Lately when I use my AirPods while on a phone call, people are telling me it sounds really muffled. I have no problem using my wired headphones or no headphones at all. Is it possible to tell my iPhone to just use the AirPods for audio output, but use my phone as the speaker?

Alternatively, if someone has any idea how to fix the muffled sound, that would be great. I don't know when it started happening since I can't how I sound on calls, but I don't think it was always like that.


No, I would do an A / B test to see if wired headset is higher quality that the Bluetooth one. You could even do that call with Apple Support so they could hear the difference and set up a repair if your bluetooth microphone is wonky.

Dropping AirPods can happen easily and internal damage can be both hidden to you and cause them to lose massive amounts of quality or just sound buzzy.

Before you call support, check the mesh openings (all of them) with a magnifying glass and look for signs of cracking.

P.S. always having wired headset is my conference superpower. Being able to quickly get perfect sound on a call is well worth the expense and hassle for me when sound quality matters.

  • I did some more testing and it turns out the right microphone doesn't really work. I can set my phone to use the left microphone only, and then at least people can hear me, but still not as well as with wired earbuds. I am going to take the airpods to Apple to see if they'll replace the broken one since they are less than a year old. – kccu Apr 8 at 16:18
  • @kccu that is excellent testing and planning. It’s not common, but anything that could break eventually someone will have that broken thing and need a repair. Keep us posted on the results if you want. – bmike Apr 8 at 17:00

iOS devices switch both audio routes (input and output) to the last connected audio device. So you can‘t adjust the mic to another source than your AirPods, if you are connected with them. With Live Listen you can speak in the iPhone mic and hear the noise in your connected AirPods. But only with this function you can split mic and speaker.

Live Listen documentation from official apple website

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