Not-so-known feature greatly improves phone calls on iPhone

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Did you know that there is a feature that can improve the quality of your phone calls on iPhone? Called speech isolation, this feature uses artificial intelligence to remove background noise from the environment, which can make it harder for the person on the other end of the line to hear you clearly. Sounds entering your iPhone’s microphone are aggressively filtered.

Speech isolation makes your voice sound great with no ambient noise to interfere with your phone conversation

Initiate a FaceTime call, then go to Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner of your iPhone and pressing the button titled Mic Mode. By default, it is set to Standard, although there are two other options: Speech Isolation and Wide Spectrum. The latter setting allows the people you are speaking to on the other end of the phone call to hear more background noise. We bet you probably don’t have too many people you speak to on the phone who would ask you to turn up the volume of traffic noise like sirens, horns, yelling and more.

And then there’s voice isolation. When you enable that setting, iPhone isolates your voice, making it sound closer to the person on the other end of the line. It also removes any echo and removes unwanted background noise. Think of this as the Magic Eraser for your iPhone phone calls. When you use Speech Isolation, you have to set it up on every app you use to make calls. It also doesn’t work with every app.

Speech isolation doesn’t work with regular phone calls, for instance, which, to be honest, is where you wish it would work in the first place. The edge notes that the feature does support Snapchat, WhatsApp, Slack, Signal, and Instagram; it works with Zoom on iOS but not with TikTok. And speech isolation works whether you’re on a video and audio call or just an audio call.

Watch our video showing how well speech isolation works

Now I can hear exactly what you’re thinking. You say (in your head, of course), “Hey Alan, if speech isolation is so great, why don’t you guys have something that lets us hear how good this feature is?” Last September, my colleague Preslav not only showed us in a YouTube video how great Voice Isolation is, he also showed us the results of reading the book “How to play barre chords and rhythm guitar like Brian Jones in 10 easy steps

Speech isolation can be found on iPhone models powered by the A12 Bionic chipset or later, running iOS 15 or later. That means speech isolation is available on the following iPhone models:

  • iPhone XS.
  • iPhone XS Max.
  • iPhone XR.
  • iPhone11.
  • iPhone 11 mini.
  • iPhone 11 Pro.
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max.
  • iPhone 12.
  • iPhone 12 mini.
  • iPhone 12 Pro.
  • iPhone 12 Pro max.
  • iPhone 13.
  • iPhone 13 mini.
  • iPhone 13 Pro.
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max.
  • iPhone SE2.
  • iPhone SE3.

Again, remember that your phone must have iOS 15 or later.

You also think there’s something really Google-esque about speech isolation and wondered if Google has a similar feature on the Pixel 6 series. Google offers adaptive sound on the Pixel 5, Pixel 4a and the Pixel 6 series. Rather than trying to make loud one-time background noises disappear, it uses your Pixel’s microphone to determine the noise level in the background and adjusts the software to improve the quality of the sound coming out of the speaker.

The difference is that Apple’s Voice Isolation improves the quality of a phone call for the person on the other end of the line. Adaptive Sound improves the quality of the sound coming out of the speaker for your benefit. To make sure Adaptive Sound is turned on (or off if that’s what you prefer), go to SettingsSound & vibrationAdaptive Sound† You can enable or disable the feature.

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