As pointed out by the folks over at MacRumors, a growing number of iPhone SE users are reporting audio issues with Bluetooth phone calls, especially when their handsets are paired with a wireless headset or vehicle for hands-free calling. The issue has been posted by numerous early adopters of the new 4-inch iPhone on Apple Support Communities and MacRumors discussion forums, with some saying the problem also extends to GPS voice navigation, while others report music over Bluetooth works normally.
The bug seems to affect all iPhone SE models running iOS 9.3 or 9.3.1 regardless of carrier or model, and has been reported by users in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the U.K, among other regions. Some users claim to be experiencing distorted, staticky, or inaudible phone calls when using an iPhone SE over Bluetooth, while may other say that their previous iPhone model had “crystal clear” audio quality. The source notes that the first iOS 9.3.2 beta also does not fix the issue
MacRumors reader HickDead recently posted a forum topic to share his experience:
“I actually had to return my SE back to Verizon because my Bluetooth calls reception quality was terrible. Playing music or YouTube videos through the Bluetooth was excellent but when it came to phone calls, the sound was constantly cutting in and out and sounded “scratchy” and distorted.
Never had this issue with my previous 6S or my work-issued Android phone. Tried my SE in a different vehicle and got the same results. I’ve unpaired and repaired and I even restored my SE and set up up as a new device but nothing has worked”.
The problem is also not specific to any particular car maker as customers have reported issues with Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and many other makes and models as well.
Apple is yet to acknowledge or issue an official statement regarding the bug, or whether it is working to release a fix soon.