AirPod Android Music Volume Issue

I use Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones when I’m on my desktop and laptop but I prefer the Apple AirPods when I am on my phone. They are small, light, and fit well in my ear.

But I’ve had this nagging issue with the volume on my AirPods when I stream music on my phone (SoundCloud, AppleMusic, YouTube, etc).

The volume from all of those apps is super low when you use AirPods on Android.

I wasn’t walking much in LA, mostly driving with my phone bluetooth’d to my car, and this issue didn’t affect me much.

But since I’ve been back in NYC and walking a lot again, it came back with a vengeance.

So I finally figured out how to fix it, by simply googling and finding this Reddit post.

Here is how you fix it:

1/ Go to the settings app on your Android phone, scroll down to System, scroll down to the bottom and click on “Build Number” seven times. That makes you a developer on Android, always a good thing in my book.

2/ Now when you click on the Settings app, and select System, you will see “Developer Options”

3/ Scroll down to the Networking settings in the Developer Options and turn on “Disable Absolute Volume”

Now you can listen to music and video on your Android with your AirPods at whatever volume you want.

Problem fixed.

I love the Internet and geek stuff like this.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Mike Chan

    Tangential comment – I tried the AirPods and while the connectivity was great, their light weight is perfect, and the tiny charging case is super convenient, I couldn’t get over the fact that I could hear so much ambient noise.Fred, being in NYC, doesn’t that bother you?I couldn’t stand it so I bought the Jaybird Run instead. I can’t understand why Apple refuses to build in-canal earbuds.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t notice the ambient noise but my ears are 56 years old and can barely hear anything these days 🙂

      1. Mike Chan

        Ha! I can’t wait until that happens to me, then it doesn’t matter which earbuds I buy!

    2. kenberger

      I find in-canal earbuds DISGUSTING. Feel aurally violated, even with the $500 ones. Can’t wait to rip ’em out after 2 minutes.It’s one rare choice with which I agree with Apple.

      1. Mike Chan

        “Aurally violated” – I don’t know what that means, but it’s funny.

        1. kenberger

          i’m pretty proud of that one 😉

      2. PhilipSugar

        De gustibus non est disputandum. On matters of taste their can be no dispute. I LOVE in canal earbuds. I find Apple’s earbuds DISGUSTING.Give me the option of both. I don’t debate Fred doesn’t like Apple because of their tithe. Which of course is so ironic.BTW: Just like Amazon. We lost work for Whole Foods when Amazon bought because quote: “No data goes outside our four walls”Kind of ironic considering AWS.

    3. Alex Tucker

      One of the reasons I like them is they’re easy to hear other noise like someone trying to get your attention. Make them great for work or around the house. I have over the ears I’ll go to if tuning everything out is the goal.

  2. David Lee

    I had same issue so I switched back to iPhone. Also my podcast app was glitchySpeech to text on Android is still unbeatable

    1. fredwilson

      Never gonna do that. I hate the iPhone. Apple won’t let apps with tokens into the app store. Fuck them!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. OurielOhayon

        the app store is full of wallets with tokens…

        1. fredwilson

          apple allows apps like coinbase and circle and cipher and toshibut they won’t allow apps that let you do things with tokens in the store as it is threatening their 30% tax

          1. OurielOhayon

            yes. that rule existed even before crypto. Spotify got blocked for 2 months when instead of in app they were trying to route users to pay with CC. i don t think there is a short work around here

          2. fredwilson

            get an android

          3. OurielOhayon

            Fuck that. Never.

          4. Richard

            You are free to be your own lexicographer but giving a new meaning to a “tax” doesn’t he’ll your argument.Apple is worlds most successful example of USVs 2011 thesis of building a revenue model based on a a network of highly engaged networks.Uber pays its drivers <50 % of revenue to transport people from point A to B.Apple pays its developers 70% of revenue to facilitate transporting bits from point A to B.

          5. kidmercury

            that’s a good sign IMHO. when incumbents resist instead of co-opting, it could mean an epic shift is underway (since resisting trends rarely works over the long term anyway).

          6. David Semeria

            Well said Kiddo.

