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Apple iPhone SE Microphone Issue: Cannot hear sound, sound unclear during calls, microphone not working [Troubleshooting Guide]

There have been prior reports from some users of Apple’s special edition iPhone, regarding various issues with the iPhone’s microphone. Among the most prevalent concerns is on the microphone’s audio output during phone calls, which seemed to be so low or not audible. The same issue is transpiring while recording a video, or using other audio functions of the iPhone.

For example, during a phone call people from the other end were having trouble hearing the caller’s voice or vice versa. Some experienced similar problem while having phone conversations via FaceTime or making phone calls using a headset or Bluetooth device. For some reasons, their voice is hardly heard on the -other side.

What could have possibly caused this annoying problem to transpire on this smaller yet powerful iPhone? The answer to this question is explicated below this page along with the recommended workarounds and applicable troubleshooting methods to resolve the underlying cause. Thus, if you happen to come across this page while doing online searches for potential solutions to a microphone issue on the same iPhone device, then this content is for you. Read on to get help in fixing a problem with the iPhone SE microphone.

Now, before we proceed with our troubleshooting, if you have other concerns with your new iPhone SE, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already published some guides and tutorials. You may also contact us by completing our iPhone issues questionnaire. This is a free consultation servicer we offer and all we need is information about the problem. So please give us that so that we can help you better. 

Why does the iPhone SE microphone not working properly?

Device issues affecting the microphone component can either be due to software glitches or hardware damage. You can consider yourself somehow lucky if the microphone issue you are dealing with is software-related. In cases like this, you can still try some workarounds to attempt to fix the problem on your end without taking your device to an iPhone technician and pay for service or repair. However, if the hardware is to blame on your microphone problem, it’s already a different story. Majority, if not all hardware-related problems in mobile devices are likely to get fix by an authorized technician unless the user is fully equipped and capable to do the repair by himself. 

Software-related issues that can trigger microphone or audio problems on the iPhone would include but not limited to a corrupted file, misconfigured audio settings, software bugs or faulty updates. There are also other cases of audio or microphone issues that were tied to a faulty headset, Bluetooth speakers, or other audio devices paired with the iPhone SE for audio output. The use of incompatible iPhone cases or third-party iPhone accessories can also be the culprit.

  • Corrupted files – when corrupted audio or music files are played, there is a higher chance for errors to occur. Users may think it is the iPhone’s microphone or audio function that is showing bad symptoms but actually it’s a corrupted file that is not working properly.
  • Misconfigured settings – audio settings are also among the factors to consider when it comes to having sound issues using the iPhone’s microphone. For example, your iPhone has no sound because the volume is set to mute or the lowest level. That being said, check the volume settings first when dealing with no sound issues like when other people couldn’t hear your voice while having FaceTime chat or phone conversation. Another settings to consider checking on the iPhone SE is Bluetooth. It’s possible that your iPhone is not producing any sound simply because it’s currently paired with other Bluetooth-enabled devices like headsets or speakers.
  • Software bugs or faulty updates – although software updates are generally designed to keep iOS devices systems optimized, they too can contain some bugs inflicting post-update issues to arise. You can consider this a potential culprit especially if the microphone problem or sound problem on your iPhone started right after installing a software (iOS) update.
  • Third-party accessories – several cases of audio or microphone issues on the iPhone were tied to the use of third-party casing or iPhone accessories that are not compatible with the phone’s physical scheme. This is one of the main reasons as to why using original accessories for the iPhone like iPhone casing is highly recommended.
  • Hardware problem – another possibility as to why the iPhone SE microphone is not working properly or not producing any sound is because it’s damaged. The microphone can be damaged from a strong impact like when the iPhone was dropped. Exposure to liquid can also cause liquid damage on the microphone. Symptoms of physical and liquid damages can manifest later or soon after the incident of dropping or liquid exposure.

How to fix microphone issues on your iPhone SE?

Solutions may vary depending on the underlying cause of the microphone problem. You can work straight on what’s triggering the symptoms or try any other applicable workarounds as potential solutions. The first option is only best if you are certain on what’s causing the audio/microphone issue in the first place. Otherwise, you really have to consider a trial-and-error resolution approach.

Highlighted below are possible solutions and recommendations you can try to fix the iPhone SE microphone issue on your end. Be sure to test your device after completing each method, to determine whether the problem has already been fixed. Otherwise, proceed to the next applicable solution.

Step 1. Test the microphone on your iPhone.

Sometimes, phone conversations can be halted by network issues. For example, issues on low to no sound or audio keeps cutting off during phone calls. You might think that the problem is on the microphone but actually it’s a network issue like intermittent or unstable cellular connection on the iPhone. To rule out this possibility, you can test each microphone on the iPhone.

Your iPhone has more than one microphone, including the receiver/front microphone, the rear microphone and the bottom microphone.

The primary microphone is on the bottom of your iPhone.

  • To test this microphone, try to open Voice Memos and then tap the record icon. Speak into the microphone to record your voice and then tap the play icon to play back the recording. If you hear your voice clearly, then it means that the microphone is working fine.
  • When using the speakerphone while on a phone call and your voice sounds faint, try to ensure that your iPhone receiver is not blocked or covered.

In the case where audio from other recordings sounds faint or Siri cannot hear your voice inputs, make sure that the microphone near the iSight camera (top, back side of the iPhone) and the receive is not blocked or covered.

