iPhone Calls Sound Weird? Try Turning Off Phone Noise Cancelation in iOS
A feature called “Phone Noise Cancellation” was introduced to the iPhone with iOS 7 which aims to reduce background ambient noise when on a phone call, but for some users it can sound strange and make their phone calls sound weird, or worse. This may be due to the ambient audio stream created by the feature. Apple describes the option as follows, “Noise cancelation reduces ambient noise on phone calls when you are holding the receiver to your ear.” In other words, because the feature only works the iPhone is held up to your head, you won’t notice it all if you tend to make iPhone calls through Bluetooth in a car, headset, speakerphone, or earbuds.
If you think your iPhone calls sound off but you can’t quite pinpoint why, or you feel a little weird when holding the phone to your head while on a call, try turning off the ambient noise reduction feature and see if that helps.
How to Disable Ambient Phone Noise Cancelation on the iPhone
- Open the “Settings” app and head to “General” and then to “Accessibility”
- Scroll down to the “HEARING” section and toggle the switch next to “Phone Noise Cancellation” to the OFF position
It’s impossible to say whether or not you’ll benefit (let alone notice) from keeping the noise reduction feature on or off, so you really should just try it out yourself by making a few phone calls with the feature turned on, and again with the feature turned off. For best results, make the same phone call to something like an automated message so everything sounds the same during the tests.
For what it’s worth, many users can’t tell the difference at all, but some with particularly sensitive hearing may instantly notice a difference in perception of calls and of call quality. There are even some mixed reports that the ambient noise reduction feature can cause discomfort, a weird pressure, or even nausea with certain individuals while on phone calls using the phones receiver up to their ear, so it’s certainly worth considering. Perhaps this even deserves a spot along with some other general iOS 7 usability tips, even though it’s not a visual difference, so thanks to CultOfMac for the tip.
If you’ve ever questioned the call quality or your sanity when making a phone call since updating an iPhone to the newest versions of iOS, try this out and see if it makes a difference. Let us know in the comments if you think it offers a meaningful change, one way or the other.