Smartphone

How to quickly use your iPhone to turn on white noise

(Pocket-lint) – Do you have a baby that needs white noise to fall asleep? Or maybe you’ve always listened to the sound of fans at night before going to bed, and now you find yourself in a hotel room hearing all the sounds around you, and you’re wishing for some way to cancel all the ambient noise outside so you can get some much-needed rest and relaxation.

There is hope: the iPhone has a white noise feature. Here’s how to use it.

What is white noise?

We can get really deep into this, but to save time, just know that white noise contains all frequencies, and it is frequently used to mask other sounds.

How to turn on white noise from Control Center on iPhone

If you want to cancel out background sounds and use your iPhone as a white noise machine, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Add Hearing to your Control Center

You need to add Hearing to your Control Center pane. Control Center gives you instant access to things – like quickly take a picture, turn on Wi-Fi, control your Apple TV, and, in this case, turn on white noise. But to get white noise as an option in your Control Center, you need to add it in the Settings app.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Search for and find the “Control Center” menu.
  3. Look for the control for “Hearing” and add it.

Note: To open Control Center, swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen. To close Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Step 2: Use Hearing in Control Center to turn on white noise

Once you’ve added Hearing as an option in Control Center, you can now use it to turn on white noise. Click on the option (ear icon) in Control Center, and from the “Background Sounds” option, select from: Balanced noise, bright noise, dark noise, ocean, rain, and stream. These are all considered white noise and are used to cancel out ambient sounds.

  1. Go to Control Center.
    • Swipe down from top-right corner of home screen.
  2. Tap Hearing (ear icon) in Control Center.
  3. Select a background sound from Hearing’s Speaker menu.
  4. Feel free to adjust the volume.
  5. You also have the option to connect an audio device.
  6. Make sure the Background Sounds button at the bottom says “on”.
    • Tap it to turn it on if it says off.

And that’s it!

How to turn on white noise with the side button on iPhone

If you want to use your side button to turn on white noise, rather than use the Control Center method above, then follow the steps below:

Step 1: Enable Background Sounds in Settings

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Search for and find the “Accessibility” menu.
  3. Select Audio/Visual (under Hearing).
  4. Select Background Sounds (Apple’s term for white noise).
  5. Tap the on/off toggle at the top of the page to enable Background Sounds.
  6. You can then adjust the volume and enable ‘stop sounds when locked’ if you prefer.
  7. Be sure to pick a sound before you back out:
    • Balanced noise
    • Bright noise
    • Dark noise
    • Ocean
    • Rain
    • Stream

Step 2: Create an Accessibility shortcut

Once you’ve set your preferences in the step above, you need to create an Accessibility shortcut.


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  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Search for and find the “Accessibility” menu.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Accessibility Shortcut (under General).
  4. Tap Background Sounds to select it from the list.

Step 3: Triple-click the side button

Completing step two above will set Background Sounds as your accessibility shortcut – so your preferred background sound will play anytime you triple-click the side button, even with the screen locked. You can also map Background Sounds to Back Tap, too, if you prefer.

See this for more: How to use the iPhone Apple logo as a secret button.

Will white noise turn off when your iPhone locks?

Nope! You’d have to specifically set it in settings to turn off when your iPhone is locked (which we detail how above). So no worries there! 

Writing by Maggie Tillman.




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