      1. ShanaC


        1. Twain Twain

          Yeah, it turns out that this cartoon hits the mark more than the MIT Technology Review article on how Word2Vec is “blatantly sexist.”* https://www.technologyrevie

      2. Adam Sher

        Usually when you order a cappuccino you get a latte anyway. In this case, you gotta fix the people before the language.

  3. iggyfanlo

    This is the 21st century version of “doing something with your own two hands”… it’s oddly satisfying.. like a guilty pleasure

    1. fredwilson

      Exactly. I was so happy

  4. JimHirshfield

    Most dads complain that the music is too darn loud. Grow up!

    1. Albert

      Ahaha))) damn right!)

  5. LIAD

    Yay. Great find. Now to test.

  6. OurielOhayon

    best solution: switch to iphone

    1. fredwilson

      Fuck that. Never

      1. kenberger

        Exactly. #iPhexit

      2. MarcusB

        I’m sick and tired of Apple’s neverending attempts to build a wall greater than Trump’s around their products and their interaction with other devices. Done with that for good – job badly done Apple. Going the Android way. Out of pure curiosity, what phone do you use/can recommend? @fredwilson:disqus

        1. creative group

          MarcusB:Blog owner (@fredwilson) has posted he uses The Google PIXEL 2.Captain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndependent

      3. Pointsandfigures

        Haha….I recall a post where an USV intern sold you on the idea of switching every six months or so….

  7. elandekel

    I had the same problem. You can also solve this by unpairing the Airpods and pairing them again. There is some weirdness in the bluetooth volume control that resets when you do this.

    1. fredwilson

      that did not work for me. i tried that fix a bunch of times and ways and never could get it to work for me

  8. kenberger

    Long as we’re talking fixes to issues on otherwise good things:Re yesterday’s DNS alternative (which is great), I hit a problem as soon as I visited my local Wifi cafe: if it has a pop-up connection screen, the laptop might not find it, and thus you can never connect to the ‘net.Possible solution is to type in the browser. That *might* bring up the connection window, then you’re good to go.Otherwise, you need to go back to your DNS server preferences and delete them all; could add the, etc back, once connected.

