This Secret Apple iOS Hack Will Make Your iPhone Calls Much Clearer

Give your calls a boost in four easy steps. The person you're talking to will thank you.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Zachary McAuliffe
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iPhone 15 Pro Max

This trick helps ensure others on a phone call can hear you.

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While Apple released iOS 17.5 on May 13, adding a new puzzle game and third-party tracker detection to your iPhone, the tech giant brought a feature to your iPhone that could make your phone calls sound much better when it released iOS 16.4 more than a year ago.

Apple released that update in March 2023, and it brought Voice Isolation for phone calls on iPhone. Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum added to FaceTime calls were included in the release of iOS 15 in 2021, but only Voice Isolation is available for phone calls now. 

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When enabled, Voice Isolation muffles distracting background noises that interrupt your phone call. That way, if you're on a business call or catching up with friends, you won't be interrupted by your dog's barking or construction outside your home. 

To enable Voice Isolation, you have to be on a phone call, and you won't find the feature in Settings. Once you turn Voice Isolation on, it will stay on for all subsequent phone calls until it's turned off.

Here's how to activate and disable Voice Isolation for phone calls.

How to enable Voice Isolation

1. Start or answer a phone call.
2. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen to access your Control Center.
3. Tap Mic Mode near the top-right corner of your screen. 
4. Tap Voice Isolation

Pro tip: Instead of turning this feature on during a call with someone else, you can call yourself and enable Voice Isolation by following the steps above.

To disable Voice Isolation, follow the same steps above and tap Standard in Mic Mode. This will return your microphone back to its default setting.

What is Wide Spectrum?

Alongside Voice Isolation in Mic Mode is Wide Spectrum. Unlike Voice Isolation -- which muffles background sounds -- Wide Spectrum amplifies background sounds without affecting your voice.

Mic Mode displays a message that Wide Spectrum is currently unavailable

A message in Mic Mode says Wide Spectrum isn't available on phone calls.

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Wide Spectrum is useful for calls with multiple people on one phone line. That way, everyone can be heard, not just the person holding the phone. 

Currently, Wide Spectrum is only available for FaceTime calls, not phone calls. Since the feature is still present in Mic Mode when accessed during a phone call, this feature might become available for phone calls in the future. 

For more on iOS 17, here's what was included in iOS 17.5 and here's our iOS 17 cheat sheet. You can also check out what we want to see in iOS 18 at WWDC 2024.

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