How to play built-in Background Sounds in iOS and iPadOS 15

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Play Background Sounds in iOS 15
No need for third-party sound apps anymore.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

One of the upgrades to Accessibility in iOS and iPadOS 15 is a new Background Sounds feature that plays relaxing audio tracks to help you stay calm and focused, and to block out background distractions.

Here’s how to use it on iPhone and iPad.

With the new Background Sounds feature, you can play balanced, bright, and dark noise, as well as ocean, rain, and stream sounds to help you concentrate and relax when using your iPhone or iPad.

The feature may negate the need to purchase or subscribe to third-party background noise apps. Its only downside is that it’s not a dedicated app, but rather hidden away inside your device’s Accessibility settings.

So, here’s where you can find it, and how to use it.

How to use Background Sounds in iOS and iPadOS 15

Follow these steps on iPhone and iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Accessibility, then choose Audio/Visual.
  3. Tap Background Sounds, then tap the toggle to enable.
  4. Select Sound to choose a different effect, and use the volume slider to control how loud you want Background Sounds to be. Also enable or disable (your choice) Background Sounds when media is playing.
Find Background Sounds under Audio/Visual.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Note that your device will need to download new background audio files the first time you select a new one. The sounds don’t weight much, so you don’t need to worry about them taking up a lot of storage space.

Use Control Center for easier access

Once you have downloaded the background audio files you want to use, you can enable or disable Background Sounds quicker by using the Hearing button inside Control Center.

After adding the Hearing item, follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Center.
  2. Tap the Hearing button.
  3. Select Background Sounds.
  4. Tap the Background Sounds button to activate.
  5. Tap Background Sounds again to switch to another sound.
Play Background Sounds in iOS 15
Once set up, you can control Background Sounds inside Notification Center.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac