Prevent Volume Buttons from Changing the Ringer & Alert Levels on iPhone

Jul 18, 2014 - 23 Comments

Disable iPhone volume buttons

If you’ve ever let a child play with your iPhone, you know that every physical button probably gets pressed a few million times, often repeatedly. There’s obviously little harm in that by itself, but a fairly common scenario is that a parent hands their iPhone to their kid to play a game or watch a video, and then gets the iPhone back to put back in their pocket not thinking much of it. Then a few hours (or days) pass, and uh oh, the parent discovers they have been missing out on phone calls, text messages, alerts, and email chimes, because the phone isn’t putting out any sound at all, despite the mute switch not being activated. Hmm!

The cause of this is fairly simple; the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone. Fortunately, Apple thought of this exact scenario, and they came up with what I like to call ‘parent mode’ for the Volume Buttons, which lets you set a a volume limit through iOS software Settings while simultaneously disabling the hardware volume buttons from actually changing the volume level.

How to Disable Volume Button Controls on iPhone

This prevents the hardware Volume Buttons from adjusting the Ringer & Alert volume levels only:

  1. Open the Settings app on the iPhone and head to “Sounds”
  2. Under ‘Ringers and Alerts’ slide the volume adjustment to whatever level you want to set, then toggle the switch for “Change with Buttons” to the OFF position
  3. Prevent volume buttons from changing the ringer and alert volume on iPhone

  4. Exit out of Settings with the security of knowing that the volume buttons will no longer hush the phone even if they’re pressed a few billion times

You can try it out yourself by pressing the volume buttons, they will no longer impact the ringer or alert levels at all, though they will continue to change the volume of things like app, games, and playing videos.

The average iPhone user probably won’t find much use for this and may even be annoyed by their iPhone volume buttons not working to change the volume level as expected, but parents, babysitters, and educators will probably love it as one of the many tips to make their devices more kid friendly.

For what it’s worth, the iPad and iPod touch offer the same setting in iOS, but because those devices aren’t regularly used as primary contact devices, it’s a bit less useful on them when compared to iPhone. That said, all iOS devices can benefit from setting volume limits, even even if it’s just on the Music app.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. William Karpowitz says:

    My iPhone keeps resting it’s ringer to half volume. I go to settings to sounds and I increase the sound level to full and shut off button controls but it happens again and again. What can I do?

  2. Stella says:

    Amazing how the article was written in 2014. It’s Nov. 2020 and I’m revisiting. Come on Apple.

  3. Yvette Debesu says:

    I have the same problem with ringer shutting off itself and it doesn’t even vibrate.

    At this point I think it is a hardware problem, my old phone worked perfectly. This iPhone XR i returned 3 times

  4. Alicia says:

    Same problem

  5. John Frisby says:

    Even with the “ringer and alerts” volume slider set high, the only way I can get a sound alert at all for phone and text is to switch ON the “change with buttons” switch. Otherwise I get just a vibrate alert – easily undetected.
    Fortunately no children have access to my phone.
    It is an iPhone 6S.
    I think the problem occurred after a recent update.

  6. Nymeria Rahl says:

    I have this feature on but every phone call I don’t hear it, as volume goes down to 1, even when I just set it to 10. I think it might be my case. It flips the vibrate on/off, and other side buttons each time I remove it 2x a day min. My daytime case to my evening charge stand. Anyone know anyway to permanently lock volume at top without locking the vibrate feature. I do use it at work. Actually my fit bit is the best way to tell if I have a call bc it vibrates and I feel it immediately, then I spent 5 minutes looking for my phone. Lol. Let me know if anyone knows how to fix.

  7. D says:

    Is there a way to turn the ringer down but the volume up for the Alarm? I don’t want to completely silence my ringer and text messages, just lower the volume. I want the alarm to be liud still. On the Android phone i could easily do this.

  8. paul lackaff says:

    sometimes the SOS emergency calls come up after pressing the volume buttons I want to disable them complete this is junk

  9. BJ says:

    To “Mike” above:
    You are a genius.
    ‘Twas such an obvious fix, but it took you to tell us. Thanks!

  10. Mike says:

    Spencer. I cut a tiny piece of electric wire sleeving and pushed it into the space at the side of the sound switch, now the switch is jammed ‘on’

  11. Dave says:

    Hi vol keeps going down on my phone I can’t hear it ring to Ans the call, help I have been into settings change button and it keeps changing the vol HELP

  12. Andrea Holley says:

    This helped me out a lot! Thank you so much. Any other website was not showing me anything to help. Thank you thank you thank you‼️

  13. Bob Abra says:

    not working on Iphone 7 useless bit of misinformation

  14. Christian says:

    It did nothing. I want to disable them totely because I got a otter box and this little price hits the volume buttons

  15. Mark says:

    This setting did nothing to stop my message alert changing on both my iPhone 5s or my new 6s plus

  16. slashmastah says:

    Thank you!

  17. Spencer says:

    Unuseful, because the click switch next to the volume buttons still silnces all sounds (ringer silent)
    i just spent three hours walking around my house with ipad using ‘find my iPhone’ and couldnt hear a sound nor calling it with another Phone made a sound. Because the ringer button was switched off
    rendering this info useless if the child flips that switch.

  18. Tom says:

    I want to disable them totally even for the ear volume. They can be inadvertently altered and it affects the hearing volume not just the ringer etc.
    I want to be able to ONLY alter volume in software.

  19. Kelly campbell says:

    I can’t get it to work it still turns down. a HELP ! special needs kid who plays with buttons so his alarms for meds and such don’t go off.

  20. Sandy Dechert says:

    Pretty good for the handicapped and older people, too.

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