How to turn off stereo on AirPods / headphones

iPhone stereo speakers

AirPods and headphones connected to the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch normally deliver audio in full stereo. In fact, even the external speakers on recent models offer stereo sound. However, there are times when mono audio may be preferred. One reason why iPhone owners might disable stereo would be to share AirPods or a single set of headphones between two people.

Without using mono mode, one of the AirPods would sound different when playing a stereo recording. Stereo sound works by delivering different sounds that are synced to the left and right ears. Listening to only one speaker or headphone only paints half the picture.

Flattening the sound to mono ensures both AirPods are playing the same thing. The option to enable mono audio mode is not located in the AirPods settings. To find the toggle that switches stereo sound OFF follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings -> General
  2. iPhone turn off stereo 1
  3. Select Accessibility
  4. iPhone turn off stereo 2
  5. Scroll to the Hearing section and toggle Mono Audio ON (green switch)
  6. iPhone turn off stereo 3

Audio will be delivered in mono mode until Mono Audio is switched OFF. Once toggled again, the iPhone reverts back to its default stereo sound.