How do I change the audio source on my Android?

Changing the audio source on your Android device allows you to switch between different audio outputs such as the built-in speaker, wired headphones, Bluetooth devices, and more. This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process to change the audio source on any Android device.

Being able to change audio outputs easily is useful in many situations. For example, you may want to switch from headphones to speaker when showing a video to a friend. Or you may need to connect to a Bluetooth speaker to play music out loud. This guide covers all the possible audio sources and how to select each one.

Follow along below to learn how to take control of audio on your Android. With just a few taps in the settings menu, you’ll be able to switch audio sources and choose the perfect output for any situation.

Determine Current Audio Output Source

The easiest way to check which audio output source is currently active on your Android device is through the Settings menu. Open the Settings app and go to the “Sound & vibration” or “Sounds and vibration” section. There should be an option called “Media volume” or “Volume” where you can see icons representing your phone’s speaker, wired headphones, and Bluetooth devices. The icon with a larger size and bolder color indicates the current active output. For example, if you see a larger Bluetooth icon, that means audio is routing to a paired Bluetooth device like wireless headphones or a speaker.

You can also tap on the icons to switch between outputs manually. When you select a different output, it will become enlarged to confirm it is now active. The Settings menu provides a quick visual way to both check and change your Android audio source.

Switch to Phone Speaker

The phone speaker allows you to play audio directly through your phone without any external devices. To switch to the phone speaker on Android:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open quick settings.
  2. Tap the Audio Output tile to open the audio output menu.
  3. Select “Phone Speaker” from the list of available audio devices.

Using the phone speaker allows you to easily listen to audio privately without headphones. It can be useful for listening to podcasts, music, or calls when you don’t have external speakers or headphones available. The speakerphone option also makes hands-free calls more convenient.

However, the phone speaker may not provide the highest quality audio experience, especially for music or videos, compared to dedicated external speakers. The volume may also be limited compared to headphones or external speakers. Overall, the phone speaker offers a simple built-in option for quick, private listening in a pinch.

Switch to Wired Headphones

If you want to listen to audio through wired headphones, simply plug them into your device’s headphone jack. Android will automatically route audio through the wired headphones instead of the speakers once you plug them in.

Wired headphones offer some advantages over Bluetooth headphones (Blog post reference: ):

  • Better audio quality since there is no compression of the audio signal.
  • No battery required so they won’t run out of power.
  • More affordable price points.

The main downside is the physical cable that connects them to your device. But for airplane travel or other times you don’t need to move around, wired headphones provide excellent audio quality without worrying about charging batteries.

Switch to Bluetooth Speaker/Headphones

To switch your Android’s audio output to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones:

Go to Settings > Connected Devices > Bluetooth and turn on Bluetooth if it is not already enabled. Android will scan and show a list of available Bluetooth devices in range. (Source:

Tap on the name of the Bluetooth speaker or headphones you want to connect to. Your Android will pair and connect to the selected device. You may need to consult the manual of your specific Bluetooth device for pairing instructions if needed.

Once connected, audio will automatically be routed from your Android to the Bluetooth device. To disconnect, simply go back to the Bluetooth settings and tap on the device name again then tap Disconnect.

Bluetooth audio quality depends on the Bluetooth version and audio codec supported. Newer versions like Bluetooth 5.0 offer improved quality compared to older versions. The codec can also affect quality, with aptX and LDAC codecs offering higher bitrates up to 990 kbps for improved sound. (Source:

Switch to USB Audio

You can switch the audio output of your Android device to a USB stereo system or speakers by connecting it directly via a USB cable. Once connected, you will need to go into your Settings to change the audio output to USB.

To switch to USB audio output on an Android device:

  1. Use a USB cable to connect your Android device to a USB stereo system, speaker, or headphones.
  2. Open the Settings app on your Android device.
  3. Tap on Sound or Audio.
  4. Look for an option like Audio Output, Audio Source, or Default Output. It may be under Advanced Audio settings.
  5. Select USB audio from the list of output options. This switches audio routing to the connected USB device.

Once set, any audio played on your Android device will now be routed through the connected USB audio system or speakers. To switch back, simply return to the audio output settings and change it back to the device speaker or headphone jack.

Some stereo systems will automatically switch the audio input to USB when an Android device is connected via USB cable. However, you still need to change the audio output on your Android device itself to direct sound through the USB connection. Most modern Android devices support USB audio output.

If you don’t see a USB audio option under audio settings, you may need to install drivers or enable USB host mode through developer options on your Android device first. Refer to your device manufacturer’s instructions if USB audio output is not natively supported.

Switch Output for Individual Apps

You can configure individual apps to output audio to different sources, such as phone speaker, headphones, or Bluetooth speaker. Here’s how:

Go to Settings > Apps & notifications and select the app you want to configure. Tap App info. Under App details, tap Set as default > Opening links. Choose Ask every time, then tap Back. This will make the app prompt you to choose an audio output each time it plays audio.

You can also long press on an app shortcut > App info. Tap Set as default > Opening links and choose Ask every time as mentioned before. This will again make the app ask for audio output preference whenever launched.

When you next open the app, it will prompt you to choose where audio should be routed. Choose your preferred audio output from the options. The app will now use that selection for audio until changed.

To make things easier, Android also allows per app volume control. Go to Settings > Sound & vibration > App volume balance. Here you can set custom volume levels for apps which will persist.

If you want an app to always use a specific output, like Bluetooth headphones, select that option when prompted and tap ‘Always’. This will set that output as the default for the app going forward.

Using these steps you can customize audio routing on a per app basis, allowing flexibility in how and where audio plays on your Android device.

Change Default Audio Output

The default audio output on your Android device determines which speaker or audio port the sound will come out of when an app plays audio. To change it:

  • Go to Settings > Sound > Audio output
  • Under “Audio output,” select the output you want to set as the default.

Some common options are:

  • Phone speaker – Built-in speaker on your phone
  • Wired headphones – Headphones connected via 3.5mm jack or USB-C
  • Bluetooth headphones – Paired Bluetooth headphones or speakers

Setting a default ensures that most apps will automatically use that output without you having to change it each time. However, some apps let you override the default on a per-app basis (see next section).

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are having issues switching the audio output on your Android device, here are some troubleshooting tips to try:

Check that the app you are using has permission to access audio. Go to Settings > Apps and notifications > App permissions > Audio to see which apps have permission to use your microphone and change audio settings.

Make sure your Bluetooth speaker or headphones are properly paired and connected. Go to Settings > Connected devices > Bluetooth to ensure your devices show as paired. Tap on the device and make sure the checkbox next to “Media audio” is enabled.

As a last resort, restart your Android device. Press and hold the power button and tap “Restart”. This will fully reboot your phone and may resolve any audio issues.

If you still can’t change the audio output, search forums like Reddit or contact your device manufacturer for further troubleshooting tips.


Switching the audio source on your Android device allows you to direct sound to different outputs like the built-in speaker, headphones, Bluetooth devices, and more. Here’s a quick recap of the main steps covered:

  • Check the current audio source in your Settings app sound menu.
  • Choose the phone speaker, wired headphones, Bluetooth devices, or USB audio as needed.
  • Adjust audio outputs for individual apps in their settings.
  • Set your preferred default audio output in Sounds settings.

A couple additional tips: check for dust blocking the headphone jack, restart your device if sounds aren’t coming through properly, and make sure you have the latest OS and app updates. With the right settings tweaks and troubleshooting, you’ll be able to control where audio is directed and enjoy sound from your desired sources.

There are many possibilities for customizing sound on your Android. Don’t hesitate to explore your options and find the ideal listening experience.

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