On March 29, 2006, Apple added a new Volume Limit feature to currently shipping iPods and iPod nanos, enabling users – especially parents – to control the maximum volume level of these iPods. The feature is extremely easy to use, and gives parents the ability to pre-determine a safe listening level for their kids, using the iPod’s previously developed Screen Lock four-digit combination dial to lock that maximum level in place.

Using Volume Limit is easy. Select Settings from the iPod’s main menu, and you’ll see an option called Volume Limit. Choosing that option will lead to this screen:


You’ll see the iPod’s standard volume bar, with its peak volume at the right, and a small triangle underneath. By moving the iPod’s volume level to the left or right, you can test an appropriate value with attached headphones, and press the iPod’s center button to lock that level in place. The triangle will move to that point to signal where the volume cap has been applied.


As soon as the level has been set, the iPod will bring up a screen enabling you to set a four-digit combination code that will prevent other users from changing the volume cap. If you don’t want to set a code, choose Done; the volume cap will be applied, but any user can easily change it. Otherwise, choose Set Combination.


This combination dial will appear. Brushing your finger against the Click Wheel will spin the dial; pressing the Center button will select a number from 0-9 for each of the four digits. Remember – perhaps even write down – the number you select. Once you’ve picked four numbers, the iPod’s volume will be locked, and any attempt to change it will be met with this similar screen. Enter the right combination and you can make any change you desire.


Impressively, Apple’s Volume Limit leaves the iPod’s volume meter looking basically identical to its prior form – you can still move all the way to the right or left, but now the maximum has been redefined: all the way to the right is now only as loud as it was at the triangle marker you previously set on the full meter. Sound aside, there’s only one clue that the volume has been capped: the right speaker icon on the volume slider transforms into a lock when you hit the capped peak. Remove the cap, and the lock icon will disappear.


Be aware: different headphones and different songs have different maximum volume levels, so set the limit with the same headphones and songs you’re concerned about. And most bottom-mounting accessories, such as third-party (non-Apple) remote controls, will not support the volume cap. For additional information, including what to do if you forget your code, see Apple’s official support document on the new Volume Limit feature, and its new Sound information page.