iPhone SE Users Report Bluetooth Call Audio Problem

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The iPhone SE has been out for a few weeks now, giving users just enough time to get used to their new handset—and figure out what’s wrong with it. Apparently one issue that’s giving most owners big problems is the phone’s Bluetooth connectivity during calls.

iPhone SE users reporting Bluetooth problems

Mac Rumors reports that iPhone SE users are saying they’re having audio problems on phone calls when using Bluetooth devices. The issue appears to affect both wireless headsets and vehicles. Although some report that their phone is also having problems with GPS voice navigation over Bluetooth, it appears as if listening to music streams over wireless connections is not affected.

iPhone SE owners are reporting the Bluetooth issues on both the Apple Support Forums and MacRumors discussion forums. They describe the problems on phone calls over Bluetooth as sounding “distorted, staticky, or inaudible,” said the website. Many of the users who complained also described the quality of the phone calls on their past phone calls as “crystal clear.”

iPhone SE models running iOS 9.3 or 9.3.1 affected

Some iPhone SE users are actually returning their phones because the problem is so bad. At least one user said he tried various tricks to fix the problem, including un-pairing and re-pairing the Bluetooth device, restoring the phone and setting it back up again as a new device, and testing it in other vehicles.

According to Mac Rumors, it appears as if all iPhone SE models that are running either iOS 9.3 or 9.3.1, which are the newest versions, are affected across all carriers and models. Also users in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, and Sweden are reporting the problem, and there may be some in other countries as well.

The Bluetooth issues also don’t seem to be related to any particular vehicle model as owners of every brand from Jeep, GMC, and Dodge to high-end brands like Mercedes-Benz are reporting them.

Is Apple trying to fix the problem?

Some users who contacted Apple to report the Bluetooth problems with their iPhone SE said their cases have been escalated and their log files requested by higher-level advisors at Apple. Some said Apple confirmed that its engineers are aware of the problems and working on fixing it, but it’s unclear when a fix can be expected. It’s unclear whether the problem is related to the iPhone SE hardware or to iOS or other software loaded onto the phones.

It’s fairly common for new smartphones to have some sort of problem, as Mac Rumors noted that when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus came out in late 2014, users complained about Bluetooth issues with the new phone models and with older ones that were upgraded to iOS 8. Apple apparently fixed the problem within weeks with the release of iOS 8.1.

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