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Key Points

  • You may wish to listen to white noise or background sounds to help you sleep or to assist with deep focus and study.
  • iPhones and iPads both offer background sounds at your fingertips.
  • Background noise can be used by any speaker or headphone device compatible with Apple products and is not limited to only AirPods or built-in speakers.

Working with music playing in your ear is sometimes too distracting, but sometimes silence is not enough stimulation. That’s where white noise comes in. Apple has you covered with any device that is on iOS 15 or newer you have easy access to continuous white noise at your fingertips. Before we learn how to play background sounds on iPhones and iPads, let’s look at some benefits of listening to white noise or natural sounds while working.

Why Should I Listen to White Noise?

Multiple studies have shown the benefits of listening to background noise, but we want to focus on one from the Academy of Sciences. They found that listening to white noise or background noise can lower stress, relieve perceived pain, and help you have a cheerful disposition. Besides the mental health benefits, white noise has also been shown to help adults learn new words, improve learning, and help people sleep.

There has been a significant push recently to find solutions to stress and anxiety because of the pandemic. White noise has become an easy solution accessible to everyone. If you have never heard white noise before, gentle static is the best way to describe it.

Here is how to access background noise on your iOS device.

Set up Background Sounds Through Settings

1. Open Settings

If you have trouble finding it, the icon is a gray square with gear wheels.

On your iPhone or iPad, locate the Settings app and open it.

2. Scroll Down to Accessibility

In the Settings menu, scroll down about halfway and select Accessibility.

3. Select Audio/Visual

Scroll down again and select the Audio/Visual option.

4. Tap Background Sounds

Turn on the toggle which will now display green.

You can also decide if you want to allow background noises to play while another media is playing.

Turn On Background Sounds Through Control Center

Now that you have the settings for the background sound set, we recommend you set up the toggle for the Control Center to make it easier to turn it on and off. To do that, follow these 6 easy steps.

1. Open Settings

On your iPhone or iPad, locate the Settings app and open it. If you are having trouble finding it, the icon is a gray square with gear wheels.

2. Select Control Center

In the settings menu, tap Control Center. If you followed the first steps, settings might open back into the accessibility menu to find Control Center back out to the main settings page.

3. Scroll Down to Hearing

The hearing icon is a blue square with a white ear.

Scroll down to the More Controls option and look for Hearing. And press the green + icon to add it to your Control Center.

4. Open Control Center

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

On an iPad, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen.

5. Tap on The Ear Icon

To open the background sounds menu, tap on the ear icon.

6. Turn on Background Sounds

The small circular ear icon at the screen’s bottom will now display blue.

When you are done listening to the background sound, select that blue circle again to turn off background sounds.


Following these steps above, you can listen to background noise to your heart’s content. We also would like to mention that you are not limited to the built-in speaker or Airpods. Background noise can be used by any speaker or headphone device compatible with Apple products.

We highly recommend this feature for anyone with an iOS device, especially for working from home and traveling. Play around with the sounds and see which one works best for you. We tend to go for the Ocean sound, but there are six excellent options.


How To Play Background Sounds (White Noise) On iPhones and iPads, With Photos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can I add more Background Sounds IOS 15?

Unfortunately, at the moment, you cannot add your own sounds to the background sound settings.

Will Apple add more Background Sounds?

There have been no announcements saying if Apple will add more than 6 already available background sounds.

Can Siri play rain sounds?

In combination with the HomePod, Siri can now play background sounds as well, just like iOS devices. So if you have a HomePod, give Siri a shout and try it out.

Is it OK to sleep with white noise?

Many experts and studies have found sleeping with white noise very helpful. The only thing to keep an eye out for is if you suffer from tinnitus, you do not want to listen to earbuds all night. Try getting a speaker instead.

What is the difference between white noise and black noise?

White noise, like the steady hum of a ceiling fan, blocks sudden noises from interrupting your sleep, while pink noise does the same, but in a much more gentle, calm manner. Brown noise, like the rumble of a storm, is a great way to achieve focus during the workday, and black noise is the absence of sound itself.

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More from History-Computer

  • Mashable Available here: https://mashable.com/article/how-to-turn-on-background-sounds-ios-15
  • CNET Available here: https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/ios15-background-sounds-feature-is-here-to-help-you-focus-heres-how/
  • 9to5 Mac Available here: https://9to5mac.com/2022/03/01/use-iphone-background-sounds-in-ios-15/
  • Apple Insider Available here: https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/07/23/how-to-use-rain-dark-noise-and-more-background-sounds-in-ios-15
  • Apple Available here: https://support.apple.com/guide/airpods/play-background-sounds-deva1bf8faad/web