Disable Raise to Listen for Audio Messages in iOS to Prevent Weird Voice Text Behavior

Jan 4, 2015 - 7 Comments

Audio message in iOS

Raise To Listen is a handy feature in modern versions of iOS that allow you to literally raise your iPhone to listen to a received audio message and to respond by sending a new voice text. But the feature is not entirely reliable for all users (particularly those who use an iPhone case, more on that in a moment), and as a result it can cause some annoyances where a message is inadvertently marked as listened or played, and because audio messages remove themselves by default, those audio messages may disappear from your iOS device without ever actually listening to them. Perhaps even more annoying is that some third party cases and protective screen products may cause the Raise to Listen response feature to trigger at inappropriate times or cut off in the middle of a voice text, sometimes sending an audio message that is incomplete.


As you may have guessed by now, if audio messaging “Raise to Listen” is misbehaving, you can often resolve the trouble by removing the case or any third party protective screen layer from the iPhone. But going case-less is not always reasonable for some users who are prone to dropping their devices. Thus, troubleshooting Raise to Listen is difficult for those of us who rely on protective cases, so another option is simply disable the Raise to Listen and Raise to Respond feature for now and prevent any erroneous listening or response behavior.

  1. Open the “Settings” app and head to “Messages”
  2. Scroll down under ‘Audio’ and flip the switch for “Raise to Listen” to the OFF position

Raise to Listen and Raise to Respond to audio messages in iOS

Very straightforward, and while you’ll lose the Raise to Listen and Raise to Respond feature, this will also prevent the inconsistent behavior that causes messages to be read before hearing, or sent before being finished recording.

Interference with Proximity Sensor a Likely Cause of Weird Audio Message Behavior

So why does Raise to Listen not always work consistently, or erroneously detect that you are trying to listen to or record a message? It’s hard to say with complete certainty, but for many users the problem is not actually the Raise to Listen feature in iOS, but rather the third party case or protective shield they have placed on their iPhone. This is particularly true if the iPhone case is one of the bulky protective models, where it may be covering or clouding a portion of the proximity detector located near the earpiece speaker of the iPhone, which is pointed out here:

Proximity Sensor on the iPhone

This is quite easy to see on a white iPhone, but black iPhones hide the sensor very well making it nearly invisible. Similarly, many of the clear protective plastic shields that are placed on iPhone screens to protect them from scratching can interfere with Raise to Listen and cause it to behave strangely. Of course, another solution would be to cut out the portion of the plastic shield (or case) that covers that sensor, but with any bulk added to the iPhone it still may perform not quite as intended, so buying a case that does not interfere with the sensor may be a better solution. Or just disable the setting if you find it to be annoying.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

7 Comments

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  1. Wharf Xanadu says:

    I’ve never had this work reliably for me so I turned it off.

  2. Mathew says:

    Thank you!! What a life saver.

  3. Amanda says:

    Is there any way to turn off the audio feature in messenger? My phone always records pieces of my conversation and sends them without me realizing it! Am I the only one having this problem with the Audio Messages?

  4. Jay says:

    I agree with Amanda, I don’t when my phone will randomly record a snippet of conversation and then text it to someone. I hope that disabling the raise to listen setting will help.

  5. Danielle says:

    I have a brand new iPhone 5s and still have this issue. Im confused on why there are continuing to make this phone with a bug from when it came out. My phone does everything mentioned and would also stop responding when typing. Im soooo fed up with this stupid phone. Waste of my money! Bought in Oct, has been replaced twice, so this is my third phone. I paid straight cash for it. While someone else I know had one issue and they just upgraded him to a iPhone 6, which he is still making payments on the 5s and has two years of paying on it left. Yet they have refused to take more CASH from me to upgrade this stupid phone! Service quality and everything about the phone sucks! This phone sucks! Ready to sell ALL apple products in my house! iPod 4, iPod 5, iPad Air and this shitty phone!!

    • Goire says:

      This is a feature it’s not a bug, disable Raise To Listen if you don’t use the feature. It’s not a bug or anything wrong with your iPhone, it’s software. Take it into Apple and explain it to them if you can’t follow the instructions to disable Raise To Listen.

  6. Trisha says:

    Best solution: DOWNLOAD A NEW KEYBOARD!! The audio can’t be disabled because it’s part of the keyboard. This is the only solution that works with out having to hack into your own phone.

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