Custom iPhones

A Secret Feature On Your iPhone, Background Sounds

A Secret Feature On Your iPhone, Background Sounds

Discover Apple's Background Sounds feature on iOS and macOS. Learn how to set it up, its benefits, and enhance your focus, relaxation, and sleep.

Quick Links

A Secret Feature On Your iPhone

Back in 2021 with iOS 15, Apple released a little-known feature called Background Sounds. This hidden feature can help you create a soothing environment, whether you need to concentrate on work, just relax, or even fall asleep. We’ll explore what Background Sounds is, how it works, the benefits it could offer you, and how to set it up on both iOS and macOS.

Warm Room With Plants
Warm Room With Plants

What Is Background Sounds?

Background Sounds is a feature designed to play soothing sounds continuously in the background, helping you stay focused, relaxed, or calm. The feature includes a variety of sounds such as ocean waves, rain, and white noise, which can be played at different volumes to suit your preferences. Unlike traditional audio apps, Background Sounds are integrated into the operating system, allowing them to run seamlessly without interrupting other media or notifications.

How Does it Work?

Once enabled, Background Sounds will play your chosen sound continuously, even when you switch between apps or lock your device. This is achieved through the integration with the operating system, ensuring that the sounds remain consistent and uninterrupted. You can also adjust the volume of the background sound independently of other media, allowing for a customisable auditory experience.

Background Sounds is an accessibility settings feature, just like assistive access.

Why It’s Good for You

Enhanced Focus

Background Sounds can help create an ideal environment for concentration. For many, ambient sounds like white noise or rain can block out distracting noises, making it easier for you to focus on tasks. This can be particularly useful in noisy environments or when working from home.

Improved Relaxation

Listening to calming sounds such as ocean waves or rain can significantly reduce stress levels. These sounds can help create a peaceful atmosphere, making it easier for you to unwind after a long day or to fall asleep.

Better Sleep

If you struggle with sleep, Background Sounds can be great. Consistent ambient noise can mask disruptive sounds that might otherwise wake you up, leading to a more restful sleep. Alternatively, you can also look for ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos, which many find helpful for sleep or relaxation. ASMR triggers often include whispering voices, rain, quiet sounds, or calming noises that can promote relaxation and drowsiness.

Listening To Ocean Background Sounds On AirPods
Listening To Ocean Background Sounds On AirPods

How to Set Up Background Sounds on iOS

Setting up Background Sounds on your iPhone is simple and straightforward. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Accessibility: Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility”.
  3. Audio/Visual: Under the Hearing section, select “Audio/Visual”.
  4. Background Sounds: Tap on “Background Sounds”.
  5. Enable Background Sounds: Toggle the switch to turn on Background Sounds.
  6. Choose a Sound: Select your preferred sound from the list of options.
  7. Adjust Volume: Use the slider to adjust the volume of the background sound.

Once enabled, you can easily control Background Sounds from the Control Centre. Simply add the Hearing control to your Control Centre for quick access.

How to Set Up Background Sounds on macOS

Setting up Background Sounds on a Mac is equally easy. Here’s how:

  1. Open System Preferences: Click on the Apple menu and select “System Preferences”.
  2. Accessibility: Click on “Accessibility”.
  3. Audio: In the sidebar, select “Audio”.
  4. Background Sounds: Check the box next to “Play background sounds”.
  5. Choose a Sound: Select your desired sound from the drop-down menu.
  6. Adjust Volume: Use the slider to set the volume level.

Like on iOS, you can control Background Sounds from the menu bar by adding the Hearing control.


Background Sounds is a simple and calming feature that can help you focus, relax, and rest. By integrating soothing sounds directly into iOS and macOS, there is an easy way to create a calming environment anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re looking to improve concentration during work, reduce stress, or get a better night’s sleep, Background Sounds can make a significant difference. Setting it up is quick and easy, allowing you to benefit right away.