How to Use Background Sounds in iOS 15

How to play background noise on your iPhone

What to Know

  • Apple added new Background Sounds (rain, bright noise, ocean, and more) to the iPhone with iOS 15.
  • To activate, head to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Sounds > Toggle to on.

The Background Sounds feature in iOS 15 is Apple's attempt at helping users drown out distractions and better focus on the task at hand. Here's how to enable the feature.

Background Sounds toggle in iOS 15

How Can I Play Background Noise on My iPhone?

To play background noise on your iPhone, you’re going to need to first enable Background Sounds from the Settings on your iPhone. 

  1. First, open the Settings app on your iPhone.

  2. Scroll down and tap on Accessibility

  3. Find the Audio/Visual option and select it.

    iPhone settings with Accessibility and Audio/Visual highlighted
  4. Open Background Sounds.

  5. Toggle Background Sounds to on and then select your sound to start it. You may need to download some options before you can use them.

    iOS 15 Audio/Visual Settings with Background Noises highlighted

How Can I Stop Playing Background Sounds in iOS?

To stop playing Background Sounds in iOS, simply follow the same steps you did to activate the new feature.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Scroll down and select Accessibility.

  3. Tap Audio/Visual.

    iPhone settings with Accessibility and Audio/Visual highlighted
  4. Open Background Sounds.

  5. Toggle it Off.

    iOS 15 AudioVisual settings on iPhone with Background Sounds toggled on and off highlighted

Why Should I Use Background Sounds in iOS?

Background Sounds are meant to help users focus and cut out other distractions around them. It can be useful for users who may be having a tough time keeping up with their daily tasks due to noisy rooms around them. It can also be useful for those that just want to add a little white noise to their routine without turning on music or other audio media. It can also be useful for winding down at the end of the day or even helping you fall asleep if you like having some slight noise going when you try to fade off to sleep.

How to Use Background Sounds With Other Media

You can also use Background Sounds with other audio, though. In the settings menu for Background Sounds, you can decide at what volume the noise plays over the other audio that you have playing. If you want to listen to music, but also have the sounds of rain or the ocean overlapping with it, then you can adjust the volume using the following steps.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Find Accessibility and tap it.

  3. Select Audio/Visual.

  4. Open Background Sounds.

  5. Toggle Use When Media is Playing.

    Volume slider for using Background Sounds with media in iOS 15
  6. Adjust the volume however you see fit using the slider. You can also play a sample if you want to see how it sounds over the media that you want to use it with.

To easily adjust the volume of Background Sounds, you can also use the Hearing tile locating in the Control Center on your iPhone. This can be activated from the Control Center menu in Settings. Once activated, simply pull up the Control Center, tap the Hearing icon—it looks like an ear—and then select Background Sounds at the bottom of the screen to change the volume as well as the sound that you have playing.

  • How do I get iOS 15?

    Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap General > Software Update. If you see iOS 15 as an update option, tap Install Now. If you don't see the update, go to the bottom of the screen and tap Upgrade to iOS 15.

  • How do I downgrade from iOS 15?

    You can only downgrade from iOS 15 to iOS 14 and restore all your texts, app, and other data if you archived a backup of iOS 14 before you upgraded to iOS 15. If you didn't, you'll need to put your iPhone in Recovery Mode, which completely wipes the device, and then start over with the previous iOS.

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