How to enable and customize Sound Recognition in iOS 14

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Sound Recognition in iOS 14
Let iPhone listen out for important sounds.
Photo: Robert Gramner/Cult of Mac

Sound Recognition might be an accessibility feature in iOS 14, but there are times when it might come in handy for any iPhone user. Find out how to enable and customize this brand-new feature in our handy guide.

Sound Recognition is incredibly useful for iPhone and iPad users with hearing impairments. And these are the users Apple will have had in mind when building the feature for iOS 14. But that’s not all it’s good for.

If you regularly watch movies, listen to music, or play games while wearing headphones, it could be handy for you, too. If you need to mow the grass on a Saturday while waiting for a delivery, it could be handy for you, too.

There are a ton of scenarios in which Sound Recognition can be a life-saver. Here’s how to get it set up.

Make the most of Sound Recognition in iOS 14

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Accessibility.
  2. Tap Sound Recognition.
  3. Use the toggle to enable the feature.

Sound Recognition is now in action, but you’ll need to customize it to your liking or it won’t be very helpful. To do this:

  1. While still inside the Sound Recognition menu, tap Sounds.
  2. Enable all the things you want Sound Recognition alerts for.
How to customize Sound Recognition in iOS 14
Enable all the sounds you want iPhone and iPad to listen out for.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The noises iOS 14 can currently recognize are:

  • Fire alarms
  • Sirens
  • Smoke alarms
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Appliances
  • Car horns
  • Doorbells
  • Door knocks
  • Running water
  • Babies crying
  • Shouting

With Sound Recognition on, you can have your headphones as loud as you like without having to worry about not hearing the door or the baby. But remember your iPhone needs to be able to hear these things, so place it somewhere suitable before you get settled in.