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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Google Nexus Sound Mute Problem

So, my Google Nexus 4 suddenly went mute. I did a quick check to find out that it's only video and applications which have their volume stuck at 0; the phone itself was ringing fine; even the alarm function was working. This relieved me because it meant that the speaker itself wasn't faulty.

As with all software problem, a complete reboot came to mind. Unfortunately, that didn't help either. I even tried rebooting it to Safe Mode but with no luck---games, videos stored on the phone and Youtube all seemed to be completely silent.

The next idea was to check the phone with headphones, and to my surprise, things were fine if I plugged in a headphone. It was just the speaker which wasn't being used!

Some interesting articles on the web told me about similar situations where the audio which previously worked fine had stopped working; although all of these cases were a little di
fferent from what I was facing:

Similar Android Problems


Google Nexus Android Mute BugAndroid Bug: Volume for "media" stuck muted until device is rebooted is a bug reported for Android 4.2.1, which seems to remain unfixed till June 2013 (from the comments in the bug report). Interestingly, this one is an Android bug and effects all phones, including Galaxy SIII. The problem here seems to go away if the device is rebooted but that was not the case with me.

Another problem reported on Google forums is a sound problem which affects both speakers and headphones. You can see in the comments that people have different variations to this and no solution has been posted by anyone.

Many people suggest that if you face this problem, you have a third party application which is not letting your phone restore the volume. If reboot doesn't work, perhaps you should uninstall any recently added mobile phone applications?

What finally worked for me!

And then I came to know about SoundAbout. This nifty application allows you to redirect your sound forcefully to one of the many audio output devices associated with your phone: external speaker, wired headphone, HDMI, Bluetooth, etc. There is a PRO version too, but the basic, free version was good enough to fix the issue for me.


The screenshot from Sound About on the right shows you the relevant screen in the application. By default, things are set to let the application to decide where to send the sound output. I changed it to "Speaker" and then played videos---Voila! Everything was back to normal! I changed the settings back to "Let App Decide" and things were still normal. I uninstalled Sound About, and yet the phone was still behaving as normal.