Why is my iPhone music cutting in and out?

It can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to listen to music on your iPhone, only to have it start cutting in and out. The choppy audio ruins the listening experience and makes it hard to enjoy your favorite songs and podcasts. Luckily, there are a few common reasons why your iPhone music cuts out intermittently, and some simple fixes you can try to resolve the problem.

Check Your iPhone’s Storage

One of the most common culprits of iPhone music cutting out is insufficient storage space. Here’s how iPhone storage can cause choppy music playback:

  • As your iPhone’s storage fills up, there is less room for the music app to cache songs for smooth streaming. This can lead to stuttering as the app struggles to load the audio in time.
  • Low storage also slows down overall iPhone performance, including responsiveness of apps. A sluggish music app can cut in and out.
  • Insufficient storage may prevent your iPhone from downloading full high-quality audio files. Lower quality tracks take up less space, but don’t sound as good.

Try checking your iPhone’s storage in Settings > General > iPhone Storage. If you’re using over 85% of your total capacity, lack of free space may be the reason behind choppy music playback.

To free up storage space:

  • Offload unused apps
  • Delete or sync photos and videos to cloud storage services like iCloud
  • Remove downloaded music, podcasts, and audiobooks you no longer listen to
  • Turn off “Automatic Downloads” for music, apps, etc in iTunes & App Store settings
  • Stream music instead of downloading songs

Clearing up a minimum of 5GB or more of free space can go a long way in preventing iPhone music from cutting out.

Update to the Latest iOS Version

Keeping your iPhone’s operating system up-to-date is key for enjoying glitch-free music playback. Apple issues periodic iOS updates to fix bugs, optimize performance, and improve stability of apps like Music.

However, many users delay installing the latest iOS updates due to concerns like battery life impact or app compatibility issues. But sticking with an outdated OS can directly contribute to problems like choppy audio.

To update your iPhone to the most recent iOS version:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General > Software Update
  3. Download and install any available iOS updates
  4. Restart your device after the update is complete

Updating your OS should help music and other media run more smoothly if glitches were caused by bugs in the older OS. Do keep in mind future updates may again introduce new bugs or issues.

Check Lyrics & Album Artwork Settings

Having lyrics and album artwork automatically load in the Music app is a nice feature for enjoying songs. However, this can also bog down performance and cause music stuttering for iPhones with low memory or older models.

Disabling these visual elements can help allocate more resources solely for music playback instead of graphics processing:

  1. Go to Settings > Music
  2. Turn off “Show Apple Music Lyrics”
  3. Disable “Show Album Artwork”

This prevents CPU-intensive visuals from potentially interfering with smooth audio playback on constrained devices. You may lose out on some visual aesthetics, but should benefit from more consistent music playback. Give it a try if you notice hiccups when lyrics or album art are loading.

Reset Music App

Resetting the Music app can clear out any corrupted data or glitched settings that may be contributing to choppy music playback. Here’s how to reset your Music library and cache:

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
  2. Select Music under Apps
  3. Tap “Offload App” then “Reinstall App” to reset Music

This forces the Music app to start fresh while retaining your Apple Music subscriptions and playlists. Any glitches or bugs plaguing the old app instance will be eliminated.

An alternative is to uninstall Music entirely, reboot your iPhone, then redownload Music from the App Store. This gives you a 100% clean slate, but is more disruptive.

Disable Audio Normalization

The Audio Normalization setting in Music is designed to automatically even out the volume across songs and playlists. However, this can sometimes cause intermittent audio glitches as volume levels are dynamically adjusted.

You can disable volume normalization to prevent potential conflicts:

  1. Open Settings > Music > Playback
  2. Turn off Audio Normalization

Your overall volume across tracks may be less consistent. But the trade-off is continuous playback without volume adjustments causing possible pops or skips.

Enable Offline Mode

If you notice music cutting out primarily when you have a slow internet connection or no signal, try enabling Offline Mode:

  1. Open Settings > Music
  2. Toggle on Offline Mode

This prevents the Music app from trying to connect to Apple’s servers, which could be causing latency issues resulting in playback stuttering when connectivity is spotty. Offline mode forces music to play solely from your device’s storage for a smoother experience.

Close Background Apps

Too many apps running simultaneously can overload your iPhone’s available RAM, resulting in laggy performance. Try closing out any apps you aren’t using:

  • Double press the Home button to view open apps
  • Swipe up on each app preview to close it

This frees up system resources that Music can utilize for temporary caching and smooth streaming. Only keep essential apps open in the background when listening to music.

Disable EQ Presets

The various EQ presets available in Music tailor sound quality to different genres. However, applying heavy audio processing can be demanding for the iPhone’s processor.

If you normally have EQ enabled, try turning it off:

  1. Open Settings > Music > EQ
  2. Select Off

Running Music with EQ disabled eliminates potential glitches from audio effects changing sound in real time. Plain, unprocessed audio requires less computing power so may help minimize choppiness.

Turn Off Automatic Downloads

iOS and iTunes by default automatically download new music, apps, and books purchased on other devices. Continually downloading content in the background can congest your connection.

