Using iPhone speaker and dock

Q: I have an iPhone and I use it every day for work now. One feature I’d really like to use is speakerphone in the dock, but I’m having trouble interpreting a feature Apple lists on their site with the dock: 

Place your iPhone in the Dock and enjoy clear audio during speakerphone calls thanks to special audio porting.

I take this to mean when I answer a call on my iPhone in the iPhone dock, which has external speakers or a headset plugged in to the line-out port on the back of the dock, the audio should come through the external speakers instead of the built-in speakers in the iPhone. However, this doesn’t work. What DOES work is I can listed to music from the iPod part of the iPhone through external speakers via line-out port in dock, like you’d expect. However, when I answer a call and the music audio fades out, the call audio goes through the headset or built-in speakerphone only.

I know it’s really niche, but since Apple called it out on their site, I wanted to know your interpretation and experience on this. Anything to be able to hear my clients more clearly would be great.

– Jason

A: Actually, this is the correct and expected behavior. Audio from the phone portion of the iPhone, including ring tones and alarms, will always be played through the internal speakerphone, rather than an external speaker connected the the Dock’s line-out port. Audio from the iPod portion (music, videos, audiobooks, and even YouTube videos) will play through the line-out if connected, or the internal iPhone speakers if nothing is connected to the line-out port.

What “special audio porting” means in this context is simply that the dock itself is designed to not block the microphone and speaker ports at the bottom of the iPhone, allowing audio to pass through properly, rather than being muffled.

If you examine the iPhone dock closely, you’ll notice two matching passthrough audio ports beside the Dock Connector itself, and if you turn the dock over, you can observe a small space at the very front. These are intended to allow audio to pass through clearly even when the iPhone is in the dock.

Using iPhone speaker and dock


Using iPhone speaker and dock

How well this works will be largely dependent upon the type of surface that the dock itself is on, since the audio is still being directed somewhat downward and to the front of the dock. You may therefore want to try different positions and ensuring the dock is placed directly on top of a hard surface.

If you find that the iPhone’s speakerphone is still not loud enough for your needs, a Bluetooth headset or handsfree kit can still be used even when the iPhone is docked.

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