Silence iPhone Ringer by Hitting Volume Buttons

Feb 6, 2011 - 20 Comments

If you’re getting an incoming call and you want to quickly silence the iPhone, just hit either of the volume buttons to instantly silence the ringer. This will immediately mute the iPhone and stop the ringer from sounding any alert or vibration, but it does not send the call to voicemail so the caller won’t have any idea that you aren’t listening to the phone ring.

iphone volume buttons

Because it’s so easy to tap one of the side volume buttons and they are easy to tell apart from touch alone, this is a great strategy to mute calls while a phone is in your pocket. I use this all the time for one-off occurrences like while you’re waiting in line at a public place, in the middle of a conversation, or if you’re in a meeting, or any other places where letting the phone ring aloud is considered distracting or rude.

Remember that this only effects the ring for that particular incoming phone call, and if the caller dials you immediately again it’ll sound again until you hit the volume button, and obviously all other calls will still sound the ringer as well. If you’re getting tons of calls and want to silence the ringer for them all, just hit the mute switch on the side of the iPhone, which shushes them all until it’s turned off again.

Speaking of Mute, if the iPhone is on muted mode, the ringer obviously won’t sound… but the phone will vibrate instead. In the cases where mute is active, hitting one of the volume buttons will cause the vibration to stop, completely silencing the phone.

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Posted by: William Pearson in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Diego says:

    Why do you, somethimes, post things that are so obvious.
    and even if they weren’t, aren’t we suppoused to know how to mute a call by now?
    this is the fourth year since we first saw an iPhone, let alone a phone (which does in most cases silence the call by pressing the volume keys)

    • Pixxi says:

      Diego, has it ever occurred to you that some of us out here have only just jumped on the iPhone bandwagon for the first time?

      I’m not a newbie to tech… in fact I’ve been a techie in the computer industry for many years and have written many detailed technical manuals (reference as well as user guides) and know PCs and Macs inside out, but I didn’t know that bit about the quick mute on my (brand new) iPhone volume keys!

      Yes, there are often things here that I personally have known about for years, and in fact I could probably even add a few little things that haven’t already been covered. But, what you need to remember – whether writing a manual or a blog – is that not everyone has gone through life experiencing things at exactly the same time and rate as you, so any manual, or site such as this, needs to cover things for EVERYONE who might read it.

    • Will says:

      Diego, we have a very diverse readership and try to cover tips and information relevant to users of all knowledge levels, be it expert or novice. We appreciate the feedback, and you are always welcome to submit ideas or topics to

  2. Juan says:

    Ok, then lets say a +, if you double tap the power button the call goes to the VoiceMail. Did you know that Diego?

  3. johannes says:

    I normally mute my incoming phonecalls by pressing the top button once.
    Didnt actually know that it’s also possible with the volume keys.

    @Juan, you better read the linked posting. ;)


  4. Juan says:

    Yes I know, thats why is a + ;-)

  5. […] don’t recognize, and if you want to get a voice message from someone it’s faster than silencing the call and waiting for the caller to leave a […]

  6. JC says:

    This no longer works on my iPhone 5s after the iOS 8.1 update.
    Nothing will silence an appointment/alert/etc. until it has played out completely.

    • itworks says:

      Muting calls with the volume button works on all versions of iOS from the earliest to iOS 8.1, if you are having problems with your iPhone Settings try to restore it with iTunes.

      • Bradley says:

        I’m annoyed with this not working, I always used it because I have my custom ringtones and it stops it ringing if I’m in a converstation with somebody and is easier then hearing it run through the whole tone. Anybody figure out a way to fix this? I recently had to restore and update my phone at the same time so I don’t think restoring it works.

        • Lori says:

          Bradley….did you ever find out how to fix this issue? I am having the same problem and can not find anything online to tell me how to fix it.

  7. Linda says:

    I used to be able to tap the power button to silence an incoming text as well as a phone call. Since the iOS 8.1 update, I can no longer silence text messages, they have to play in their entirety. I have a long ringtone set as my text tone, and this is especially annoying during a phone call. I have to tell the other person to please not speak for a moment because I can’t hear them. Incoming calls are still silenced by the power button but not text messages, is there a setting that can fix this?

    • Volume says:

      Press the VOLUME button up or down to mute alert sounds like a ringer or text from the iPhone. Power button will do nothing except turn on or off the screen. VOLUME button.

      • Linda says:

        Volume button doesn’t do anything to mute an incoming text either and neither does flipping the mute switch….and I have always silenced my phone by hitting the power button on the top of the phone. I still do to silence calls. Most of the time it is in my back pocket and all I have to do is reach back and hit the button.

    • Eric says:

      Wow – I have the same problem too: neither of the 5 iPhone 5s buttons works to silence my (also) long “text message received” sound. Not power/screen off, volume up or down, mute, not start/home button. I’ve had an iPhone for 5 years – I know how this is supposed to work…but nothing works since iOS 8 (or 8.1). Super annoying!!

  8. Greg says:

    I am having the same exact problem as JC and Bradley and Linda. I can not mute incoming text sounds with my volume buttons anymore since the 8.1 update

  9. Matt says:

    Same exact issue. Can’t silence incoming texts or calls with the volume buttons anymore on my ip5.
    Super annoying at work now.

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