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Apple removed this feature for the iPhone 13 — and users are upset

iPhone 13 Pro Max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple has stirred up controversy by removing iPhone features — from the headphone jack to the charger. But this missing feature for the iPhone 13 has mostly flown under the radar until now.

The latest iPhones do not support noise cancelling for phone calls like previous models. 

As reported by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab), Apple Support via Twitter confirmed that “Phone Noise Cancellation is not available on iPhone 13 models, which is why you do not see this in Settings.”

The Phone Noise Cancellation feature was previously available under Accessibility settings as an option you could toggle on and off. It was designed to reduce ambient background noise on phone calls when holding the iPhone’s receiver to your ear. 

Power users apparently really liked this feature and noticed it was missing. A Reddit user (opens in new tab) started asking about this omission on the iPhone 13 a month ago and claims that “if you’re on the street or in a loud bus, the person you’re calling won’t understand a thing.”

Phone Noise Cancellation on iPhone 12

The Phone Noise Cancellation feature is on the iPhone 12 but is missing from the iPhone 13.  (Image credit: Future)

Initially the Reddit poster said Apple support confirmed that Apple engineers are working on it, but the most recent update is that Apple has no plans to offer Phone Noise Cancellation at all on the iPhone 13. 

There’s also been a separate thread in Apple’s support (opens in new tab) forum since October started by user rpwils2 who complained about noise cancelling missing from their iPhone 13 Pro Max. They complained that “when I use FaceTime and talk via the speaker my voice cuts out.”

The most popular reply to this thread from user dagocarlito said at the time that this was a “known issue they are working on with no resolution timeline at the moment. This issue also creates problems with echos on CarPlay when talking between iPhone 13’s. It is a major flaw that needs to be resolved asap.”

To be fair, there is a separate Voice Isolation feature in Control Center that you can activate during a call, but voice isolation is not the same as noise cancellation. Apple says if you want to leave feedback about this feature you can go to apple.com/feedback (opens in new tab).

Apple could conceivably bring back phone noise cancellation for the iPhone 14 but right now we wouldn't bet on it. In the meantime, you might want to use the AIrPods Pro or AirPods Max, which have active noise cancellation, or check out one of the best noise cancelling headphones on our list. 

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.