Most of us, although strenuous at times, prefer to always be up to date with incoming messages and app notifications. And we mostly prefer them with sound. However, it seems that notification sound is not working for all or some specific apps.
While it is more common that you’ll have problems with apps like Viber, WhatsApp, or text messages, the issue can appear on other apps as well.
Why my sound notifications are not working?
The most common reason why you can’t hear sound when you receive a notification is your sound settings. They can either be global settings or in-app settings. You need to make sure your notification settings are properly set up within each application as well as in the Sound settings of your phone.
Follow the below steps to try and fix the issue.
1. Reboot your device
Before you take more complex steps, rebooting your device might just fix the problem. As this might be the answer to almost any problem or glitch you face with your smartphone, you should try it in this case. You can either use the Restart option on your phone or turn it off and then turn it back on. Once your device is powered back on again, check to see if your sound notifications are working.
2. Make sure you are not in Mute mode
If the previous step didn’t resolve the issue, the first thing you should check before proceeding further is if your phone is in Mute mode. This step might be obvious and you probably already checked it, but note that the next steps might not work if you didn’t take care of this first.
To unmute your phone, go to Settings > Sounds and vibration, there are either options for Mute or Silent, depending on your phone. Make sure to disable both and enable Sound instead of Vibration. You also have the option to switch between Sound, Mute, and Vibration on your home screen. Swipe down from the top of the screen and check the options from there.
3. Increase ringtone/notification volume
Even if your sound is not muted, you still might not be able to hear sound notifications because of the volume settings. Most smartphones have a single volume setting that controls both ringtones and notifications. Make sure to higher up the volume settings by going to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Volume and increasing Ringtone volume.
If you are using Samsung Galaxy phones, you probably have ringtone and notifications volume settings divided. In that case, increase Notification volume.
You can also check those settings by pressing the volume up key on your device and tapping on the three dots icon. This will open a menu with multiple volume sliders that you can tweak. Notification volume is usually the one with the bell icon. If this slider is grayed out, you need to follow the second step and disable Mute mode.
4. Check options for each app individually
If you are not hearing notifications for a particular app, you might need to check if notifications are disabled for that app. Each app has different in-app options for sound settings. You should first check inside the app itself to see if anything is disabled regarding sound notifications.
If everything seems to be alright within in-app settings, the next thing you can try is to go to Settings > Apps and tap on the app that you have issues with. When you picked your desired app, you need to tap on Notifications and from there you need to make sure that Show notifications are enabled. Each application will have different options there, and you need to make sure to enable sound for the options you want. Xiaomi phones will Allow playing sound and Allow vibration options for every app in the app settings.
Additionally, you might fix the issue by clearing the cache of the app you are having a problem with. Same to the first step in this article, clearing the cache can fix lots of problems you face. To clear cache go to Settings > Apps, choose the desired app and go to Storage there you’ll have options Clear cache and Clear data.
5. Disconnect Bluetooth devices and disable separate app sounds
Make sure that you don’t have any external devices such as speakers or headphones connected to your smartphone with a Bluetooth connection. Having a connected device will make your phone play sounds on that external device, instead of your phone’s built-in speakers. To fix this, just make sure to disconnect any connected device in your Bluetooth settings or turn off that device. After that, notifications should play sounds on your smartphone’s speakers.
Additionally, if you are using a Samsung smartphone, check for Separate App Sound settings. If enabled, sounds for specifically selected apps will be played through different devices such as Bluetooth speakers. Be sure to check for this and disable those settings if your sound is not working for a particular app. Go to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Separate app sound and toggle it off if you don’t want to use it at all, or customize it according to your preferences if you want to keep using it for some of the apps.
6. Check for the Do Not Disturb Mode
Another possible cause for your notification sounds not working can be a Do Not Disturb (DND) mode. When enabled, it will give no reminders for incoming calls and notifications. Depending on your phone it can be located either in Notifications or Sound & vibration in your Settings. To disable it you just have to toggle it off.
7. Unmute Individual contacts
If you notice that you don’t receive notifications for specific contacts, you should check if those contacts are muted by accident. They will have a crossed-out bell icon on them. Different apps have different ways to unmute them. For example, in the Samsung Messages app, find a contact that you want to unmute, tap and hold the chat thread and click on the Notifications icon to turn on notifications.
As an alternative, when you tap on the three-dot menu in a chat thread, you will have options such as Unmute, Show notifications, etc. On Xiaomi Messages, when you tap the three-dot icon and go to Details > Notifications, you’ll have options such as Show notifications, Vibration, etc.
8. Check Messages Notification settings
The previous step covers the troubleshooting of not hearing notifications for specific contacts. If you have problems with all of your contacts, you should check the Settings within your Messages app. Tap on three-dot apps in your Messages app, and go to Settings > Notifications. If not, enable Show notifications and proceed to tweak options such as Allow playing sound and Allow vibration.
9. Check Third-party and Sleeping apps
Sometimes a third-party app can hamper your sound settings. You should check if you recently installed some apps such as battery savers, security apps, anti-viruses, etc. Those apps have a habit of sacrificing some settings to better optimize your RAM or power saving.
Additionally, for the same optimizing reason, your phone might have put some apps in sleeping mode. When apps are in sleep mode, they won’t run in the background and won’t send any notifications.
For Samsung devices, those settings can be located at Settings > Battery / Device care > Background usage limits. From there you’ll find options for Sleeping apps and Deep sleeping apps where you can remove apps you don’t want to have in sleeping mode.
For some other smartphones, you can find those options in Settings > Apps. For Xiaomi phones, go to Settings > Apps > Manage apps, pick the desired app, and go to Battery saver there you will have multiple options on how you want your app to behave regarding power saving under the Background settings.
10. Reset all settings
If none of the above works, the last option you should try is to reset all your settings. Note that this will reset all your settings, such as app preferences, WiFi settings, etc. Make sure to have a backup of all your data, as depending on what options you have available for your phone, it might also remove all your data. Factory reset options are located in Settings > System / Additional settings. Some Samsung devices also have Settings > General Management > Reset > Reset all settings which won’t delete your data, only reset your settings.
We hope that the listed methods will help you fix your problem. If you have any other ideas and suggestions on how to fix problems with sound notifications not working on your phone, please leave a comment below.
Editor’s note: This article was initially published in November 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.