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How to adjust EQ (your music equalizer) on your iPhone or iPad

Whether you have particularly bass-heavy headphones or you just want to meddle with your sound for a particular album, Apple makes it simple to adjust the EQ — equalizer — for your music.

Digital equalizers) allow you to rebalance various sound frequencies in music so that they sound different than their original mix. This is great if you have headphones that rely a bit too much on bass, or an album that sounds too tinny on small speakers.

How to set a music equalizer on your iPhone or iPad

You can use the Settings app to adjust the equalizer on your iOS device. Keep in mind that these equalizer settings only apply to the Music app, and these settings won't work with third-party music services.

It can also help to be playing music when you're making these adjustments so you can understand how they affect what you're listening to, and you'll get the best results if you're listening through headphones.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Music.

  1. Tap EQ. It's under the Playback section.
  2. Tap on one of the equalizers. If you already have an equalizer on and want to turn it off, tap Off.

Apple provides 23 different equalizer settings. Note that one equalizer setting isn't really going to fit all of the music you listen to, so you'll probably want to hop into settings every so often to change equalizers.

Questions?

If you have any questions about using the equalizer on your iPhone or iPad, let us know in the comments.

Updated March 2019: Updated instructions for iOS 12. Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

6 Comments
  • I've found the EQ setting to be persistent, regardless of whether the headphones are connected or whether I choose airplay as the output. Seems like it makes more sense for EQ to be dependent on the chosen output. Also, I don't understand why Apple couldn't make this a system-wide EQ, instead of just for the Music app..
  • I take it that the equalizer only work for the Apple Music app and not the third party music apps like Spotify? I know Spotify has its own equalizer but just wanted to make sure if I have the Apple Music one on it doesn't have an adverse effect on the Spotify one.
  • Such a convoluted exercise to change the EQ...why don't they just allow it to be accessed from the UI? I hate the way this is buried in the settings!
  • Unfortunately this is a EQ preset, which is very poor in quality. This preset mode comes from the first iPhone, no improvements since then. I think it is time for Music App to have its own "equalizer" so you can adjust the frequencies (rich bass and treble). At the moment I can't use this app and I have to use a third party app which can provide a good EQ that I can really manipulate.
  • I completely agree! Fingers crossed for iOS 11.
  • A system wide EQ for audio is needed with easy access in control center. This should include podcasts, music, TV and any streaming audio regardless of the source.