Apple offers Background Sounds as an accessibility feature on iPhones and iPads, designed to aid users in maintaining focus, fostering a calm atmosphere, and reducing distractions during activities.
The Background Sounds feature provides a range of options, including balanced, bright, and dark noise, as well as natural sounds like ocean waves, rain, and a flowing stream. Users can set these sounds to play in the background, effectively masking unwanted environmental or external noises. The sounds seamlessly integrate with or adjust beneath other audio and system sounds.
To activate Background Sounds on iPhones and iPads running iOS 15/iPadOS 15 and later, follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap on Accessibility.
- Under “Hearing,” select Audio/Visual.
- Choose Background Sounds.
- Toggle the switch to turn on Background Sounds.
- Select a sound effect from options like Balanced Noise, Bright Noise, Dark Noise, Ocean, Rain, and Stream.
When playing a background sound for the first time, your device will download the individual sound effect, so ensure you have an internet connection. Afterward, you can play the background sound regardless of being online.
For quick access to downloaded background sounds via the Control Center, ensure the Hearing item is added (Settings -> Control Center -> add Hearing to the included list), then follow these steps:
- Open Control Center by dragging down diagonally from the top-right of your device’s screen.
- Tap the Hearing button and select Background Sounds.
- Start playing the background sound by tapping the Background Sounds button.
- To explore other sounds, tap the name of the current sound, listen to a preview by tapping a sound name, and then tap Background Sounds to return.
- Tap the background to go back to Control Center.
Background sounds are also available on Macs running macOS Ventura or later, with more details available in our dedicated how-to article.