How to fix audio problems on the Apple iPhone XS Max, crackling noise, distorted sound during calls [Troubleshooting Guide]

High-end smartphones are crafted to perfection. Even so, there aren’t always working as intended as various factors can trigger system flaws. No wonder why many iPhone owners were raising different complaints regarding various types of problems. Some issues are widespread while others are rare.

Tackled in this post is deemed among the widespread iPhone problems affecting audio functions. And the main issue is on crackling noise or distorted sound that occurs during phone calls. This could denote a software error, if not hardware damage. To give you some clues on how to deal with this issue, I’ve mapped out some helpful workarounds for you to try. Read on for more detailed solutions.

For owners who are looking for a solution to a different problem, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. Browse through the page to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance don’t hesitate to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS Max with crackling noise or distorted sound

Before you begin to troubleshoot, remove or move away from any device that can possibly cause audio interference when having a phone conversation on your iPhone. These devices usually trigger unusual sound or noise thus making your voice inaudible. Also try adjusting the volume level on the phone. A very high or highest volume level can sometimes produce unusual sound or noise. You can use the physical volume controls to adjust the volume level on your phone or go to Settings-> Sounds & Haptics, then drag the Ringer and Alerts slider to adjust the volume level. If none of that works, you go ahead and troubleshoot software problems that caused crackling noise and distorted sound problems on your iPhone XS Max.

First solution: Soft reset/force restart.

To get rid of minor software glitches from the possible triggers, do a soft reset or force restart on your iPhone XS Max. Both these methods effectively rectify random system errors that are inflicting relevant symptoms. To soft reset your iPhone XS Max, just follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.

To force close rogue apps and corrupted cached files, you can try performing a force restart on your iPhone XS Max. It works the same a soft reset when dealing with minor software errors and glitches. And like a soft reset, a force restart does not cause permanent data loss. If you wish to give it a shot, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Then press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Finally, press and hold the Side/Power button until the Apple logo appears.

Allow your device to finish rebooting and as soon as it boots up, try placing a test call using a different phone and see if the crackling noise or distorted sound is already gone.

Second solution: Delete all Bluetooth connections.

If your iPhone is currently paired with other Bluetooth-enabled device, then it’s possible that the paired accessory is causing sound interference with the phone’s microphone or other audio component and eventually resulted to a distorted sound or crackling noise. To rule this out, remove any Bluetooth pairing from your iPhone XS Max or disable Bluetooth instead.

  • To disable Bluetooth on your iPhone XS Max, just go to Settings-> Bluetooth menu, and then toggle the Bluetooth switch to turn the feature OFF.

To delete or forget all Bluetooth connections from your iPhone XS Max, follow these steps:

  1. Tap on Settings.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Then navigate to the list of all connected Bluetooth devices.
  4. To forget or delete a Bluetooth device, select and tap the information “i” icon next to the name of the Bluetooth device.
  5. Then tap the option to Forget this Device.
  6. If prompted, tap the option to confirm deletion of the selected Bluetooth device.

Reboot your iPhone after making these changes to refresh its memory and iOS.

Third solution: Install the latest iOS version available.

New updates to iOS usually integrate some fix patches to address existing problems and errors from random bugs and system data corruptions. If you haven’t installed the latest iOS version on your iPhone, then try doing so this time. Here’s how to get started:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Software Update.

If an update is available, an update notification containing the update details and system requirements will show up. Read and review the update details then follow the onscreen prompts to start downloading and installing new software update on your iPhone XS Max. A fast and stable Internet connection, sufficient memory and at least 50 percent battery life are necessary to complete the OTA update installation process. Don’t forget to reboot your iPhone after updating to ensure all new system changes are properly implemented.

Fourth solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone XS Max.

Resetting your iPhone settings clears out all customized settings and options and then restores the default values. Should these audio problems be tied to incorrect settings and invalid configurations, performing this method will likely fix them. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Tap the option to confirm all settings reset.

After the reset, your iPhone should reboot automatically and then loads the default settings. Enable necessary options including Wi-Fi to use them again on your device.

Fifth solution: Reset and restore your iPhone XS Max to factory defaults.

If the problem started after installing new software updates on the phone, then update bugs are likely to blame. In that case, restoring your iPhone settings to factory defaults can potentially solve it. Please note though that this method wipes all saved information and settings on the phone, thus it causes permanent data loss. To recover your files later, create backups to iCloud or iTunes before resetting the phone to factory defaults with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all contents.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Tap the option to confirm full system reset.

Your iPhone should reboot by itself when the reset is finished. By then you can proceed with the initial setup process and set up your iPhone as new. More often than not, software-related problems are resolved by performing a factory reset or master reset. That being said, audio problems attributed to software errors must already be gone after the reset. If the symptoms are recurring after the master reset, then there’s a tendency that hardware damage is present on your device. This is when you would have to consider iPhone repair.

Seek more help

For further assistance and suggestions, contact your device carrier or Apple Support. There may be some more complex errors that caused crackling noise or distorted sound problems during phone calls on your iPhone XS Max.

To rule out hardware damage like defective microphone, speaker or other audio components bring your iPhone to the nearest Apple service center and have it diagnosed by an authorized technician. It’s also possible that your device has obtained some sort of physical or liquid damage from prior incidents of dropping or liquid exposure. In that case, your iPhone needs service.


I hope that this how-to post has helped you one way or another. Please help us spread the word by sharing this post to your friends or people who may also have similar problems. Thanks for reading!

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