we don’t recommend buying a different set of buds just to get the output volume right.

The best solution would depend on Apple changing their iOS firmware a little: I wish they’d rework the volume control interface to allow for higher resolution control of the volume.


Revision History

  • 2015-12-08: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2014-12-29: Revised and extended content.
  • 2012-08-22: Originally published.