Customize Your iPhone as an iPod

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

You can change a few preference settings on your iPhone to customize your iPhone-as-an-iPod experience. You can play all songs at the same volume level, equalize the sound, or even set a volume limit.

Play all songs at the same volume level

The iTunes Sound Check option automatically adjusts the level of songs so that they play at the same volume relative to each other. That way, one song never blasts out your ears even if the recording level is much louder than that of the song before or after it.

To tell the iPhone to use these volume settings, you first have to turn on the feature in iTunes on your computer. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Choose iTunes→Preferences (Mac) or Edit→Preferences (PC).

  2. Click the Playback tab.

  3. Select the Sound Check check box to enable it.

Now you need to tell the iPhone to use the Sound Check settings from iTunes. Here’s how to do that:

  1. On the iPhone’s Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  2. In the list of settings, tap Music.

  3. Tap Sound Check to turn it on.

Choose an equalizer setting

An equalizer increases or decreases the relative levels of specific frequencies to enhance the sound you hear. Some equalizer settings emphasize the bass (low end) notes in a song; other equalizer settings make the higher frequencies more apparent.

The iPhone has more than a dozen equalizer presets, with names such as Acoustic, Bass Booster, Bass Reducer, Dance, Electronic, Pop, and Rock. Each one is ostensibly tailored to a specific type of music.

The way to find out whether you prefer using equalization is to listen to music while trying out different settings. To do that, first start listening to a song you like. Then, while the song is playing, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Home button on the front of your iPhone.

  2. On the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  3. In the list of settings, tap Music.

  4. In the list of Music settings, tap EQ.

  5. Tap different EQ presets (Pop, Rock, R&B, or Dance, for example), and listen carefully to the way they change how the song sounds.

  6. When you find an equalizer preset that you think sounds good, press the Home button and you’re finished.

If you don’t like any of the presets, tap Off at the top of the EQ list to turn off the equalizer.

According to Apple’s iPhone battery information page, applying an equalizer setting to song playback on your iPhone can decrease battery life. So you need to decide which is more important to you: using equalization or maximizing battery life.

Set a volume limit for music (and videos)

You can instruct your iPhone to limit the loudest listening level for audio or video. To do so, here’s the drill:

  1. On the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  2. In the list of settings, tap Music.

  3. In the list of Music settings, tap Volume Limit.

  4. Drag the slider to adjust the maximum volume level to your liking.

  5. (Optional) Tap Lock Volume Limit to assign a four-digit passcode to the setting so that others can’t easily change it.

The Volume Limit setting limits the volume of only music and videos. It doesn’t apply to podcasts or audiobooks. And, although the setting works with any headset, headphones, or speakers plugged into the headset jack on your iPhone, it doesn’t affect sound played on your iPhone’s internal speaker.

Enable the Shake to Shuffle option

Shake to Shuffle does just what its name implies — plays a different song at random when you shake your iPhone. To enable this setting, here’s what to do:

  1. On the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  2. In the list of settings, tap Music.

  3. Tap the Shake to Shuffle button to turn the feature on or off.

From shake to shuffle — how can you not love that feature?