How to Improve the Sound of Music on your iPhone

Updated April 21st, 2020.

No, not that Sound of Music. I mean the sound of songs that you buy from iTunes and play on your iPhone.

UPDATE: Boom for iOS had an update 6-8-2016. Interface improvements, more options for shaping the sound, and a built-in Help page. It’s only 1.0.2, but there’s a lot of polish in it.

You know about Boom 2, the best way to get more sound out of your Mac. Now there’s Boom for iOS. Intended for use with headphones– any headphones, including the ones that come with the iPhone– Boom for iOS enhances the music that’s resident on your iPhone on the fly, as it plays. They give you a free five-day trial, not that it will take you five days to fall in love with it. Beyond five days, you’ll have to pay to unlock the app, and I think you’ll do it because Boom for iOS is fantastic. I’m using it now with my iPhone 6s and I can’t believe the improvement in the sound– it’s fuller, it’s richer, and I’m hearing things in my music that I didn’t know were there. I’m sold. You should try it.

UPDATE: Boom for iOS is also GREAT in the car, or with external speakers in the home.

Boom for iOS costs $4.99 but for the next little bit they’re having an introductory special: $2.99. That’s 40% off. Hurry up and try it so you get the discounted price should you decide to buy it.

Boom for iOS has one little limitation: it only works on songs that are physically stored on your iPhone. That means it can’t enhance streaming music. It can play streaming music, but it can’t enhance it. So download the songs you really like and let Boom for iOS operate on them.

Here’s Boom for iOS’s player screen.

Boom for iOS player screen
Boom for iOS player screen

It’s a fun interface, full of neat little touches. The yellow arc going around the circle shows you how far along the song has played, and you can scrub forward and back along the arc to fast-forward and rewind. Swipe left or right to play the next or previous song; press and hold inside the Now Playing circle to hear how the song sounds without enhancement. Fun stuff, and there’s probably more. Play around and see! If you find something cool let me know.

UPDATE: press and hold anywhere on the Now Playing screen to temporarily remove the enhancement. Let go and the enhancement comes back. Great way to hear how much better your music sound with enhancement on.

Tap the Effects button at lower center and you’ll see this screen:

Boom for iOS Effects screen
Boom for iOS Effects screen

There’s a master switch at top right to turn Boom for iOS on and off, and the rest of the options are nicely laid out below. The first thing to try is 3D Surround. Turn that on, then choose one of the 21 equalizer settings. The first one is “Auto,” which is great for when you’re feeling lazy. When you’re not feeling lazy, experiment with the various presets. There’s no free-form equalizer but for me that’s a good thing. The way Boom for iOS is set up, all you do is tap and listen. A pro might want more controls but for me the presets are more than enough.

Take a quick trip through the settings too (top left) to let Boom for iOS know whether you’re using fancy on-ear headphones (like those big Beats ones) or the ones that go in your ears, like the ones Apple supplies with every iPhone. There’s a timer in there too: tell the music to play for an hour, or two, or ten– and then stop automatically. Nifty.

In my experience, Boom for iOS does a great job of enhancing the songs stored on an iPhone. Some distortion occurs at very high volumes but you shouldn’t be listening so loud anyway. For “normal” volumes, and for “normal” ears, Boom for iOS is a huge plus.

You can get Boom for iOS from the App Store. Remember, you get a five-day trial for free, and it’s only $2.99 after that if you hurry up. I think you’re going to like it a lot– I do.

Copyright 2008-2023 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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