Last fall, Apple launched the iPhone 13. The new iPhones offered a number of exciting new features, including the Super Retina XDR display with an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz, three new cameras, the A15 Bionic chip, and support for up to 1TB of storage. Apple also decreased the size of the notch, which we expect to vanish altogether by this fall.
But something else vanished when the iPhone 13 came out. As 9to5Mac reported last month, Phone Noise Cancellation is no longer available in the Accessibility settings on any iPhone 13 model. At first, users assumed that its omission must have been a mistake. Presumably, Apple would add it back in a future update. But now Apple has confirmed that the feature is gone for good.
Apple removes Phone Noise Cancellation
Right before Christmas, an iPhone owner took to Reddit with a complaint. The user explained that one of the options in the Accessibility menu was no longer appearing on their iPhone 13. Previously, in the Accessibility > Audio/Visual menu, there was a Phone Noise Cancellation feature that could “reduce ambient noise on phone calls when you are holding the receiver to your ear.”
For whatever reason, Apple didn’t include this setting on any of the four iPhone 13 models. It was not immediately clear why Apple would choose to eliminate such a basic feature. After all, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro phones have all of the necessary hardware for noise cancellation.
Nearly a month later, Apple has finally resolved the issue once and for all. Unfortunately, it is not the resolution that iPhone owners were likely anticipating.
Apple Support says “too bad”
A 9to5Mac reader told the site that “after working with Apple and a senior advisor for months saying to wait for an update to fix the issue, I got an update regarding the issue, and apparently, it won’t be fixed and noise cancelation is intentionally disabled for those devices for unspecified reasons.”
In case you thought Steve, the reader, might be exaggerating, here’s the company’s response:
We have an update on this. Phone Noise Cancellation is not available on iPhone 13 models, which is why you do not see this option in Settings.
Steve followed up to confirm that the omission was not in fact due to a software bug. Apple Support assured him that this was not the case, and that the feature simply isn’t supported:
That is correct. It is not supported. If you would like to leave feedback about this feature, please feel free to visit: apple.com/Feedback.
This is clearly an unsatisfactory conclusion to the story for Apple fans that expected the feature to be available on their new phones. Apple has yet to explain why it removed Phone Noise Cancellation. The company also hasn’t stated whether or not the feature could return on future iPhone models. Reports suggest that the third-generation iPhone SE might debut as soon as this March. We will be curious to see if the accessibility feature is present or not on Apple’s next smartphone.