Details on the improvement in audio quality were shared on Twitter this morning, and we confirmed the change on our own devices. Apple previously used the .AMR file format for its audio messages, but in the beta, has swapped over to .CAF.
On iOS devices running iOS 12.2 or macOS 10.14.4, .CAF files sound much crisper, clearer, and louder, marking a significant improvement over the previous audio quality.
Right now, to hear the improved audio quality, audio messages need to be sent from a device running iOS 12.2 to a device running iOS 12.2 (or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14.4). An audio message sent to a device running iOS 12.1.4 uses the original .AMR file format and not the improved .CAF file format. The Twitter user who first shared the news has a comparison on Twitter:
Here’s the direct comparison: what a difference! pic.twitter.com/8n2wQGZTJl
— frederik riedel 🧗🏼♂️🇪🇺 (@frederikRiedel) March 13, 2019
The new 24000 Hz Opus codec appears to result in larger file sizes, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue as Messages defaults to deleting audio content after just a few minutes.
All iOS users can expect to see significant improvements in audio message quality in the Messages app upon updating to iOS 12.2. We’re expecting to see iOS 12.2 released shortly after Apple’s March 25 event, as it will also allow Apple to enable the new Apple News subscription service that’s set to be introduced.