Why does my notification sound keep turning down?

Many smartphone users have experienced the frustrating issue of their notification sounds decreasing in volume over time. This can lead to missed calls, texts, and app alerts if the volume drops low enough that the notification is no longer audible. There are several common reasons why notification sounds may be decreasing on their own.

Software updates, especially major OS updates, can sometimes reset notification volumes or change audio settings. New permission requirements in updates may also restrict apps from controlling notification volume. Battery saving modes often lower notification volume to conserve power. And notification settings themselves, like Do Not Disturb or app-specific permissions, could be automatically decreasing volume as well.

Understanding the cause of decreasing notification sounds can help troubleshoot the issue. Potential solutions include adjusting notification settings, app permissions, and audio options to override any automatic volume changes happening in the background. But persistent problems may also indicate a device defect requiring professional repair.

Software Updates

One common cause of notification sound volume being lowered is software updates. Both operating system and application updates may reset volume and audio settings to default values or change how audio is handled in general.

For example, major Windows OS updates like upgrades to Windows 10 or 11 often reset various settings, including notification volumes, to their original defaults. This can override any custom volume levels set by the user for app notifications [1]. App updates can also change audio configurations.

On Android devices, Samsung and other OEMs may include audio optimizations or changes in system updates that inadvertently modify notification volumes [2]. Individual app updates could also reset volumes.

Checking if a recent OS or app update precipitated the issue is a good first troubleshooting step. Updating to the latest software version may resolve it.

Volume Limit Setting

Many smartphones these days come with built-in volume limiters that are designed to protect users’ hearing over time by preventing the volume from getting too loud (source). These volume limiters will automatically lower the maximum volume allowed on your device gradually over time if you regularly listen at high volumes.

For example, Samsung Galaxy devices have a “Media volume limiter” setting that will prevent the volume from going above a certain level once enabled (source). So if you have noticed your phone’s maximum volume decreasing over time, it’s likely due to the built-in volume limiter kicking in to protect your hearing. Checking your device’s sound settings for a volume limiter toggle is a good troubleshooting step if you keep seeing a notification that the volume limit has been reached.

Battery Saving Mode

One common reason for notification sounds becoming quieter is if Battery Saving Mode is enabled on your device. This feature is designed to extend battery life by limiting power usage, but it can also affect audio settings.

For example, Samsung phones have a feature called “Battery power optimization” that can automatically lower notification volumes when the battery level gets low [1]. There is typically a notification that states “Battery power optimization is on and may limit alarm and notification volumes” [2].

The rationale is that playing loud notification sounds uses more battery, so lowering the volume extends battery life. However, this can be frustrating if you miss important notifications due to the lowered volume.

To prevent notification sounds being lowered automatically, you can disable Battery Saving Mode or remove notifications/media from its optimization list. Just be aware this may reduce battery life compared to having it enabled.

App Permissions

Sometimes apps have permissions enabled that allow them to change your notification volume without your consent. To check for this, go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > App Permissions > Other permissions. Look for any apps that have the “Change your audio settings” permission enabled (1).

If you see apps here that you don’t want changing your volume, you can revoke their permission by tapping on the app and toggling off “Change your audio settings.” This prevents apps from unexpectedly lowering your notification volume against your wishes (2).

1. Change app permissions on your Android phone

2. An app that unmutes and maxes notification volume

Do Not Disturb Mode

Do Not Disturb (DND) mode is designed to mute sounds and notifications while it’s active. If you have DND scheduled to automatically turn on during certain times, this can result in your notification volume suddenly dropping if you receive an alert during the scheduled DND period.

To prevent this, check your DND settings. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb and ensure “Silence” is not enabled, which would mute all notifications (1). On Android devices, go to Settings > Sound > Do Not Disturb and make sure “Restrict notifications” is disabled under People, Conversations, and Apps so they can still make noise (2).

You may need to customize your DND settings to allow exceptions for important contacts or apps. This will prevent your notification volume from automatically lowering when receiving their alerts during DND mode.

Physical Volume Buttons

One common reason for the notification volume turning down unexpectedly is accidental presses of the physical volume buttons on your device. Many smartphones and tablets have buttons on the side specifically for adjusting volume levels. If these are pressed inadvertently while the device is in your pocket or bag, it could turn the volume down without you realizing it.

To prevent this, there is usually a setting you can enable to make the volume buttons only control media playback volume rather than notification volume. On Android devices, go to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Use volume keys for media. On iPhones, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and turn off “Change with Buttons.” This will stop the physical volume buttons from affecting your notification and ringtone volume.




Other Sound Settings

In addition to the volume limit setting and individual app volumes, Android has a few other sound settings that could affect your notification sounds:

  • Global volume – This controls the overall volume for media, apps, ringtones and notifications. Check to make sure this isn’t lowered. You can adjust the global volume using the volume buttons on your phone or in Settings > Sound & vibration.
  • Vibrate mode – When enabled, this will make your phone vibrate for notifications instead of making a sound. Make sure this is turned off if you want audible notification sounds. You can toggle vibrate mode on/off in Settings or using the volume buttons.
  • Do Not Disturb – This blocks sounds and vibrations for notifications when enabled. Check to see if Do Not Disturb is enabled during certain times that could be blocking your notification sounds.
  • App notification overrides – Some apps allow you to override the global Do Not Disturb setting, so you still get notifications from those apps even when Do Not Disturb is on. This could inadvertently mute notification sounds from other apps.

Checking through these additional sound settings can help uncover anything that may be blocking or lowering the volume of your notification sounds.

Device Defects

Hardware or software defects may be the cause of inconsistent notification sounds. There are a few common defects to be aware of:

Some Samsung Galaxy S20 users have reported an issue where notification sounds play inconsistently or use the wrong sound entirely. This appears to be a software defect causing the phone to incorrectly map notification sounds to apps. A factory reset or software update may resolve this.[1]

On Pixel phones running Android 12, a bug can cause notification sounds to change or use an incorrect default sound. Google has acknowledged this issue and released updates to fix it on affected Pixel models.[2]

Defective or damaged speakers could also lead to low notification volume or distorted sounds. Having a technician inspect the hardware may identify speaker issues needing repair or replacement.


In summary, there are several potential reasons why your notification sound may be turning down in volume:

  • Your phone’s software updates may be changing default settings related to notification volumes.
  • You may have an automatic volume limit enabled which lowers the max volume.
  • Your battery saving mode could be reducing notification volumes to conserve power.
  • Individual apps may not have permission to play notification sounds at full volume.
  • Your “Do Not Disturb” mode may be silencing some notifications.

To prevent this issue, check your phone and app settings to disable any automatic volume reductions. Make sure each app has permission to play notification sounds at full volume. Also check for any physical defects with your device’s volume buttons or speakers.

With some adjustments to your settings, you should be able to keep your notification volumes from decreasing over time.

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