Enhance Your FaceTime Experience With This iOS Audio Feature

wide spectrum feature Credit: Apple
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We highlighted the iPhone and iPad’s Voice Isolation feature when it became available for regular phone calls in the release of iOS 17 last year, although it’s actually been around for video and audio calls in FaceTime and some third-party apps like WhatsApp since iOS 15.

Voice Isolation differentiates between your voice and background noises, ensuring what you say gets transmitted clearly over calls. Your iPhone and iPad also have a feature, Wide Spectrum, that does the opposite, although that’s available for FaceTime video and audio calls only (and in some third-party apps).

Wide Spectrum broadens the microphone’s reach to capture as much ambient background sound as possible. Here are the devices that are compatible with Wide Spectrum and how and why to use it.

Compatible Devices

Wide Spectrum requires iOS 15 or later. It’s currently only available for FaceTime audio and video calls and in some third-party apps like Zoom and WhatsApp. It also requires an iPhone or iPad with an A12 or later chip, which means one of the following devices.

  • iPhone XS/XR models and later
  • iPad (8th generation) and later
  • All iPad Pro 11-inch models
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd generation and later
  • iPad Air 3rd generation and later
  • iPad mini 5th generation and later

That’s basically any iPhone and nearly any iPad released in 2018 or later except for Apple’s entry-level tablet, which didn’t get the A12 Bionic until the late 2020 model came along.

How to Active Wide Spectrum

wide spectrum 2

Activating Wide Spectrum requires you to start a FaceTime audio or video call. Once the call begins:

  1. Swipe down from the top-right of your screen to access the Control Center.
  2. Tap the Mic Mode box in the top-right of your screen.
  3. Select Wide Spectrum.

You’ll also need to be on a FaceTime audio or video call to disable Wide Spectrum. Note that this is also set on a per-app basis, so enabling Wide Spectrum on a FaceTime call won’t turn it on when using Zoom (and vice versa).

When to Use Wide Spectrum

Wide Spectrum is ideal for those times when background sounds play a crucial role in the overall audio experience. This includes FaceTime calls with multiple people in one location. Wide Spectrum will pick up the voices of everyone in the group and add depth to the conversation.

It’s also ideal for content creators like podcasters and journalists when using third-party apps to record audio and video. Wide Spectrum also serves as an accessibility feature for users with hearing impairments, improving the clarity of sounds in environments with multiple audio sources by distinguishing voices in a crowded room.

If you haven’t explored Wide Spectrum and Voice Isolation, give them a try. If necessary, request the person (or people) on the other end to enable either depending on the circumstances. Hopefully Wide Spectrum will follow the lead of Voice Isolation and be available for regular phone calls soon.

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