iPhone 8 Plus - Call Quality & Clarity?

GO TO ADMIN PANEL > ADD-ONS AND INSTALL VERTIFORO SIDEBAR TO SEE FORUMS AND SIDEBAR

MoonlitShadow

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
93
Points
6
Apple recently replaced my 8+ because just about everyone I call told me I don't come in clear when speaking into the phone. I'm told I sound muffled, garbled, my words blend together, or I sound like I'm in a tunnel. Unfortunately, right after receiving the replacement phone, nothing has changed and this has become extremely frustrating.

I switched carriers when I had the first 8+ because of this, so if the issue remained on two different carriers and now two different handsets, what could be causing this?

I turned off noise canceling, tried to adjust how I hold the phone, (Apple is now convinced that is the cause) but the problem usually (however, not always) goes away when I put the call on speaker. Obviously it's not possible to use speakerphone for every call I make though, so I'm not sure what option that leaves me. Many people I talk to are Android users, and they're now convinced I need to switch. I'm more comfortable with iOS, so I desperately need to resolve this issue. Any tips would be much appreciated!
 

cjmnews

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
9,424
Points
38
Location
Arizona
Go into an Apple Store and try a phone call with a technician. They may hear an issue with the device or see how you place the device is causing the issue.

I usually hear this issue when people put the microphone below their chin or have a full beard scratching the microphone distorting the sound.

Rarely it is a hardware issue, sometimes it is a carrier issue, but not all that often.
 

MoonlitShadow

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
93
Points
6
Thank you very much, cj. I wanted to update this, b/c I've been through a lot with it but haven't gotten closer to a resolution.

First of all, I'm a young woman with no facial hair so that couldn't be causing the issue.

The replacement phone absolutely did have the same muffled issue. As it turns out, that phone also had another problem. When I chose to put my iCloud backup on it, the phone kept requiring sign ins to multiple accounts that were not mine. The pop ups to sign in would not stop to the point of nearly overheating when I plugged in to power! I called Apple support and now they agreed to replace the re-manufactured 8+ with a truly new (sealed) one.

I realize one issue had nothing to do with the other, but it's important to note that the original issue (clarity) was present with both 8+ handsets and this was never the case with my 6S. I'm trying to work on this with Apple Customer Relations and will hopefully receive the new 8+ by the end of the week. When I receive it, they're going to schedule an appointment at the store specifically to analyze the issue (how I'm holding the phone, where my mouth is in relation to the bottom speaker, etc). Problem is, my Apple store is in a very large, overcrowded, + loud mall, which would not be an accurate location to determine regular clarity or even signal strength.

Do you have any other advice as to what we could look into regarding the clarity issue before going to the appointment?

Has anyone else here had this issue -- sounding muffled, far away, as if in a tunnel, etc -- with the 8+ phones?

I see 1000+ responses to posts about this on the Apple support forums claiming of the same problem. When I mention that to techs at the Apple Store, it is completely disregarded with the following response, "You see thousands of claims of the same issue with just about anything out there." I've tried to bring it to their attention as something that appears to be a much more widespread issue than they realize, but it's clear this is not something Apple (stores or phone support) is interested in looking into. So, any guidance before moving forward is greatly appreciated.

On another note, I haven't seen mention of this issue in the newest (XS, XS Max, or XR) models. However, even if I can return the new 8+ when I receive it, (it was always purchased unlocked directly from Apple so the 14 day policy should apply again) I personally really need the home button at this point. This issue should not push anyone to a newer model if they're comfortable with an older one that is still available.
 

cjmnews

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
9,424
Points
38
Location
Arizona
The lack of facial hair could be replaced with long head hair on the microphone or speaker.

For the appointment, I would be prepared to push them for a quieter area like a back room to test. Have a friend or relative ready to answer several calls. It may take some time to get the phone number moved to the new handset, so expect a longer appointment. Don't let them push you out the door until you are satisfied. Unless the mall is remote, you should still have 2+ bars of connectivity.

Apple is sort of correct on the 1000s of posts, lots of people will say "me too" about a problem, even though they may not have the issue, or have a different model. 13 years of answering questions here has shown me that the "me too" crowd usually has a different problem entirely from the original post. Then I either have to flip-flop between the 2 topics or move the "me too" person to their own thread, and explain what their issue is, then resolve it.

I have heard of the 8+ having that issue, but have had very few questions about it. This means that either it is a rare hardware issue, or an uncommon issue for people to notice.

Multiple iCloud login prompts is weird. It really makes no sense to have it ask for other accounts. There is only 1 account associated with a phone. Good to see that they are addressing it.

The XS, XS Max or XR are significantly more expensive than the 8+. You will have to pay the difference if they allow the exchange. The lack of the home button is not a real issue, as there are different gestures to cover the missing button. Face ID is much better than Touch ID from my experience.
 

