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How To Stay Focused and Relaxed with Background Sounds on Your iPhone and iPad

One of the excellent new features in iOS and iPadOS 15 is Background Sounds. Who needs a white noise machine when your iPhone or iPad has this nifty feature already installed. This tutorial will walk you through how to access and why you might want to use them. 

Sometimes background sounds can help you focus, sleep or even calm you down, sounds like a stream, the ocean, or even static noise. Many websites and iPhone apps can help you play a wide variety of noise, but if you are running iOS or iPadOS 15, you can use the built-in feature. 

A popular option people have discovered is that you can use them along with Music and other media for a more immersive experience. However, if you find this too distracting, you can toggle it off using the switch next to “Use When Media is Playing.”

How To Play Background Noise

On your iPhone or iPad 

  • Tap Settings app
  • Scroll down and tap Accessibility
  • Now find and choose Audio/Visual
  • Tap the toggle on the switch 

Background Sounds Accessibility

Setting up Your Sounds

Tap to choose the noise you want to hear. You’ll have six options

  • Balanced
  • Bright
  • Dark
  • Ocean
  • Rain
  • Stream

Choose Background Sounds

You’ll have options to turn up the volume, use it when media is playing and Stop Sounds when Locked.

When changing a different noise for the first time, it will take a moment to download them fully.

You can use your device’s volume buttons once you’ve started to play the sounds.

Background Sounds in the Control Center 

It’s much faster and more convenient to play from the Control Center, but you first need to set that up.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Control Center
  • Select the + next to hearing to add it to the control center

Now swipe down from the top right corner of your device to open the Control Center choose hearing; It looks like an ear icon; now tap Background sounds from the pop-up menu.

Control Center Background Sounds

To change the sounds, Select Background sounds and choose another sound. You can now tap anywhere on the screen to get out of the control center. 

When you’ve finished, open the Control Center tap on hearing now choose the little blue icon towards the bottom, which will turn off Background sounds.

Background Sounds Using Siri and Accessibility Shortcut

Background sounds can be activated with an Accessibility shortcut. It’s easier and faster to use than the Control Center, as you can quickly turn it off and on by triple-clicking your iPhone side button.

  • Open Settings
  • Scroll and tap on Accessibility
  • Select Accessibility Shortcut under General at the bottom of the page
  • Now choose Background sounds

Accessibility Shortcuts for Background Sounds

Try triple-clicking on your side button to start the Background Sounds. The only downside I can see is that you won’t have the option to change sounds. Instead, it will play the sound that’s already been checked in the settings section.


Background Sounds is a handy edition to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. However, once you start using the Background Sounds, you might want more features or just more sounds in general. A couple of apps in the App Store might suit your needs. Check out Dark Noise, a paid app, or try Relax Melodies for free.


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