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iOS 15 tip: How to reduce distractions and increase audio quality in FaceTime

Reduce background distractions in FaceTime calls by enabling voice isolation and background blur for more professional calls on FaceTime.

Image: Apple.com

In iOS 15, Apple not only added the ability to schedule FaceTime calls with users on other platforms, but they are also making FaceTime more well-rounded for professional video settings by enabling features like background blur, wide spectrum audio and voice isolation. Together, these make for higher quality video and audio calls.

Let’s look at each of these features and what they bring to your FaceTime calls.

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How to change audio mode

In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, when on a FaceTime call, the Control Center is where you can go to change some important audio settings. There are two settings: Wide spectrum audio and voice isolation. Let’s first cover what these two settings do before we delve into how to change them.

  • Wide Spectrum Audio mode gives the highest quality audio and will not prioritize background or voice, but gives the truest sound replication of the environment you’re currently in.
  • Voice Isolation will promote your voice above any background noise and will mute the background noise that is not your voice as much as possible.

Now for changing these settings while on a FaceTime call:

  1. On iOS or iPadOS, swipe down from the top right to open Control Center (Figure A).
  2. Select Mic Mode.
  3. Enable the option for Voice Isolation or Wide Spectrum Audio (Figure B).

Figure A

facetimetweaks-figure-a.jpg

Mic and camera settings while on a FaceTime call appear in the Control Center in iOS 15.

Figure B

facetimetweaks-figure-b.jpg

Changing between voice isolation and wide spectrum audio is done from the Control Center on iOS and iPadOS.

When you make this change in the settings, anyone you’re on a call with will immediately hear the sound change.

Video Effects

Apple introduced the front-facing Portrait mode feature a few years back on select devices, and now that feature is available to FaceTime calls as well to give crisper and more professional video by blurring the background.

To enable this feature, you’ll first need to be on a FaceTime call, then perform these steps.

  1. On iOS or iPadOS, swipe down from the top right to open Control Center.
  2. Select Video Effects.
  3. Set the toggle for Portrait to On (Figure C).

Figure C

facetimetweaks-figure-c.jpg

Enabling Portrait mode on FaceTime calls will automatically blur the backgrounds just as Portrait mode does in the Camera app on compatible devices.

When you’ve enabled this, anyone on the call with you will see the changes immediately for the duration of your FaceTime call. This isn’t a complete background blur as you see on most other video conferencing apps, but rather an extension of the same Portrait mode feature that’s available in the Camera app on select iOS devices.

Editor’s note: This post relates to iOS 15, Apple’s announced but not-yet-released version of iOS, which is expected to be released in early fall 2021. For more information on the release schedule and to learn how to download the betas, read our iOS 15 cheat sheet.

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