Listening to music on AirPods at too high a volume can damage your hearing. As a reminder of this, iOS 14 offers an optional icon in the Control Center to show just how loudly the song is playing on a connected pair of AirPods or earbuds at that moment. And it measure the sound pressure down to the exact decibel.
Saving your hearing with iOS 14
Here’s how the new feature works in the first developer beta of iOS 14. You start by going to the Settings app and adding the Hearing icon to the Control Center. The resulting icon shows a tiny dial indicating how loud the song is at that moment. Tap on it to see a larger view.
The expanded version of the Hearing screen from iOS 14 shows a much larger version of the dial. There’s a mark to warn users that 80dB is approaching the maximum safe level. That’s the World Health Organization (.pdf) recommendation for sound levels.
This audio feature works with AirPods, AirPods Pro, and even the wired earbuds that come free with iPhones.
Cult of Mac tested the feature with the first iOS 14 developer beta, which Apple released Monday after the virtual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. During the event, Apple showed off key new features coming in upcoming versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS and more.
This isn’t the only new sound-related upgrade packed into iOS 14. An upcoming Spatial Audio feature will provide better 3D sound for AirPods Pro. And an accessibility feature listens out for real-world sounds, like a person knocking on the door, smoke alarms or babies crying. It then notifies the hearing-impaired user.