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Apple Improves Audio Messages Quality in iOS 12.2

In the iOS 12.2 beta, Apple has improved the quality of the audio messages sent in the Messages app after switching to a new Opus codec at 24000 Hz, up from the previously used AMR codec at 8000 Hz.

Details on the improvement in audio quality were shared on Twitter this morning, and we confirmed the change on our own devices. Apple previously used the .AMR file format for its audio messages, but in the beta, has swapped over to .CAF.

New audio file in iOS 12.2, old audio file in iOS 12.1.4

On iOS devices running iOS 12.2 or macOS 10.14.4, .CAF files sound much crisper, clearer, and louder, marking a significant improvement over the previous audio quality.

Right now, to hear the improved audio quality, audio messages need to be sent from a device running iOS 12.2 to a device running iOS 12.2 (or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14.4). An audio message sent to a device running iOS 12.1.4 uses the original .AMR file format and not the improved .CAF file format. The Twitter user who first shared the news has a comparison on Twitter:

The new 24000 Hz Opus codec appears to result in larger file sizes, but that shouldn't be much of an issue as Messages defaults to deleting audio content after just a few minutes.

All iOS users can expect to see significant improvements in audio message quality in the Messages app upon updating to iOS 12.2. We're expecting to see iOS 12.2 released shortly after Apple's March 25 event, as it will also allow Apple to enable the new Apple News subscription service that's set to be introduced.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

Top Rated Comments

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6 days ago at 09:41 am
FINALLY. I use this a lot, and have just taken to using the Voice Notes app and sending them that way. This is a much welcomed improvement.

Now can we just get a swipe and lock for longer audio messages?
Rating: 6 Votes
6 days ago at 09:46 am
Over 20 years of experience fiddling around with audio codecs and someone approved a 8000 Hz codec. Now that's a head scratcher.
Rating: 5 Votes
6 days ago at 10:15 am

Over 20 years of experience fiddling around with audio codecs and someone approved a 8000 Hz codec. Now that's a head scratcher.

Not a head scratcher at all. It's for compatibility with MMS in mixed messaging scenarios. AMR-NB is the standard codec defined there due to its use in GSM.

Follow the standard, people complain. Come up with your own standard, people complain...
Rating: 2 Votes
6 days ago at 09:57 am

It's about time we get up-to-date audio messaging where it no longer takes a few tries to figure what the person is saying.
Rating: 2 Votes
6 days ago at 11:05 am
I just want to be able to leave a voice message when someone does not answer a FaceTime or FaceTime Audio call... Come on Apple, what is holding this up?
Rating: 2 Votes
6 days ago at 11:30 am
WOW. I have been yelling and emailing Apple about this for ****ing years. Thank god.
Rating: 2 Votes
5 days ago at 12:17 pm

Core Audio Format files have nothing to do with Opus. You may have .CAF associated with Opus codec but that won't the reality moving foward. Apple will associate it with ALAC or AAC. It sure won't default to Opus.

Yah, you probably have a point that CAF is just a container around whatever codec is used much like QuickTime was a container for video files. I'm surprised that they weren't using AAC all along!?! I suspect they went with an 8kHz configuration to provide consistency across all possible carriers around the world. At least back on pre-3G days, transferring a 4kb file would be a lot better than 22kb, which is 5 times bigger! Yes, on slow networks, every byte matters.

Messages is so far behind on basic stuff, this is very welcome but please for the love of god also add:

-Individual message replies
-Improve UX to send multiple images inside messages, if you tap on "all photos" you can't even select multiple at once from there.

I think you may be missing something. Selecting multiple images inside Messages definitely works correctly. Tap as many photos as you want and they get added as a batch.

EDIT: You were referring to "All Photos"... yah, I see what you mean, but it doesn't take you out of the photo selection mode entirely. Just requires another tap on "All Photos". That is annoying.
Rating: 1 Votes
6 days ago at 09:56 am
I have to admit I’ve never used this.. this is like answering a phone call for me.. why not voice to text.. that’s just me.. it’s a nice service for those that may need to use them..
Rating: 1 Votes
6 days ago at 10:47 am
Now we can blame them for finishing our data plans because voice messages are too large :)
Rating: 1 Votes
6 days ago at 09:55 am
OK, I will give some props to Apple for this.
Rating: 1 Votes

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