How to fix an iPhone SE that plays notification sounds even when in silent mode [Troubleshooting Guide]

While this may not be a big deal to some people, it matters to those who need to keep their iPhones muted on certain occasions and situations. Normally, putting an iPhone in silent mode is easily done by flipping the ringer switch to the silent/mute position. However, there are some factors that can make things complicated. Such problems though are apparently attributed to the software, hence possible to fix by end-users. This means the need to troubleshoot. Highlighted in this post are a few suggested workarounds and potential solutions to an issue transpiring on the iPhone SE, wherein the device oddly plays notification sounds even when it’s set to silent mode. Feel free to refer to this walkthrough, if ever you need help in dealing with the same problem on the same iOS device. Read on for more information.

Before going further, if you found this post because you were trying to find a solution to your problem, then try to visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed most of the commonly reported issues with the phone. We’ve already provided solutions to some of the problems reported by our readers so try to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work for you and if you need further assistance, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit.

First solution: Reboot your iPhone (soft reset).

The very first recommended solution to random software issues in mobile devices is a system reboot or soft reset. It effectively clears minor glitches and errors that caused the device to act up. If it just occurred on your iPhone SE to play notification sounds even when in silent mode, then it’s likely a random glitch that’s rectifiable by a device restart or soft reset. If you haven’t already, then follow these steps to soft reset your iPhone SE:

  1. Press and hold the Power button for a few seconds until the Slide to Power Off button appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn off your device.
  3. After 30 seconds, press the Power button again until the Apple logo appears.
  4. Alternatively, you can do a force restart by pressing and holding the Power button and Home button simultaneously for about 10 to 20 seconds and then release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

A soft reset does not affect any data saved on the internal memory of your iPhone, hence there’s no need to create backups.


Second solution: Turn silent mode off and then back on again.

Aside from a device restart, minor errors affecting the iPhone’s audio functions including the ones depicted by the said symptom can likewise be dealt with by turning silent mode off and on. The quickest way to do so by flipping the ringer switch up and down or from ring mode to silent and then vice versa.

You can find the ringer/silent switch on the left side of your iPhone SE. Check on that switch and make sure it’s set to silent mode. You will know when it’s in silent mode if you see the orange bar. If you don’t see that bar, then you need to flip the switch to downwards. Try that and see if it works.

Third solution: Check and manage DND settings (if applicable).

Device issues like this can also be attributed to the settings configuration, particularly audio functions including ringtones and alert volumes. By default, ringtone and alert volumes mirror the volume set for audio playback. Yet, the ringtone and alert volume can be controlled separately from other apps. Here’s how to configure these options:

  • Navigate to Settings-> Sounds & Haptics menu, and then turn off or disable Change with Buttons option. With this option disabled, you can manually adjust the ringtone and alert volume by dragging the ringer slider to the left until it’s muted.

Meanwhile, if your iPhone is switch to silent mode by enabling Do Not Disturb or DND feature, there is a chance that some exceptions are set. DND has options that can be used to set exceptions like allowing notification alerts from certain contact. As a result, your phone may still sound if that specific contact calls in or send in some messages. To rule this out, try to disable Do Not Disturb on your iPhone SE temporarily or manage DND options and exceptions accordingly.

  • To access and manage DND settings, go to Settings-> Do Not Disturb, then tap the switch to turn it off.
  • Alternatively, you can open the Control Center, and then tap the DND icon (crescent moon-like figure) to disable it temporarily.

Test your device after disabling Do Not Disturb feature, to find out if that clears the issue. Make sure it’s still set to silent mode or muted.

Fourth solution: Update iOS to the latest version available.

The latest iOS version for iPhone SE and later iOS devices is iOS 11.4. It was officially announced on the 29th of May and expected to rollout anytime soon on the iPhone 5s and later variants. Aside from bringing a number of enhanced features, it also offers fix patch and security enhancements to address device issues that are attributed by software bugs.

  • To check if the new software update is available, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

An update notification should show up if a new software version is available. Before you proceed, make sure your iPhone is connected to the Internet, has sufficient battery life, and at least 1 gigabyte of available memory. The update file size is about 700 megabytes.

If your device met the update requirements, follow the onscreen instructions to Download and Install the update file.

Wait until your device is finished installing the new update and then restart when it’s done.

Fifth solution: Reset/restore your iPhone SE.

If the problem persists after exhausting all prior methods, then you may resort to a master reset or iOS restore. The problem could be inflicted by some tough bugs and malware that can only be cleared by a full system reset. Should you wish to continue, back up all your important data and personal information saved on the internal memory as they will be deleted in the process.

Once you’re done backing up your files, you can perform a master reset first through your iPhone settings men with these steps:

  1. Go to Settings-> General-> Reset menu.
  2. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  3. If prompted, enter your device passcode then tap the option to confirm iPhone reset.
  4. Wait until the system reset is finished and your iPhone to reboot automatically. After that, you can continue with the initial setup process.

If a factory reset still failed to resolve the issue, then you can proceed with a recovery mode restore or DFU mode restore through iTunes. To get started, you will need to secure a computer (Windows PC or Mac) with the latest version of operating system and iTunes software installed. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the supplied USB cable or Lightning cable. Then follow these steps to perform a recovery mode restore:

  1. While your iPhone is connected to the computer, force it to restart by pressing the Home and Power buttons simultaneously but don’t release the buttons when the Apple logo appears. Instead, keep holding them until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.
  2. When you’re prompted with the option to Restore or Update, select Restore then wait for iTunes to attempt to reinstall and download the software for your device.
  3. If the download takes longer than 15 minutes, your iPhone exits the Connect to iTunes screen or recovery mode. If this happens, just let the download to finish then go back to the previous steps to enter recovery mode again.

When the Restore is finished, you can set up your device to use it again as you normally do. If your iPhone still plays notification sounds in silent mode after performing a recovery mode restore, then you can proceed with a DFU mode restore. It’s the most in-depth type of system restore you can do on an iPhone. Apple technicians usually resort to this type of system restore when dealing with more complex software problems affecting iOS devices. A more detailed walkthrough on how to perform a DFU mode restore on an iPhone SE is available on our Tutorials section found on the iPhone SE Troubleshooting page. Feel free to visit the page if you need more help carrying out the entire process.

Seek more help

You may have to consider taking your device to a nearby Apple service center in your place and have it examined by an authorized technician. The problem could be on the hardware or due to a more intricate system error that requires more advanced solutions.

Connect with us

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