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Tuesday April 10, 2012 4:56 pm

Ask Andru: How can I make my iPad louder?

In today's Ask Andru column, we get a question about an issue with the iPad that we've actually experienced ourselves for years. Ever since the release of the original iPad, it's been painfully obvious that the speaker on the Apple tablet isn't exactly up to snuff. It's fine if you're somewhere quiet, but go somewhere that has any ambient noise, and all of a sudden it's a challenge to enjoy any audio-based entertainment. So, on to the submitted question:

I love my new iPad, but I wish it were louder. It seems that everything about the new iPad is high-quality, with the exception of the speaker! Is there any way I can get more volume out of this thing?

I hear you! As I said earlier, the low volume issue has been around since the very first iPad. When the iPad 2 was released, the speaker grille was larger, and many assumed that this meant that the device would be louder. Unfortunately, despite the visual cue, the iPad 2 suffered from the same issue, and the new third-generation model (see our new iPad review) seems to have the exact same speaker as its predecessor. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the frustration.

iPad speaker grille

There are a couple of things you can do. First, if you're willing to jailbreak your iPad, you can download Volume Booster 4.0 from Cydia. This is an app that lets you tweak the maximum volume that your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch can output. However, jailbreaking is for advanced users. If that's not you, there's still hope.

There are a few accessories out there that can make it easier to hear your iPad, like this one called Volume. It snaps onto the iPad, over the speaker, and redirects the sound so that it comes straight towards you. If that sounds like it wouldn't work, you can actually test it with your hand. Play a song or video on your iPad, and cup your hand around the back of the speaker, leaving an open space between the bottom of the iPad and your palm. You'll notice an immediate difference (and hey, that solution is free!) 

You can also pick up a portable Bluetooth speaker, which the iPad can send its audio feed to, but that's another gadget to carry. If you're at home, you can use the $99 Apple TV, which has AirPlay built-in. You can send audio and video to it, and use the speakers on your television or home theater system in this scenario. Oh, and don't forget about headphones as another option.

Of course, these are all add-on solutions, and none of them change the fact that the new iPad speaker isn't the best, due to the thinness of the device. Let's just hope that by the time the 2013 iPad model comes around, that Apple's figured out how to squeeze a bit more volume out of it!

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