How To Disable Noise Cancellation On iPhone [iOS Tips]

noise cancellation

Some folks find that the iPhone’s noise-cancellation feature causes a weird, uncomfortable sensation. It’s a product of the way the technology works, as Apple Discussion member KiltedTim says, linking to HowStuffWorks:

“In order to cancel out background noise, the sound is not “eliminated” from the audio stream you’re hearing. It is countered by a second audio stream that basically eliminates your ability to hear it.

Since the sound and the “counter sound” are still hitting your eardrum, this can result in an odd sensation. Your ear is processing the sound, but your brain isn’t registering it. Since the inner ear controls balance, this will produce a dizzying effect in some people.”

If this is bothering you, here’s how to turn off the noise-cancellation feature, which Apple added to iOS 7. (Originally exclusive to the iPhone 5s, noise cancellation is now available to older devices in iOS 7.1.)

Launch your Settings app with a tap, then tap the General button. Next, find the Accessibility tab and tap there. Swipe down to the Hearing section to find the Phone Noise Cancellation toggle. Tap on the switch to the right to set it Off.

This should help you with any odd sensations caused by noise cancellation when you’re using your iPhone. To turn the feature back on again, simply toggle the switch back to On.

  • Ronald Ridderhof

    It’s not visable on my 5c. And it has updated to 7.1.1

    • perpetuallearner

      it’s not visible on my iPhone 4 either, and it has been updated to 7.1.1, too. I’ m not sure what the author means by “older devices”.

  • Guest

    If only I could disable noise cancellation on my iPhone 5 running iOS 6. (And before someone says, “Why not upgrade to iOS 7?”, my “pre-response” is that I don’t want to. I simply prefer iOS 6 (jailbroken).

    Apple was kind enough to add noise cancellation to the iPhone 5, but really should have let the user decide whether we wanted to use it or not.

    • leftoverbacon

      If you’d read the article, you’d see that the noise cancellation feature was added w/ iOS 7.

      If you’re running an iPhone 5 w/ iOS 6, this article doesn’t apply to you at all.

      • Guest

        If I read the article?? How condescending. Of course I read the article. If you read •my• post, you’d realize I made it clear that I was running iOS 6. Therefore, I made a reasonable comment about wishing it were available as an option on iOS 6. FYI, the original post is not entitled “How To Disable Noise Cancellation On iPhone Running iOS 7.”

        I get that you’re one of the people I specifically indicated might write such a response about me not being on iOS 7, but you hardly need to accompany your remark with an admonishment and an insult. You might save your sharpness for a more worthy occasion.

      • leftoverbacon

        FTA: “here’s how to turn off the noise-cancellation feature, which Apple added to iOS 7. (Originally exclusive to the iPhone 5s, noise cancellation is now available to older devices in iOS 7.1.)”

        This noise cancellation was NEVER available to you. Did you miss the part where it was EXCLUSIVE to the 5s, and only added to older devices if upgraded to iOS 7.1

        I think you’re the one who has the lack of reading comprehension and the condescending attitude. You’re complaining about something that has no bearing on your particular setup.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreRob LeFebvre is an Anchorage, Alaska-based writer and editor who has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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