Back in May, Apple announced a series of new accessibility features that would be coming to the iPhone. However, these weren’t expected to only be included with iOS 15. One such feature, Background Sounds, is designed to help keep you focused on the task at hand but it has not been available. Since the announcement, Background Sounds have made their way into the latest iOS 15 beta, allowing you to play one of six different sounds in the background.
Here’s Apple’s official description of what Background Sounds are:
Everyday sounds can be distracting, discomforting, or overwhelming, and in support of neurodiversity, Apple is introducing new background sounds to help minimize distractions and help users focus, stay calm, or rest. Balanced, bright, or dark noise, as well as ocean, rain, or stream sounds continuously play in the background to mask unwanted environmental or external noise, and the sounds mix into or duck under other audio and system sounds.
We’ve seen dedicated apps released in the App Store that do the same thing, such as the aptly-named Dark Noises. However, Apple has been making great strides to improve the accessibility options and features on its devices in recent years.
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How To Use Background Sounds on iPhone
If you have iOS 15 installed on your iPhone, you now have access to the Background Sounds functionality. These can easily be enabled, but you’ll need to jump into the Accessibility section from within the Settings app. Here’s how to use Background Sounds on iPhone:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone running iOS 15.
- Scroll down and tap Accessibility.
- Scroll down and select Audio/Visual.
- Tap Background Sounds.
- At the top of the page, tap the toggle next to Background Sounds.
- To change the noise, tap Sound.
- Select one of the following and tap Back in the top left corner:
- Balanced Noise
- Bright Noise
- Dark Noise
- Adjust the volume using the slider bar.
- Toggle whether you want to Use When Media is Playing.
- If so, adjust the levels of the background sounds.
There’s just something about having background sounds and noises playing that can help keep you focused. But these are also great if you are looking for some sounds to help you unwind at the end of the day.
Use Background Sounds With Control Center
Those who want quick and easy access to Background Sounds, you’re in luck. After following these steps, you’ll no longer need to worry about diving into the Settings app just to turn these on or off. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to control the sounds from the Music widget in the control center or if you add it to your Home Screen.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Scroll down and tap Control Center.
- Tap the + icon next to Hearing.
- Scroll back up and move the Hearing shortcut higher up the list for quicker access if need be.
Now that the Hearing toggle has been added to Control Center, you’ll be able to access, adjust, and interact with Background Sounds much easier than before.
- Swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone to open Control Center.
- Tap the Hearing icon.
- Tap Background Sounds at the bottom of the screen to turn it on.
- Select Background Sounds at the top of the page.
- Choose the sound that you want to have playing in the background.
By adding the Hearing option to Control Center, you no longer have to worry about jumping into the Settings app every time you want to have sounds playing in the background.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.