Disable auto downloads:

  1. Open Settings > iTunes & App Store
  2. Toggle off Music, Apps, Books under Automatic Downloads

This prevents your iPhone from grabbing new media while you’re listening to music. Manual downloads instead of automatic background downloading eliminates a potential bandwidth bottleneck.

Restart Your iPhone

Like any electronic device, simply restarting your iPhone periodically can clear out minor glitches that may be interfering with smooth operations.

To reboot your iPhone, hold down the Power button until the “Slide to power off” prompt appears. Shut down your phone, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on.

Restarting clears temporary memory caches, resets background apps, and reloads the OS to wipe away any minor bugs that could be causing music stuttering.

Update Carrier Settings

Your iPhone periodically downloads updated carrier profiles which optimize connectivity and performance for your cellular network. But bugs in outdated carrier settings files can disrupt audio streaming.

You can manually initiate a carrier update:

  1. Open Settings > General > About
  2. Wait a few seconds for the update prompt to appear
  3. Tap Update when prompted to download newest carrier settings

This refreshes the essential data your iPhone needs to communicate properly with your mobile network. Eliminating any carrier-related issues can help stabilize music playback.

Disable Cellular Data

Choppy iPhone music when you’re out and about may indicate a weak cellular signal is interfering with streaming. Try disabling cellular data temporarily:

  1. Open Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data
  2. Toggle Off Cellular Data

Now streaming will rely solely on locally cached music. This takes your cellular connection out of the equation for a short test to see if an unreliable signal is the root cause of cut-outs.

Reset Network Settings

Networking issues are commonly to blame for iPhone music buffering problems. Reset all network settings to troubleshoot connectivity problems:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset
  2. Select Reset Network Settings

This wipes all Wi-Fi passwords, cellular settings, and other network preferences. It forces your iPhone to freshly reconfigure mobile data and Wi-Fi connections from scratch.

Reset network settings if you suspect your current configuration has become corrupted and is plaguing music playback.

Check Streaming Quality

Lower quality audio streams can cut in and out instead of steady high-fidelity playback. Make sure streaming quality is set to high:

  1. Open Settings > Music > Cellular Data
  2. Select High Quality Streaming

Also check Settings > iTunes & App Store > Use Cellular Data to ensure you have “High Quality Downloads” enabled over cellular data.

Finally, connect to Wi-Fi for the highest quality streaming. Avoid relying on cellular for music if possible.

Increase Your iPhone’s Volume

Low sound levels that are barely audible can trick your brain into thinking playback is choppy. Try increasing the volume a bit:

  • Use the physical Volume Up buttons on the side of your iPhone
  • Or adjust volume in Control Center

Making the music louder may help mask minor cut outs. Just take care not to increase volume to dangerous levels that could damage your hearing.

Check Your Headphones

Before digging deep into iPhone issues, first consider whether the problem lies with your headphones:

  • Try different headphones or speakers to isolate the issue
  • Inspect headphones for damage like frayed wires
  • Clean headphone jack and ports on iPhone
  • Make sure headphone plug is fully inserted into jack

Headphone problems like a faulty cable can definitely cause sound to cut out randomly. Test with multiple audio devices to see if the problem is specific to one pair of headphones.

Factory Reset Your iPhone

If all else fails, a factory reset erases all data and settings and restores your iPhone to like-new condition. This wipes any problematic settings that could be messing with music playback.

Back up your iPhone to iCloud before resetting then choose Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Just be warned a factory reset is time consuming to fully restore your device afterwards.


Choppy, stuttering iPhone music playback can ruin your listening experience. But in many cases, simple fixes like freeing up storage, updating iOS, or toggling certain Music settings is all it takes to smoothly stream songs again.

Be methodical in troubleshooting the issue – try one solution at a time to isolate what’s working. Check both your iPhone and headphones to cover all bases. And resetting your device can act as a last resort if needed.

With the right tweaks and settings adjustments, you can get back to enjoying your music library and streaming apps without annoying audio glitches disrupting your tunes.

Cause Solution
Insufficient storage space Delete unused apps, photos, downloads to free up space
Outdated iOS version Update to latest iOS software update
Lyrics and album art enabled Disable lyrics and artwork in Settings > Music
Corrupted Music app data Reset Music app by offloading and reinstalling
Audio normalization on Turn off volume normalization in Settings > Music
Unreliable internet connection Enable offline mode or disable cellular data as a test
Too many background apps Force close all apps not in use
EQ presets enabled Turn off EQ presets under Settings > Music
Auto downloads enabled Disable auto downloads for music, apps, etc
Minor software glitches Reboot iPhone to restart the OS
Outdated carrier settings Trigger carrier settings update prompt
Cellular network issues Disable cellular data temporarily as test
Network configuration issues Reset all network settings on iPhone
Low quality audio streams Enable high quality streaming and downloads
Volume set too low Turn up volume using buttons or Control Center
Faulty headphones Try different headphones and inspect cables
Systemwide software issues Factory reset iPhone to wipe settings entirely