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Apple adds Voice Isolation to iPhone calls in iOS 16.4 after ditching noise cancellation

Published Mar 22nd, 2023 8:14AM EDT
iPhone 16
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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After disabling the noise cancellation feature for calls with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models, Apple will fix this issue by adding a new Voice Isolation function for cellular calls. While the company already offers Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum modes on FaceTime, Apple is expanding its once-existing feature with iOS 16.4.

This feature was made available with the Release Candidate version of iOS 16.4 – a nice last addition before the update is out to all users. With that, when Apple releases the software, users will be able to “prioritize their voices and block out ambient noise around them” during calls when enabling Voice Isolation.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. After starting a phone call with someone, open the iPhone’s Control Center;
  2. Tap Mic Mode;
  3. Choose the Voice Isolation option.

With this mode enabled, the iPhone will block out external sounds to focus on your voice. It means people around you, wind, or the traffic buzz won’t disturb you during a call. This works extremely well with wireless earbuds, such as the AirPods, as they tend to be more sensitive to outside noises.

That said, it’s worth noting that Apple isn’t bringing the Wide Spectrum feature to cellular calls. Wide Spectrum does the opposite of Voice Isolation, as it intensifies the capture of all sounds around you during calls.

If you don’t recall, back when the iPhone 13 was released, users on Reddit started complaining about the once-existing feature called noise-canceling. In Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual, you could turn on phone Noise Cancellation. But after Apple unveiled the iPhone 13, the feature was missing.

Customers contacted Apple, and while the company initially said it was a glitch or would be solved with a software update, the firm ultimately stated that Phone Noise Cancellation wasn’t available with the latest iPhone models.

Now, with iOS 16.4 a few days from being released, users will be able to enjoy better calls with the Voice Isolation feature.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.