    1. ShanaC


  9. sigmaalgebra

    Current computing is awash in user interfaces with such obscure nonsense.This stuff about click seven times sounds like something from Medieval witchcraft.One of the really early lessons in socialization is, when doing/saying something, continually evaluate how others might react, say, put oneself in the position of the relevant other people.It appears that geeks get accused of having missed this lesson in socialization! To me, the many cases of obscure nonsense computer interfaces is evidence supporting this accusation!One example for me was last night: I had five SATA (serial advanced technology attachment, an electronic data interface standard now popular for hard disk drives) devices installed in a computer case and needed to connect each to an electrical power source. Well, the connection plug and socket is an industry standard. So there is a plug, and inside can see a notch. The notch is for orientation of the plug, to make it fit only one way. Well, even inserted the correct way, sometimes the plug doesn’t fit very well and can need a lot of insertion force, so much force that inserting the wrong way and overpowering the notch might be possible. But due to the black paint, etc. inside the case, I couldn’t clearly see the power connection on the hard disk drives. So, off to Google and Wikipedia to look for a clear diagram of where on the hard drive the notch was supposed to fit. Well, the Wikipedia entries I found went into fine detail about the pins and voltages but never gave a clear diagram that showed the notch on the hard drive or SATA device. Bummer.For a solution, for some of the SATA devices, the power plug inserted easily one way and not easily the other way. From that, the rule is, the notch goes closer to the center of the SATA device and far from the closest edge. Then I got success also with the on SATA device, an old Asus CD/DVD reader/writer, that was being difficult.It’s a bit amazing that Wikipedia didn’t have a clear diagram.Problem solved. Right, I typed in the solution!For another example, two days ago I was installing the old Windows XP SP2 (service pack 2) as a way to test out using the old Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools as a tool for doing backups and restores of installed instances of operating systems. Well, also I needed to partition and format a new Western Digital hard drive (it’s not very new; last month I bought it new for $20 via Amazon; but it was manufactured in 2008; the drive has capacity 500 billion bytes and transmits data at 3 billion bits per second, both of which are now relatively small/slow but enough for the purpose I have in mind, and I get the extra reliability of an extra disk spindle). So, how to do that partitioning and formatting?Well, from some Google searching, the path down the tree of windows isStartControl PanelPerformance and MaintenanceAdministrative ToolsComputer ManagementStorageDisk Management (Local)Without a Google search, one could spend half an hour enumerating all the likely tree paths. Bummer.And when get to this tree leaf, have to do some obscure nonsense left and right clicking to uncover what can be done. That’s a special case of more obscure nonsense: Lacking any other good ideas, just left click, right click, double left click, double right click on all points of a fine grid on the screen. All that random clicking should never work, that is, shows an astounding example of an obscure nonsense user interface, but surprisingly often it does work.Of course, at that tree leaf soon discover that maybe need to know what a “system” partition is and what an “active” partition is, but there is essentially no help for that. A good answer gets into issues of the motherboard BIOS (basic input/output system, software that comes with the motherboard and now tells a lot about the computer and permits setting lots of options), the hard disk MBR (master boot record), and what some Microsoft “multiple boot” software does when install more than one operating system on one hard drive!!!!Actually, for the hard drive formatting and partitioning, the Google answer was for Windows 7 or 10 or some such. But, in fact, such tree paths haven’t changed much in the 15 years or so since Windows XP SP2!So, here we have an obscure nonsense user interface problem that hasn’t been solved in 15 years! And, yes, given such a solution, say, one for each leaf of the tree, just a simple key word search should be sufficient to solve the problem. And that’s just the solution I have for myself: When I solve yet another obscure nonsense user interface issue, I type the solution into a little, dirt simple system of just one file and a good text editor giving likely key words as keys.Amazing statistics: That file, after 15 years, has only 80,000 lines with only 2.5 million bytes. So, can get a LOT of such little factoids, really essentially all my factoids, including phone numbers, mailing addresses, passwords, etc., in so little space. So, guess: The core data of AI can be surprisingly small.Also, to use that one file of 2.5 million bytes, my text editor just reads in the whole thing. For a keyword search, there is no indexing and, instead, my text editor just searches the whole file, the whole 80,000 lines. It works great. Amazing. Another lesson for AI.For one such factoid, Fred got a whole blog post! Hmm …!!!A shockingly large fraction of my time and effort for my startup is such absurd system management and administration nonsense. And a large fraction of that time and effort is such mud wrestling with obscure nonsense user interfaces and little factoid solutions.Such geek nonsense is now a major bottleneck in the future of Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Apple, Google, the growth of computing and the Internet, the US economy, and civilization.Net, geeks need to get socialized and cut out the obscure nonsense user interfaces. Also for the obscure, undefined terminology and TLAs (three letter acronyms). Some really simple key word searching can go a long way toward a good solution.