MoonlitShadow

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
93
Points
6
Well, I do have long hair, but it's always tied back when using the phone. What's unacceptable to me about this detail is a phone speaker should not be extremely sensitive to the point that strands of hair would effect call quality. My hair length was the same when I had the 6S without this issue and it also wasn't an issue when using my mom's Galaxy phone, which I'm not a fan of at all.

Things took an even more interesting turn today when I found out my sister has the same issue with an 8 Plus. I wasn't aware before today, because she's away at college and I wasn't sure what phone she had. My dad mentioned she sounds exactly the same as I did (like she's in a tunnel or underwater) but she just deals with it. I called (instead of texting as we usually do) and heard exactly the same thing. Apparently, not enough people notice that talk to her, (or care to point it out) but just about everyone I talk to notices it as I have to take detailed work calls. Regardless, I find it very hard to believe that people are fine with ignoring this when spending up to $850 for a phone.

I understand the "me too" bandwagon aspect to a certain extent and even acknowledge that it may be considered a rare issue. However, it may be considered rare b/c many love their iPhone so much that as long as they can hear people well themselves, (as I could on 8+) they might be less than willing to address this with Apple or replace the phone as it's not effecting them directly, just those they talk to. Many people they talk to may also dismiss it as "typical cell phone" type quality, which unfortunately is proven wrong when you've compared it to other phones -- even other iPhones.

I appreciate the advice about the appointment, which I hope will happen but I'm not as sure now. I followed up with the Customer Relations rep assigned to my case by phone and email once each day since sending the phone back. I also wanted them to be aware that I found out my sister's phone has the same issue. Unfortunately, they're nearly impossible to reach and haven't returned my call for 2 days. I even had to pay for the FedEx box to ship it back after being told more than a week ago that they'd send me one. I love the usability and seamless synchronicity of their products, but I expect much better service from Apple at this point.

I'm well aware of the price difference of the X models from the 8+ and that I'd have to pay it. It's just one of the many reasons that I'd rather not switch to one of them. I wouldn't know what else to do if this is a known (even if rare) issue with that model though. I have a wireless charger so that would go to waste if I downgraded to the 7+. Have you heard of this being an issue with 7+ as well?
 
Last edited:

cjmnews

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
9,424
Points
38
Location
Arizona
I was teasing about the hair. It didn't come through well.

Interesting that your sister has the same issue. She should also be following up with Apple, referring to your case.

I agree that it should work well at any price. I like the newer phones, and I think the newer ones typically have better hardware and features, so I would upgrade. However, if you need the home button, the 8+ is the last one with that feature.

I would not downgrade any lower than an 8. A 7 is getting into the obsolete territory where it will stop getting iOS updates and apps start to refuse to run without updates.
 

MoonlitShadow

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
93
Points
6
I get it about the hair. :) I just lost my sense of humor about this b/c it's gone on for months. I originally thought it was the carrier and had to wait to test that theory.

I honestly don't think my sister knew anything was wrong until she heard about my issue yesterday. I'm not even trying to get anything for her and she's not looking to get anything from Apple either. I think she's had the phone for more than a year (much longer than me) so I don't think she'd get anywhere wit them. I just want to mention it to them so they're aware it may be a bigger problem than they recognize.

I'm very conflicted about upgrading b/c I'm not sure if they will allow it at this point even if I pay the difference, I do find the home button easier, need the 256 GB (was using around 60 GB already) and I resent having to spend $400 more just to resolve this issue.

I know I could go with an XR and may, but not happy about losing dual lens camera, Touch ID and force touch just because of this problem. They're making this very hard, because I've gone 2 weeks w/o a phone as it is so I'm sure they know that by the time it gets resolved I'll take whatever they can offer. I don't mean to sound unappreciative but this has not made the day to day easy. Any advice on how to speed up the process with Customer Relations or how to get this resolved in store?

I've been to the store 3-4 times about different developments on this issue. The phone tag with customer relations has been relentless, b/c if you miss the call they can't answer when you return the call 5 minutes later.
 

cjmnews

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
9,424
Points
38
Location
Arizona
I don't have any suggestions for customer service speed ups. Just be nice, and don't threaten to move to Android.
 

MoonlitShadow

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
93
Points
6
Update: Received the third 8+ handset and unfortunately have the same issue. Customer Relations made the store appointment for me and I worked with the manager there. The manager had me call him (something I requested months ago with the 1st handset) and we replicated the issue. He heard the voice fluctuation (going in and out, sounding muffled, etc) and saw that I was not moving or blocking a speaker at all. He asked me to use the earbuds for 3 days to further validate the issue. I followed his instructions as a process of elimination/validation, but earbuds have never stayed in my ears and I can't use them for every call -- nor should anyone have to do that with any phone.

Sure enough, as soon as you use another speaker source, the problem goes away. I even answered calls on my iPad Pro as a test and was told I sounded great. The manager said this is a likely a "speaker location" issue on the 8+ and the newer X models are less likely to be effected by it (tested the XR and sounded fine) as there is one more speaker on those handsets. However, valid or not, I have been told there's nothing Apple can do for me as of yet.

