Need some background noise to help you focus? Forget those ad-filled YouTube videos. Introduced in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, your iPhone and iPad offer a relaxing, built-in Background Sounds feature. Here’s how to start using it.
What Are Background Sounds?
Background Sounds are like having a sound machine from your bedroom in your iPhone and iPad. The sounds can also be played over Bluetooth to external devices.
There are six different sounds to choose from, including Balanced Noise, Bright Noise, Dark Noise, Ocean, Rain, and Stream. All six of these can be played in the background of whatever you’re doing on your iPhone and help fill in the silence or drown out other background distractions. In the future, there’s always a possibility that Apple will add even more sounds.
It’s worth noting that at the current time, there’s no way to load your own background sound. Note as well that they don’t have a time limit. They’ll only turn off when you disable them.
Why Are Background Sounds in Accessibility?
Apple sees Background Sounds as a way to diversify its array of accessibility features by being more inclusive.
The company says in its official announcement of the feature that it targets “support of neurodiversity” and aims to mitigate “distracting, discomforting, or overwhelming” everyday noises. In other words, the feature can help you focus and relax during the day and mitigate distracting sounds that are bothering you.
That being said, the feature has the ability to appeal to many different people, so it’s interesting that Apple decided to stick with the accessibility angle instead of a more generalized approach.
How to Enable Background Sounds on iPhone and iPad
First, open the Settings app.
Next, tap Accessibility.
Under the Hearing section, tap Audio/Visual.
Finally, tap Background Sounds.
From here, you can toggle Background Sounds on and off and choose which sound you’d like. You can also adjust the volume of the sound as it plays over other media. If you don’t want the background sound to play while, for example, you’re listening to music, uncheck “Use When Media Is Playing.”
You’re now on your way to a relaxing, distraction-free experience with your iPhone or iPad. If you want other particular sounds, consider trying out a third-party white noise app.