Different ways to test your iPhone SE microphone to see if it’s working or not:

  • Through Siri – try to open Siri and ask something. To do so, press the Home button for a few seconds until Siri opens. When it’s on, speak to Siri and ask anything. If Siri does not respond, try again with a louder voice.
  • Through Camera app or FaceTime – the Camera app or FaceTime app can also be used to test the iPhone’s microphone. Open the Camera app, record a video to playback and check if you can hear your voice clearly or not. Alternatively, you can record a FaceTime audio to test the microphone. FaceTime may not be available in some countries.

Step 2. Remove iPhone accessories.

Screen protectors, films, or cases can cover the microphone, iSight mic or iPhone receiver, thereby causing issues on the iPhone’s audio output. To make sure this is not causing your problem, try to remove any of these accessories from your iPhone and then test the microphone if it is working properly without the case. If it does, then the problem is on the iPhone case. Otherwise, continue troubleshooting.

Step 3. Disable Noise Cancelation

One of the useful features on the iPhone is Noise Cancelation. When enabled it reduces surrounding noise when you’re making a phone call on your iPhone. But sometimes, turning this feature on can inflict minor issues particularly on the audio output quality. To make sure that this is not causing you this trouble, try to turn it off temporarily.

  • To do so, go to Settings-> General-> Accessibility-> Phone Noise Cancelation-> toggle the switch to turn the feature off.

Try to test your iPhone microphone with this feature turned off and see if there are any changes.

Step 4. Reboot (soft reset) your iPhone SE.

Some audio issues are tied to minor software glitches, which can usually be rectified by a soft reset or simple reboot on the device. Here’s the proper way to do a soft reset or reboot on your iPhone SE:

 

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider shows up.
  • Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely.
  • Wait for at least 30 seconds.
  • After the elapsed time, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears. Your iPhone will then reboot.

 

After the reboot, try to test the iPhone microphone using any of the aforesaid testing methods, to see if it is already working.

Step 5.  Check Microphone settings.

If the audio problem occurs only when using certain apps, try to check the microphone settings on your iPhone and make sure that the app has permission to access the microphone.

To access and configure this option, head over to Settings-> Privacy-> Microphone.

Configure options on apps permission accordingly.

Step 6. Update your iPhone SE to the latest iOS version.

Device issues triggered by software glitches or bugs are likely to get fixed by an iOS update installation. This is because software updates also contain bug fixes. If you haven’t yet updated iOS on your iPhone SE, then you should consider doing so already.

  • To check for available iOS update, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update. If an update is available, tap Download and Install to proceed. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the iOS update download and installation on your iPhone.

Test your iPhone afterwards to see if the microphone issue has already been rectified.

Step 7. Reset All Settings.

If none of the aforementioned solutions worked thus far, then your next option is to reset all settings. The process will erase all your current settings including microphone settings on your iPhone. This can potentially fix the problem especially if misconfigured settings or options are to blame.

  • To reset all settings, go to Settings-> General-> Reset-> Reset All Settings. If necessary, enter the correct passcode to proceed. Tap Reset All Settings again to confirm action.

Reboot your iPhone after the reset and then try to test the microphone again to see if the problem has been fixed with the settings reset. If the problem persists, consider the next method.

Step 8. Factory Reset (Wipe) your iPhone.

This must only be considered as a last resort should all else has failed to fix the problem. A factory reset will wipe or erase your iPhone completely and restores to it to factory defaults. If you are willing to give this method a try, then be sure to back up your device before you proceed. You can back up your iPhone through iCloud or iTunes for that matter. The process can take longer to complete depending on the number of contents stored on the iPhone.

  • To factory reset your iPhone SE, go to Settings-> General-> Reset->Erase All Contents and Settings. If prompted, enter the correct passcode to continue, then tap Erase iPhone to confirm action.

After the reset, proceed with device setup then test the microphone to see if it is now working fine.

Other Recommendations

  • Unplug any accessory plugged into the iPhone’s headset jack.
  • Check and clean the microphone and headphone jack
  • Dust and dirt covering the microphone can also affect the sound quality received by the microphone. If necessary, you can clean the microphone from dust or dirt using a dust blower, toothpick or needle. Be sure to clean it gently and carefully though.
  • As with the headphone jack, try to remove the headphone accessory from your iPhone and ensure nothing is inside the headphone jack that might have blocked the sound out. If you see some dirt or dust blocking it, you can use the same tools to clean the headphone jack. Be sure to clear any debris from the microphones or iPhone receiver.

Contact Apple Support for More Help

If the iPhone SE microphone is still not working even after performing all the aforesaid solutions, then your next best option is to contact Apple Support for problem escalation and other recommendations. Apparently, the problem is already beyond your capacity to resolve. It’s also possible that the microphone problem is triggered by hardware damage on the iPhone.

If you suspect that hardware damage is present on your device and calling Apple helpdesk is not your option, then you better consider taking your iPhone to a technician for hardware check and/or repair.

Connect with us

Visit our troubleshooting page to view more solutions to other iPhone problems we have addressed in our prior posts. If you wish to reach our iOS support team for further assistance, then you may do so by filling up this form with all the required information. Be sure to provide us with the significant details of the issue that you need help with so we would be able to give you the best possible solutions and recommendations to try on.

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