iPhones Have Built-in White Noise That Nobody Knows

If you have a new iPhone, you don't need to buy a white noise machine.

If you have a new iPhone, you don’t need to buy a white noise machine.

If you have a new iPhone, you don’t need to buy a white noise machine.

While many people shop online to find a white noise machine that can run from $20 to over $100, it may not be necessary. You probably already have one – you might even be holding one right now.

All iPhones running iOS 15 or later have built-in white noise, provided it’s an iPhone X or later and the software is up to date. (For reference, iPhone X models were first made available in 2017, so newer iPhones – iPhone 11, 12, 13, 14 and models in each series – will have this feature.)

But first: What do these white noise devices actually do?

Associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The key feature of audio equipment is constant sound, as opposed to changing sounds like music, radio and television,” said David Neubauer. “Our brain pays attention to changing sound, but a comfortable and steady sound can help us sleep.”

Different sounds in your home can also block out environmental noise, but the constant noises emanating from these machines will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Here’s how to use your iPhone’s white noise sounds.

The setting isn’t labeled “white noise” on your iPhone, but rather “background sounds”.

To access this feature, go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Sounds.

While you’re here, turn on the background sounds and you’ll be greeted with a soothing sound that will help you sleep or focus.

You can choose from a range of sounds: rain, stream, ocean, balanced noise, bright noise and dark noise. You can also adjust the volume of the sound.

That’s all you have to do to choose your preferred background sound and volume.

Note that you cannot set a timer for this background sound to turn off after a certain time, but you can turn on a setting that will stop background sounds when your phone is locked.

Here’s a step-by-step visual explanation video for turning on your phone’s white noise feature.

You can add a shortcut to access this feature quickly.

If you want to use this feature often but don’t want to follow the steps above every time, you can set up an accessibility shortcut.

By creating an accessibility shortcut for background sounds, you’ll be able to toggle your preferred background sound on and off by pressing the power button on the side of your iPhone three times.

To set an accessibility shortcut, go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and select Background Sounds. From there, you’ll be able to use the triple tap trick to turn on the white noise.

Background sound for sleep can be helpful for several reasons.

There’s a reason so many people, from parents of babies to people living in busy neighborhoods, swear by these white noise noises.

“I think there are two ways audio devices can help. Most obviously, they can block out other sudden noises that can wake us up during complete silence at night,” Neubauer said.

These sounds can include honking, dogs barking, or noisy neighbors – anything that has probably woken you up at some point in your life.

The devices also “form a solid cocoon that can provide a sense of security,” Neubauer said. “Sometimes absolute silence can cause people to listen intently and interfere with falling asleep.”

In other words, since your sound machine blocks out the noise and puts you to sleep, you won’t find yourself listening to noises at night, but you will still be able to hear important sounds like a house alarm.

These machines often emit calming sounds such as rain or fan humming, or calming static sounds, formally known as brown noise or pink noise. (“While “white noise” is often used as a general term, true white noise can be pretty harsh—these alternatives are much more convenient for sleeping, Neubauer said.)

While a recent systematic review of audio devices found no evidence of their benefit, Neubauer said it was because there wasn’t a lot of serious research on the subject. He said audio devices are still worth a try – he uses them himself.

And if you have a new iPhone, you can try sleeping with soothing background sounds without even buying a sound machine.


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