How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

By default, iPhones use noise cancellation to reduce ambient background noise on phone calls placed through the Phone app. While noise cancellation is great for most calls, some people find it disorienting. If that’s the case, it’s easy to completely turn off. Here’s how.

What Is Phone Noise Cancellation?

Phone noise cancellation, first introduced in iOS 7, monitors levels of ambient background noise and produces an inverse audio signal to cancel that background noise out, so you don’t hear it on a phone call. The technology works best with continuous low-level background noise, and it typically works very well. But sometimes it can produce an eerily quiet phone conversation or unsettling audio artifacts when dealing with unpredictable sounds, such as small crowd noises or low-level background music.

Also, some people find the noise-cancellation effect physically uncomfortable (similar to issues with noise-canceling headphones), especially when using a headset. Luckily, phone noise cancellation is easy to turn off on the iPhone using Settings.

How to Turn off Phone Noise Cancellation on iPhone

First, open the “Settings” on your iPhone.

How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

In Settings, navigate to “Accessibility.”

How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

Scroll down to the Hearing section and tap “Audio/Visual.”

How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

Tap the “Phone Noise Cancellation” switch to turn it off.

How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

You might want to go back one screen to make sure the change registers. You can then exit Settings. The next time you place or receive a phone call, noise cancellation will be disabled.

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How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

A feature called “Phone Noise Cancellation” is available on iPhone 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 iPhone

  1. Open the “Settings” app and head to “General” and then to “Accessibility”
  2. Scroll down to the “HEARING” section and toggle the switch next to “Phone Noise Cancellation” to the OFF position

How to disable phone noise cancellation on iphone

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.

This feature has been around quite a while and is supported by just about every modern iPhone, though technically it requires iPhone be running version 7 of iOS system software or later, and it remains available in all modern iOS versions too.

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 this feature turned off or on provides a meaningful change, one way or the other.