IOS 14 has a function that ensures that iPhones suddenly reduce the volume of connected audio devices. This can be quite annoying because it happens even if the hardware is speakers, vehicle entertainment systems or Bluetooth headphones that are equipped with their own volume control. So far, the function could not be switched off.
Manual labeling instead of all devices being lumped together
With iOS 14.4, the hearing protection feature has now been improved. In the future, devices can be manually assigned a suitable category in the Bluetooth settings of the operating system so that they no longer fall under Apple’s “headphone safety”, which can significantly reduce the volume for hearing protection if the user has heard “too loud” for a longer period of time.
The improvement is relatively straightforward to implement. There are a total of five categories of Bluetooth devices that can be assigned. These are vehicle entertainment, headphones, hearing aids, loudspeakers and “other”. You can find it by clicking the “i” in the Bluetooth settings. There is then the new entry “Device type”.
AirPods are preselected and immutable
Anyone who hoped to get used to the hearing protection function on Apple devices – after all, it cannot actually be turned off – will be disappointed. Apple automatically labels AirPods as “headphones” that are subject to the restriction. The name cannot be changed either, it remains “headphones”. The new function can also be found in iPadOS 14.4, where it works like on the iPhone via the Bluetooth settings.
To prevent hearing damage, the iPhone and iPad reduce the headphone volume after reaching a so-called recommended 7-day limit without any action on the part of the user. Up to version iOS 14.3, this also included classic Bluetooth speakers and entertainment electronics in the car. These were interpreted by Apple as headphones and thus included in the measurement. Apple is currently not preventing the volume from being increased again after the protective function has been activated.