When listening to audio through wireless headphones, you may on occasions find that the volume level drops significantly when the device goes to sleep



When listening to audio on a wireless device such as AirPods, you may find that on occasions the volume level of audio playback will drop when your device goes to sleep.

When this occurs, the volume level indicator on your device does not change, just the level of audio playback itself.

Note that this is specifically the volume of the audio that you are playing, not the volume level of VoiceOver.

This behaviour does not appear to be related to a specific app or type of audio. It has been experienced whilst listening to podcasts in different podcast apps, whilst playing books in Voice Dream Reader, and when listening to streaming radio in apps such as Broadcast and TuneIn.

This behaviour does also not appear to be specific to certain headphones - it's been consistently experienced on 1st and 2nd Generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AfterShokz headphones.

The behaviour has not, however, been experienced when listening to audio through the device's speaker.

On occasions the volume level will spontaneously adjust back to the correct volume level - some times after a couple of minutes, and at other times much longer, such as 30 minutes after the device went to sleep.

What will immediately correct the volume level, is turning VoiceOver off. This would appear to strongly indicate that this is a VoiceOver-related issue.

Whether VoiceOver's Audio Ducking feature is enabled or not does not make a difference (not that it should cause this behaviour, but it does suggest that this feature is not some how involved).

Steps to reproduce

This appears to be one of those issues where there is no obvious pattern to when it will present itself. It is also not experienced by everybody. Typically, if you are one of the unlucky ones, it may present itself 25-50% of the times that you listen to audio on wireless headphones.

  1. Ensure that VoiceOver is enabled.
  2. Connect to wireless headphones such as AirPods.
  3. Begin listening to audio - such as a radio stream in TuneIn.
  4. Press the side button on your device so as to put it to sleep.

If this behaviour is going to present itself, you should find that the audio volume level drops significantly compared to what it was before the device went to sleep.

If this has happened, you should find that the volume will return to its expected level if you triple click the side button to turn VoiceOver off (assuming that this is the setting of the Accessibility Shortcut).

Bug First Encountered

iOS/iPadOS 14.0

Device(s) bug has been encountered on


How often the bug occurs


Apple feedback #




Fixed In

iOS 16.0



By Will on Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 03:17

This still happening on the betas of ios 15 so reported it as well. Drives me insane. It doesn't seem happen with the wired earpods.

By Roxann Pollard on Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 03:17

In absolute frustration with this volume thing, because it greatly affects a particular war game I'm heavily involved with, I went searching on the web today. Below is a post from a discussion from www.apple.com, which I thought might be helpful. I will paste the link below but not sure that it will be a live link.

"Try this.

Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Reduce Loud Sounds - If Allow is checked, change it to Don't Allow.

Then go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety and make the adjustment there which was missing"

I have implemented these changes. So far, my volume seems to be cooperating as expected, before Apple added the headphone safety mechanism. I am uncertain as to whether or not the volume changing unexpectedly has been completely solved, but for me, at least so far, all seems normal again.



By Bob Cavanaugh on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 03:17

Is anyone still having this issue with iOS15? This used to be an issue for me with my wired earbuds on iOS14, but I have not encountered it since the 15 update.

By Squirrel on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 03:17

I typically experience this several times daily using AfterShokz headphones.

By PaulMartz on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 03:17

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

This issue is much more complex than the description above.

I also see volume issues with Aftershockz, but haven't been able to find consistent steps for reproduction. Sometimes the volume is way to low, other times it has inexplicably risen to a deafening level. Sometimes VoiceOver is loud and someone I'm speaking with in a phone call is quiet. Sometimes vice versa. If I'm interacting with VoiceOver while my Aftershockz are connected, and I get an incoming phone call and answer it, often the Aftershockz disconnect and I must use the phone in handset mode. After hanging up, the Aftershockz reconnect and I hear VoiceOver through them again as usual.

I've pretty much come to expect inconsistent volume on my iPhone, as these problems have persisted for several releases of iOS.

By Squirrel on Saturday, April 16, 2022 - 03:17

As mentioned above, I had experienced this routinely with my AfterShokz headphones. I recently bought the new Sony LinkBuds, and was extremely frustrated to find that the behavior presented itself the very first time that I used them. A few weeks later, and the news is that the behavior is just as common as it was with the AfterShokz. Sort it out Apple!