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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1 iOS devices
The release of iOS 4.1 fixed many Bluetooth connection problems from iOS 4.0. However it introduced a significant problem with volume over Bluetooth. Any audio from the iPhone over Bluetooth is very low, to the point of being inaudible, even with volume turned to max on the Bluetooth device and the Bluetooth volume on maximum on the iPhone.

After much discussion over many threads at the Apple support boards, a number of 'fixes' were found but most of them resulted in temporary resolution. These includes resetting iPhone settings and/or deleting the Bluetooth device from the iPhone and re-adding it. This thread discusses the actual fix, and I have pasted the contents below.

This was tested on three different iPhones; doing it this way has corrected the constant disconnecting so you can now walk 30 feet or more away from your phone and the headsets have no muffled sounds that people on the other end were hearing. As a matter of fact the Bluetooth headsets sound the very best they ever had.

You can do this yourself; backup your phone to iTunes first. If you don't feel comfortable doing this your self call Apple support and ask them to walk you through this. [crarko adds: You can also read this, this, and other related Apple KB articles.]

Once you've completed a backup in iTunes go into Finder on your Mac and navigate to ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates and you will see the latest software update that is on your iPhone. It has a file name ending in .ipsw. You'll have either 4.1 or if you have not updated you you will see 4.00, 4.01, or 4.02 whichever you have right click it and delete it.

Go to the summary page in iTunes and restore your phone. When you are done it will automatically detect and ask you to install iOS 4.1. Click OK and let it install.

You now have a totally clean install of 4.1 with no other conflicts from previous updates with corrupt Bluetooth issues. Now after the 4.1 installs iTunes will ask you if you if would like to restore from a previous backup or set up as a new phone. You must select new phone this is the most important thing to do!

Everything is backed up in iTunes and you will not loose anything. The only thing you will have to do on your phone is personalize it the way you had it before. No big deal because now your Bluetooth set will be working perfect. Your music, apps, videos, books, photos will all be there for you; just check the items in iTunes that you want back in.

The whole process should take about an hour, or perhaps longer if you have a large music or video collection to sync. Trust me if you do it this way it will work. Feel free to call Apple support and tell them you want to do a clean install of 4.1 and you want it set up as a new phone. Tell Apple you want to remove the previous software first.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one since I don't use Bluetooth headsets. I've edited out some of the lengthy verbiage of the original post and made some grammatical corrections; if you want to read the original in full the link to the thread in Apple discussions is provided above. The basic idea is to do a clean install of iOS 4.1 and not an upgrade, and then set up as a new device so the problem isn't reintroduced from a backup. I've had to do that before and it can take some time to sync a large library of media and apps, so make sure you have time allocated for this before beginning.]
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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1 | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 01, '10 09:51:54AM

If you don't restore, don't you lose the settings and levels on things like game apps. So if I got to level 56 on Gears, without a restore, I'll be starting over on level 0.

Does anyone know a way around this? Can we restore the data for particular apps?

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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: DizzyPenguin on Oct 01, '10 10:11:50AM

>> Can we restore the data for particular apps?
If your device is jailbroken, yes. Otherwise, no.
You can backup and restore your data (saved games, preferences) manually via SSH, or use an app like Chronus.

Manage your iTunes Album Artwork >

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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: ebernet on Oct 01, '10 10:25:45AM

Apple needs to add the feature to manually store settings for each app you have. Like that I can remove one for a while and then restore it when I need it again, restoring the settings that were with it. I sure hope that comes with iTunes 11.

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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 04, '10 03:06:13PM

Thanks. I'm also investigating iPhone Explorer.

It looks like it might give me access to the app areas.

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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: ebernet on Oct 01, '10 10:24:07AM

Has anyone tried to just reset network settings? To say that "all you have to do is set up your iPhone as a new iPhone" is crap. I have been carrying settings forward for 3+ years now, and to lose things like how it understands your typing, or the settings, progress, and content from hundreds of apps I have is just plain lame. Not all apps are 4.0 storage aware, and none expose their settings through the file transfer tab in iTunes. You need to put a BIG disclaimer on how destructive this is.

If this is really a Bluetooth networking issue, shouldn't a reset network settings resolve this?
(I'd much rather lose my WiFi passwords than all my cookies, typing settings, and application metadata)

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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: ceredon on Oct 01, '10 12:42:04PM

It isn't a 'bluetooth networking' issue. It is a problem in the bluetooth stack and a corruption of the configuration. As the original hint says, even doing a full reset only helps temporarily. I had this problem myself. Doing a "Reset all settings" on the phone, which includes Bluetooth, would help briefly, but the problem would return, usually in less than a day. Doing the clean install is the only long term solution found so far.

Yes, it sucks that all settings will be lost. Unfortunately, this is a side effect of the closed nature of iOS. Apple has not even formally acknowledged this as a problem, but I can tell you that it is. Before the fix my bluetooth speakerphone was quieter than the speaker on my iPhone4. Sort of useless for a handsfree device. The speakerphone itself was very, very loud, as it has it'd own voice and sounds that it uses for feedback. But any audio that came over bluetooth was inaudibly low. A clean install worked perfectly and it is now as loud as it was with my 3G and iPhone OS 3.x.

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Fix Bluetooth volume problems in iOS 4.1
Authored by: ctapley on Oct 02, '10 02:34:34AM

I am a little lost...
I went to check for what version of the software my phone is running only to find that the directory indicated had NOTHING in it.
I am running the most updated version of OS X on a macbook pro and an iphone 3g, about a year old or so. Am I missing something???

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not fixed :(
Authored by: LouieNet on Oct 03, '10 11:54:49PM
A later post from the original poster:
After doing my previos fix to install 4.1 from scratch as a new phone which I have posted earlier the only Bluetooth headset that that has worked perfectly for 3 weeks is the BLUEANT Q2 it has past the test. The Jawbone Icon, Plantronics Pro Voyager and Motorola H17 had only worked for a few days and then back to the same old problems. Again the Blueant Q2 is working perfectly if you do the correct install in which I have posted earlier on this thread.
So it appears that the problem still isn't completely fixed. :(
G4 cube, 17" Powerbook G4, iMac 20", Mac mini, PowerMac 7500 (w/ G4 upgrade card)

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