Many iPhone SE Users Experiencing Bluetooth Phone Call Audio Issues [Fixed]

Over the past two weeks, an increasing number of iPhone SE early adopters have reported audio issues with Bluetooth phone calls when the smartphone is paired with a vehicle or wireless headset. The issue extends to GPS voice navigation for some, but streaming music over Bluetooth appears to be unaffected.

iPhone-SE-bluetooth
Specifically, dozens of users in the Apple Support Communities and MacRumors discussion forums claim to be experiencing distorted, staticky, or inaudible phone calls when using an iPhone SE over Bluetooth. Many of those affected noted that their previous iPhone model had "crystal clear" audio quality.

MacRumors reader HickDead recently posted a forum topic to share his experience:

I actually had to return my SE back to Verizon because my Bluetooth calls reception quality was terrible. Playing music or YouTube videos through the Bluetooth was excellent but when it came to phone calls, the sound was constantly cutting in and out and sounded "scratchy" and distorted.

Never had this issue with my previous 6S or my work-issued Android phone. Tried my SE in a different vehicle and got the same results. I've unpaired and repaired and I even restored my SE and set up up as a new device but nothing has worked.

Based on crowdsourced information, the issue appears to affect all iPhone SE models running iOS 9.3 or 9.3.1, regardless of carrier or model, in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, U.K., and possibly elsewhere. The first iOS 9.3.2 beta does not appear to resolve the problem.

The issue does not appear to be isolated to any particular carmaker, as customers have reported identical issues with vehicles sold by Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and many other makes and models.

It remains unknown if the problem is rooted in software or hardware, but a number of affected customers have attempted basic troubleshooting without success, including restoring the iPhone SE, resetting network settings, un-pairing and re-pairing Bluetooth, toggling cellular data, and changing SIM cards.

Some users that contacted Apple support by phone claim to have been escalated to higher-level iOS advisors that asked for log files. At least a few customers received confirmation that Apple engineers are aware of the Bluetooth issues internally and are working on a fix, but the timeline remains unclear.

Apple Support Communities user Ross_H_D posted this message on April 9:

I have been working with a high level support person who has assured me he is working directly with engineering. Apple has very much become engaged in this issue. They have had me do extensive testing of various conditions in order to document and troubleshoot. Further, there is an internal "Issue" board and tracking system for Apple support and this BT issue is on the top of the list. It was conveyed to me that this has become a very real issue internally and resources are now committed to its resolution.

This type of problem is not unprecedented. In early October 2014, some users experienced trouble pairing their devices to their car audio systems over Bluetooth after upgrading to iOS 8 or purchasing a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The problems appeared to be fixed when Apple released iOS 8.1 later that month.

Update: Apple has released iOS 9.3.2 with a fix for iPhone SE Bluetooth issues.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2020
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

StoneJack Avatar
71 months ago
They are holding it wrong
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
billybobthornton Avatar
71 months ago
SE = sucky experience
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
71 months ago
Ahhh, the future!!! Now get rid of that "antiquated" headphone jack in all devices because we all desperately need "thinner" so badly we'll happily kick out ubiquitous "just works" for proprietary and/or accessory dongles... and then pay more for the latter in both cost and carry. We'll even spin it as better to each other (making up weak rationale and trying to sling it again and again until some believe it to be true), and/or beat down those who question (anything) along these lines.

The FUTURE!!! Bring it on. ;)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mike Oxard Avatar
71 months ago

MacRumors reader HickDead ('https://forums.macrumors.com/members/hickdead.646699/') recently posted a forum topic ('https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/distorted-audio-on-phone-calls-over-bluetooth-iphone-se.1965440/') to share his experience:
Excellent user name ;)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogi Avatar
71 months ago
iOS 9.3 is crap. The same for OS X 10.11.4.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GuitarMan0121 Avatar
71 months ago
#bluetoothphonecallaudioqualitygate
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...