Quiet iPhone Earpiece? Try Cleaning It

Sometimes, being of the nerdy bunch, you try to look for a technical answer to life’s tech problems when a simpler approach might be needed.

Yesterday I proved this to myself. I have been experiencing very low earpiece volume on my iPhone 4 for the past few months. I am one of these people who rarely uses their phone for calling purposes – mainly music, messaging, and internet. I have a set of earphones that double as handsfree kits, which makes it easy to listen to music and being able to take a phone call on the same headset. So most of the time I take a call using the handsfree.

Do I have a faulty earpiece? Is it on its way out? I hoped not, because replacing isn’t in expensive and is a tricky job.

I also have an original iPhone and tested the volume on that. It was very loud, and I don’t remember my 3GS (which I had before my iPhone 4) being so quiet either.

Before I went down the route of taking my beloved iPhone apart, I decided to give it a quick clean – after all, it is pressed up against your ear or shoved in your pocket amongst all the fluff.

Cleaning It

With a magnifying glass and a small pin I started gently scraping the earpiece grill. Surprisingly, a lot of gunk came off. With every scrape, more dirt was sticking to the pin. A quick blow, and I repeated the procedure.

Finally, I grabbed my toothbrush – not mine but one I use for cleaning – and gave the grill a further scrub, paying particular attention to the corners where the grill goes underneath the oblong opening.

I spent about 15 minutes cleaning, wiping, and recleaning. I wasn’t holding out much hope, but I thought what harm could it do?

Did It Work?

I called my voicemail, and to my surprise I could hear the message without even having to put the phone to my ear. On listening to it close to my ear, the volume had easily doubled.

I road tested it today. Whereas before if I was out and about – especially on a busy street – I could barely hear the caller, sometimes making answering a call very difficult – today I had no issues at all. The person speaking could be heard loud and clear.

Of course I am very pleased with the results. It has given me an instant and free solution and means my phone isn’t faulty.

So if you have a problem with a quiet iPhone, firstly give it a clean. This should also work for the speaker on the bottom.

Of course it goes without saying, proceed with caution. Overly vigorous cleaning could damage your iPhone.

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