Apple iOS 16 update to make iPhone calls clearer
Have you noticed that your iPhone calls don’t sound as clear as those you make over FaceTime and WhatsApp? There’s a reason for that: Apple uses a feature known as voice isolation to block out the background noise in calls made over the internet.
Surprisingly, the noise-cancelling trick has been missing from regular phone calls. These are the calls you make using your phone’s network, which sees sound travel as analogue signals over cables and other communications infrastructure.
Now, Apple is about to address the issue with an upcoming update for iPhones in the coming days. When Apple releases the iOS 16.4 software, you’ll be able to use voice isolation to prioritise voices and silence the external sound around you.
Theoretically, that means people around you, wailing children, wind, traffic, and roadworks will no longer disturb you during a call. It could be especially useful for calls taken using headphones, such as AirPods, which are particularly sensitive to background noise.
The chances are, Apple will implement it in the same way as it did for voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls. If that turns out to be the case, here’s how you should be able to use it:
How to use iPhone voice isolation
The latest iOS 16.4 update will bring voice isolation to regular calls on supported devices, including the iPhone X and beyond.
Start a phone call with someone.
During the call, open the Control Centre by swiping down from the top right-hand corner of your screen.
Tap Mic Mode.
Choose the Voice Isolation option from the list.
On Apple devices, voice isolation has been available on internet-enabled calls since the launch of iOS 15 and macOS Monterey. Apple also offers another feature for these calls called Wide Spectrum, which does the opposite of voice isolation by allowing you to hear all the background noise during a call.
Notably, Apple appears to be backtracking with the release of the new feature. According to tech site BGR, Apple disabled noise cancelling for calls on the iPhone 13 and 14.