Apple is a company that tends to believe it knows best what its
customers want. Sometimes a company – not specific to Apple – does
actually know better than the customer. Apple has been very active in
the past years to push customer health and provide hardware, the
Apple Watch, and software, the Health app, to facilitate this push in
the form of products they can sell. I do not own an Apple Watch, but
I genuinely view it as a good thing.
Now, with iOS 14, Apple has gone a bit too far with regards to health
monitoring. It now enforces rules I, the customer and user of a
device, cannot override. I am talking about the automatic volume
reduction when iOS thinks I have been listening to loud audio for too
This is not okay!
This is not a situation where a company knows better.
It is actively limiting its product’s usefulness to me, the customer
who paid a lot of money for it. I understand the motivation, but I
cannot condone the action taken. Apple cannot even know why I turn up
the volume to levels it deems inappropriate for a more extended
Here are a few examples, some of which already happened to me.
Bluetooth-pairing the phone with my car’s audio system.
I usually crank the phone’s volume to max to roughly match the
other audio sources, like music on a USB stick (yes, I am a
cave-man that has music on a stick).
Listening to podcasts while going for a walk or run next to a busy
Imagine my surprise when the voices speaking to me seemed to have
disappeared because iOS lowered the volume to a point where the
audio was drowned by traffic noise. I thought my phone had died –
which has happened often enough thanks to an iOS bug that
incorrectly reported battery percentage and dropped from 30% to
turning off within 15-20 minutes.
Listening with studio headphones that have a high input resistance
I recently bought a new pair of headphones, and the quickest way
to compare them with my old ones was to plug them into my phone.
80 Ω is not a lot, but enough to have to crank up the volume a
bit higher to get a decent fun level. In the end, it is still
much quieter compared to my PC soundcard that supports up to
600 Ω headphones.
No. 1 has not yet happened, but I assume it might once the world is
rid of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I can/must travel to work a couple
of times per month. On longer car rides, I usually listen to
podcasts, and as mentioned, I turn up the volume on my phone in those
cases. The other two issues have already managed to annoy me, and No.
3 prompted me to write this little rant – although that is the least
likely of the three examples to occur regularly. Most of the time, it
will be No. 2 when I am out walking or going for a run. The traffic
noise is much worse than people talking to me. I am not even
listening to music, which is also worse than people talking to me. I
prefer Apple to turn down the car noise on the roads instead of my
headphones. Until they can do that, stop messing with my volume,
(Is this a ploy to get me to buy horribly expensive AirPods Pro with
I can agree that a notification is a good start to educate users. But
please do not take any automatic action. At least make it
configurable. I am an adult, and I should be able to decide for
myself. On top of that, there are legitimate use-cases where a higher
"theoretical" volume is required.