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
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

StoneJack Avatar
81 months ago
They are holding it wrong
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
billybobthornton Avatar
81 months ago
SE = sucky experience
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
81 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
81 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
81 months ago
iOS 9.3 is crap. The same for OS X 10.11.4.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GuitarMan0121 Avatar
81 months ago
#bluetoothphonecallaudioqualitygate
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 Said to Feature Upgraded H1 Chip, Find My, Heart Rate Detection, USB-C and More

Friday June 24, 2022 9:48 am PDT by
The next-generation AirPods Pro could come with a long list of new features that include heart rate detection, the ability to function as a hearing aid, and a USB-C port according to a report from 52Audio. The site claims that it has received new information on the AirPods Pro 2, and it has used that information to provide some renders on what the earbuds might look like. Design wise, there...
m2 mac mini screen feature

Gurman: Apple Planning M2 Pro Mac Mini, New Apple TV With A14 Chip, Revamped HomePod With S8 Chip, and More

Sunday June 26, 2022 6:31 am PDT by
In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman outlined additional M2 Macs on Apple's product roadmap, including new Mac mini models with M2 and M2 Pro chips, new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, and a new Mac Pro tower with M2 Ultra and "M2 Extreme" chips. Following the M2 series of Macs, Gurman said the first M3 series of...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple Rumored to Announce 'Game-Changer' AR/VR Headset in January 2023

Friday June 24, 2022 2:52 am PDT by
Apple is "likely" to announce its long-rumored mixed-reality headset as soon as January 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated. Concept render based on purported leaked information by Ian Zelbo In a detailed post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple's headset will be a "game-changer" for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market. Describing some of the headset's...
widgets ios 16 feature

Gurman: iPhone 14 Pro to Feature Always-On Display Showing iOS 16's New Lock Screen Widgets

Sunday June 26, 2022 7:36 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro models are widely expected to feature always-on displays that allow users to view glanceable information without having to tap to wake the screen. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman said the feature will include support for iOS 16's new Lock screen widgets for weather, fitness, and more. "Like the Apple Watch, the iPhone 14 Pro will be...