I was also told 1000s have to be able to show they're experiencing this before it reaches engineering and can be proven to be either a hardware or software failure. Since they do not consider posts even on their own forums mentioning the same issue as a form of validity, and it has taken me 6+ months to reach the CR level, I don't see how anyone can get a resolution if/when they are experiencing this. All we know is, it's a speaker issue that I (and others) are stuck with. I love Apple products, but I find the treatment and somewhat avoidance to address this to be inexcusable, especially when I know others are experiencing it (there are even posts on cell carriers' websites about it) and I personally have handled this case with nothing but extreme patience and professionalism -- only to be left with no resolution months later.

I'm curious to hear opinions on where to go from here. It seems buying another phone is the only way to go, which is simply ridiculous when considering I had the issue from the start with no fault of my own.
 

cjmnews

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
9,424
Points
38
Location
Arizona
I agree that the avoidance of the issue on Apple's part is a sneaky move to reduce costs of replacements. They should have been up front about this a couple of years ago.

What is your plan now? Upgrade to the X series? Will they give you a discount for your patient reproduction of the issue through multiple handsets?

You have made the iPhone 8+ issue with bad call clarity and quality public here on this forum. The data here is clear that the issue is with the hardware and the user can't fix it without using ear pods/earbuds/air pods/3rd party headset. I don't see how you can do more other than pass the word out to avoid the iPhone 8+ handset to anyone that asks. I know I will be doing this for those that look for cheaper handsets by getting older ones.
 

MoonlitShadow

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
93
Points
6
Thank you for all your input and responses here, cj. I find it interesting that you mentioned it should have been addressed a couple of years ago. Have you really seen discussions about this for a couple of years?

I know I saw it about the 7 and 7+, but before I chose the 8+ I didn't know to look for it on the 8 models as well. Originally, I made the choice based on 8 being the last model with a home button. Had I known of a speaker issue, I would've chosen one of the X models (which came out days before the I bought the 8+) and I never would've gone through any of this for months. Apple knows the timeline, why I made the choice, and obviously that I couldn't have known about the issue as they claim to be unaware of it themselves.

I'm very conflicted about what to do now. I want an iPhone as I have other iOS devices that work seamlessly with it, but call clarity is equally important. Apple has very politely and professionally refused to offer a discount on the multiple handsets despite corporate being made aware of the situation.

The fact that they know this issue 1) puts me in a position to buy 2 phones in a 6 month span totaling $2000+, 2) has taken up a large amount of my time and 3) they have no solution as they don't recognize it as a problem to begin with has been acknowledged. However, acknowledging it hasn't proven to get any action. They want to offer a trade in ($350 for a brand new 8+) which is the current promotion for anyone on each of the current models and that promo has nothing to do with this at all. I find it unacceptable on every level for 3 reasons: We know I'm not alone and I (or any user) didn't cause the problem. If they had been willing to hear the issue on the original handset as I asked them to, I would've been within the return policy (give or take a day) and had the opportunity to make another choice without potentially buying 2 phones. Lastly, they know the issue does not occur when I bypass the phone's speaker. Yet, they still claim it's "not a confirmed hardware issue." If they've never heard of it before or can't let people show them others have it, many of us are stuck in a never ending circle until we buy a new phone. I understand their policies (always replacing a phone with exact model) but when policies create the definition of insanity for months, it's simply a way to prevent standing behind a product and a defect that has occurred to an unknown amount of them.

I did receive a very nice email from the CR rep telling me they're researching my issue. We'll see where it all goes, but in the meantime, I have to borrow an Android phone that doesn't have my backup just so I can carry on clear conversations. I appreciate you or anyone here attempting to get the word out any way you can. I'm not active on social media, but that might be the only route to really go as far as getting Apple to recognize the hardware issue exists.
 
Last edited:

cjmnews

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
9,424
Points
38
Location
Arizona
2 years is because of the age of the phone, probably a bit of an overestimate.

It is possible that there is a firmware/software issue with processing the sound while other events are happening. If this was the case, then ALL iPhone 8 Plus handsets would have the poor call quality. But it looks like only a small percentage (1000s of reports, with millions sold) this indicates a hardware and/or manufacturing issue. A manufacturing issue would be something where the assembly is slightly off in one line, and something like a wire nick, or weak spot weld or something else happened to good hardware.

Unless you are buying refurbished phones, you are incredibly unlucky to get 3 iPhone 8 Plus handsets with poor call quality issues. I would expect a significantly more of these bad iPhone 8 Plus in the refurbished pile.

I would pick the iPhone every time over Android, just for computer security sake, no matter the cost.

There is the option of contacting other sources for help. BBB (if that exists where you are) or a local TV station where they help consumers overcome unfair business practices, lawyer, etc.
 
Top