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Fix your iPhone audio issues with call audio routing

Third 3rd Party Headphones Problems Using iPhone Mac
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If you have an iPhone or know someone who has one, then you have experienced this: Incoming call. Answered call. An awkward silence... "Hello, hello, can you hear me?"... A few seconds later: "Yes, now I can hear you!" This is an issue that often occurs when using Bluetooth headsets connected to the iPhone, but the good news is that it is easily solved by using the right setup.

In recent months many people have come to me to complain about ongoing problems involving the pairing of Bluetooth headsets to the iPhone and other Apple devices. However, one of the big misconceptions is related to audio routing in voice calls. This is because it has nothing to do with whether the headphones are paired.

As soon as I bought my first iPhone, my biggest frustration was answering calls while using my Bose QuietComfort 35 II connected to the device—which was not the case with my Google Pixel 5 or Pixel 6 Pro. A classic example: my iPhone was in my backpack and a call came in. My first reaction was to answer the call on the Apple Watch. Instead of the audio being routed to the connected headphones, it tended to use the Apple Watch speaker by default.

Another constant habit was to use headphones while working on the computer. Since I keep my iPhone on my desk at work, I tended to take the call directly on my phone, which by default routes the audio to the iPhone speaker. The same thing happened whenever the cell phone was in my hand.

As you may have noticed, this is not a pairing problem, but a system configuration issue. When left in default mode, the audio routing in voice calls is set to "automatic". That is, the audio will be routed to the device on which you accept the call. If it is on the Apple Watch, the audio comes in via the Apple Watch; if it is on the iPhone, it will be routed to the phone's speaker, and so on.

Solution: If you want the call to always go to your headset regardless of which device you accept the call on, there is a specific setting for that in the Accessibility options. To do this, follow the path below:

  1. Open the System Settings.
  2. Navigate to the Accessibility option.
  3. In the Physical and motor category click on Touch.
  4. Here, scroll down the page until you find the Call Audio Routing option.
  5. Select Bluetooth Headset.

That's it! Now the audio from all your calls will be routed to your headset by default. If you are not using the headset, the call will be routed to the device on which you answer the call.

Screenshots showing how to set up Call audio routing on an iPhone
By accessing the "Call audio routing" option, you can set your headphones as the default audio routing on calls. / © NextPit

This may seem quite logical to some people, but for others, it is a source of frustration and discontent, especially with third-party headphones such as Bose, Sony, or Sennheiser used in conjunction with the iPhone. Below I share two other tutorials to improve your experience with your Bluetooth headphones:

Have you experienced this situation or know someone who is? I hope I've helped you better understand how certain system settings can make it easier to use peripherals in conjunction with your iPhone and other Apple devices.

Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi

With over 10 years of reviewing smartphones and wearables, I recently became addicted to smart home gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem two years back, Android remains as one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, I now write for the US market. I love my records and I believe that the best way to get to know a place is through its food. I’m (still) on Twitter (@apequenarinaldi)!

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