    1. Alex Tucker

      People like Microsoft and Google have psychologist working with them to design UI. This isn’t just some nerd in the basement who hasn’t seen the light. Computers and phones do too much to cut out “nonsense”. Dev options have the potential to mess with the phone, it isn’t something you want every user poking around unless they know what they’re doing. I’ve been plugging in SATA cords since I was 9, there are like 4 total ways to try.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I’ve been plugging in SATA power and signal cables back to end of the EIDE (extended integrated drive electronics) hard disk drives and the beginning of the SATA standards. But that was some years ago, and I didn’t remember just how the power plug went. As I explained (A) inside the black painted case, I couldn’t get enough light to get a clear view of the sockets on the disk drives and (B) on one of my devices have to push the SATA power plug with enough force that maybe could overpower the orientation notch feature and actually get the plug in wrong.Yes, I remember that the graphical user interface (GUI) was worked out first mostly at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and in some cases the work was by cognitive psychologists sitting on big, soft, sloppy, relaxing bean bag chairs.I long ago concluded that their work was fine for the control panel of a microwave oven or a relatively simple Xerox office copying machine but that the effort of Apple and Microsoft to use that GUI stuff for essentially all of computing was a huge mistake. I can value the HTML ideas. And of course in a sense Microsoft agrees with me since to get very far should start using user interfaces (UIs) based on their scripting software Power Shell or at least some other scripting language. That’s what I do — lots of scripts. Except for HTML, I never wrote a GUI and never want to.For scripts, right, I start those from command lines. For a while there was an old French dish with a lot of eggs quiche and a joke “Real men don’t eat quiche.”, if only because often it looked like it had already been eaten once and upchucked! Well, then, there was another joke: “Real programmers use command lines, not GUIs.”.E.g., for a while, I tried to make use of Microsoft Word. I never did start to be proficient with the darned thing, e.g., stop screaming at it, until I guessed that really underneath it was essentially a program with in-line commands, markup, like old programs called Runoff.Sure, soon I had a good setup of D. Knuth’s mathematical typesetting software TeX and used it for all my math work and any other high quality word whacking. Well, for TeX, that’s just some markup with a macro language — if-then-else, do-while, allocate-free, etc. And I type in TeX with just my favorite text editor. E.g., I don’t use or want a GUI layer in front of TeX. It’s a great advantage to have what I type in to be just text that I can process just as text. In just two words, text is great stuff, in particular, still for computing.Yes, as the GUI ideas became popular, there were books, etc. on the principles, e.g., IIRC, always have the user understand everything on the screen and everything they can do next and whenever a user does something give some feedback to confirm what was done or an error message otherwise. Good. More common sense than psychology, but still good.From my examples, and I’ve got many more, since those early days, mostly those psychologists you mentioned must have been nuts, smoking funny stuff, or just ignored by the gleeful geeks and their fun ways to frustrate users. E.g., as in one of the examples I gave, I had to go seven levels deep in an obscure tree and then just guess, right click, to see what some of the possibilities were. So, at least the right click violated that first GUI standards.But, as I outlined, I have a simple solution: When see such a factoid for such a solution, I type it in and index it in a way easy to find. So, actually the problem is not do difficult to solve.I say again, quite seriously, not intending exaggeration, this geek stuff with obscure nonsense user interfaces is a major bottleneck in my work and, I have to believe, also that of other people, the computer industry, the growth rate of the economy, and the progress of civilization.The seven click solution to Fred’s problem is a grand example.If you have been plugging in SATA plugs since you were 9, then you are not very old yet!

        1. Alex Tucker

          Not very old at all, 21 to be exact. Still figured this out. Microsoft has integrated powershell for Server and 10 more than ever. Just use server Core and you have everything you need. But we’re talking about Android and smartphones. 7 taps isnt intuitive for a reason, they aren’t normal settings. The switch isn’t “fix your airpods” it’s to turn off Android 8’s absolute Bluetooth volume. If it worked right there would be no reason to touch it unless your a dev. A terminal would be much more complicated but I think it’s actually possible if you used USB debugging. From the Droid series Android has come very far in terms of intuitive UI.Edit: if no one’s done it maybe I’ll try and make an app that does it for you? Would be a good learning experience and would help people not wanting to mess with developer settings “ooOOooOoo”

  10. jason wright

    bicycle bells work best when pedestrians can hear them. super low is super safe. live long and prosper, and get out of my way.

    1. Adam Sher

      I came down on the side of preferring situational awareness when I’m walking and don’t use headphones while I walk. Similarly, I mostly avoid looking at my phone. Sometimes I just need a soundtrack to my walk but usually I’m just walking around with a “naked” head.

  11. James Smith

    Fred this is awesome and I felt like the problem had gotten worse. I couldn’t hear audiobooks walking around boulder I can’t imagine how hard it was in NYC!Thanks for sharing it was very satisfying to be able to fix it “myself”. Enjoying all the posts mate thanks!

  12. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:The directions from blog owner is for the Android 8.0 Oreocorrect?Captain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndependent

  13. Alex Tucker

    Hey that’s my post! I’m an IT guy so I naturally have to find the fix to a software issue when I come across it. One of the reasons I made the Reddit post was because I wanted it to be an easy find, this post should help with that too.

  14. Tom Hart

    And for those of us that bought AirPods at your recommendation, we love you.

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