How to improve iPhone call sound quality

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

It’s strange how many really nice and useful features Apple builds into its operating systems, but then hides them. I use iOS, iPadOS and macOS every day and still regularly come across new features.

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This is a feature I’ve seen several times, but it’s one of those things that only shows up when certain conditions are met, and the rest of the time you don’t have access to it.

So it sort of disappears from memory until the next time it comes up again.

The other day I was playing around with a new version of Zoom and I noticed the feature appearing on my iPhone and decided to investigate further.

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The function is called language isolationand can be found at microphone modewhich appears on the control center Control panel on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

It’s a great feature that I suspect most people never see.

How to find it!

How to use microphone mode on iPhone

Before you get frustrated with the Voice Isolation or Wide Spectrum options in microphone mode, it’s important to note that this feature is only supported on the following hardware:


  • Models from 2018


  • iPhone SE (2nd generation and later)
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS/XS Max
  • iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12/12 Pro/12 Pro Max/12 mini
  • iPhone 13/13 Pro/13 Pro Max/13 mini
  • iPhone 14/14 Plus/14 Pro/14 Pro max


  • iPad mini (5th generation and above)
  • iPad (8th generation and higher)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11 inch (all generations)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 inch (3rd generation and above)

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Microphone mode is located in the Control Center panel.

As a reminder, you access Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen on iPhone and iPad, and by clicking the Control Center icon in the menu bar on Mac.

For the sake of confusion, note that microphone mode only appears when you’re running an app that supports this feature, such as B. FaceTime, Zoom, etc.

Not only do you need to be in an app that supports microphone mode – FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger Video to name a few, you also need to be in an active call for the option to appear in Control Center.

Just opening the app is not enough.

Microphone mode has three settings:

  • default
  • language isolation
  • wide spectrum

default is the default setting Apple uses, sort of a middle ground where the mic picks up your voice but also some of the surrounding noise.

wide spectrum lets the mic pick up everything, with an emphasis on capturing the surrounding noise as well. This can provide an immersive experience, but voice quality and clarity may suffer.

The setting you want to select for the best speech sound is language isolation. This will capture your voice and filter out as much of the surrounding noise as possible.

It’s like noise canceling, but for your voice.

Tap the one you want… and don’t worry, your call won’t drop or anything!

I tested this and it makes a big difference in voice quality; and I recommend using it language isolation for those times when you want your voice to be what gets noticed.

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