“Zoom” may have overtaken “Skype” as the preferred abbreviation for video calling, but Microsoft’s chat service has gone nowhere. The latest Skype upgrade brings an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) setting for desktops and laptops that filters out background noise while keeping your voice audible.

The feature is based on the same machine learning-based noise cancellation technology that Microsoft uses for team calls. In other words, the AI ​​is trained to recognize the difference between speech patterns and ambient noise. This is how the magic happens.

You can enable ANC in the Skype audio and video settings on Windows and macOS apps. However, ANC is not available on the web-based desktop client and skips Skype’s mobile apps on iOS and Android – which could potentially benefit even more from an ANC feature. But at least the new noise cancellation technology will help keep your upstairs neighbor’s footsteps away from your weekly Skype sessions on PC.

How to enable active noise cancellation in Skype

Illustration for the article titled How to Set Up Skype Active Noise Cancellation on Your DesktopScreenshot: Brendan Hesse

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  1. Open the Skype app on your Windows or Mac PC.
  2. Press Ctrl +, To open the settings menu, or click the three-dot button in the top left of the contact column and click “The settings.”
  3. Choose “Audio Video.”
  4. Scroll to the Audio section of the menu, then select the level of noise cancellation that you want to apply to your call audio: “Low”, “High”, “Auto” or “Out.” Of course, Low filters out less noise, High filters out more. Auto is the standard option and dynamically switches between noise cancellation and noise cancellation depending on the background noise level. However, switching to Low or High manually can be helpful if you find that the ANC is too inconsistent.
  5. After you have made your selection, you can close the Settings window. The next time you’re on the phone, Skype will automatically apply its noise-canceling magic to your microphone audio.