An In-Depth Guide to Soothing Background Sounds on Your Apple Devices

Have you ever wished to focus while working without distracting music or silence? Or yearned for the perfect ambiance to smoothly fall asleep? Background sounds can provide that delicate auditory stimulation to enhance concentration, relaxation, and sleep.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the built-in background sounds feature on iPhones and iPads for enjoying white noise, nature sounds, and more.

You’ll learn:

  • Specific benefits of listening to background noises
  • Step-by-step instructions to set up sounds on your Apple device
  • An interactive demo allowing you to preview sound options
  • Detailed comparisons with third-party apps and recommendations
  • Technical specifications around device compatibility and audio quality
  • The science behind why subtle sounds impact focus, stress levels, and sleep quality

So whether you’re an overworked student, parent, or professional, let’s find your perfect audio atmosphere!

Why Listen to Background Sounds?

Before we dive into setup steps, understanding why apple devices offer background noise can motivate you to start using this underutilized feature.

Numerous studies have shown benefits like:

  • Enhanced Focus – Gentle background noise improves attention, vigilance, and working memory versus total silence. Sounds create enough stimulation to keep the mind engaged without crossing over into distraction territory.

  • Reduced Stress – Sounds like ocean waves or rainfall induce relaxation and lower stress hormone levels like cortisol. They provide a pleasing ambiance while masking unpleasant environmental noises.

  • Better Sleep – Continuous, soothing background noise masks nighttime disruptions better than intermittent white noise. This blocking external disturbances helps people fall asleep over 30% faster.

  • Eased Pain – Interestingly, playing certain sounds like water noises decreases pain ratings compared to noise-canceling headphones playing nothing. The subtle auditory stimulation impacts how the brain processes pain signals.

  • Improved Mood – Study participants listening to nature sounds reported higher positive effect levels and cheerfulness compared to people hearing nothing or city noises. Pleasant sounds literally put people in better moods!

With built-in background sounds on your iPhone or iPad, reaping these scientifically-proven benefits is convenient and affordable. Let‘s explore exactly how it works.

Step-by-Step Setup Guide

Accessing background sounds requires enabling them in Settings first. Then we‘ll show you how to conveniently toggle them via Control Center going forward:

Figure 1. Video Demonstration of Background Sound Setup Process

Follow along with the video above or use our annotated screenshots below:

iPhone Settings App

Figure 2. The iOS Settings app

1. Open Settings

Locate and open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Scroll Down to Accessibility

Scroll about halfway down the main Settings menu and tap Accessibility:

Accessibility Settings

Figure 3. Choose "Accessibility" in Settings

3. Select Audio/Visual

Next select Audio/Visual to reveal sound options:

Audio/Visual Settings

Figure 4. Access "Audio/Visual" under Accessibility Settings

4. Enable Background Sounds

Flip the switch for Background Sounds. Green means enabled.

Hit play below to preview available background sounds:






Interactive Audio Demos: Preview background sound options

Now we‘ll show you how to conveniently access these through Control Center.

Quickly Toggle Sounds via Control Center

Enabling background sounds in Control Center makes them much easier to toggle on and off as needed:

Control Center

Figure 5. Swipe up for iPhone Control Center access

1. Open Settings

Return to the main Settings menu.

2. Tap Control Center

Select Control Center to customize available toggles.

3. Add Hearing Toggle

Under More Controls, choose Hearing to add it.

4. Swipe Up/Down for Control Center

Now just swipe up on iPhones or down from top right of iPads to reveal Control Center.

5. Select Hearing Icon

Tap the ear icon under Hearing to access sounds.

And that‘s all it takes! This handy Control Center makes it easy to enable background sounds whenever you want to focus, relax, sleep better, or just have a pleasant ambiance.

Compare Built-In Vs. Third-Party Background Sounds

While Apple provides six high-quality background sound options, you may be wondering how they compare to third-party apps offering way more choices.

Built-In Pros

  • Convenient – No app download required
  • Seamless – Integrates with iOS features like Siri
  • No Ads – Uninterrupted listening experience
  • Save Storage – Small file sizes

Third-Party Pros

  • More Variety – Apps offer 100+ sound options
  • Customization – Can mix, loop, etc.
  • Offline Use – Download audio packs

We recommend giving Apple‘s free sounds a try first. However apps like Ambify or A Soft Murmur offer more advanced customizations for power users.

Now let‘s examine which devices you can listen with.

Compatible Devices

Background sounds automatically play through built-in iOS speakers. But they also work with any headphones, earbuds or external speakers connected to your Apple device via Bluetooth, lighting cables, AUX cables, etc.

You do not need AirPods or any specific accessories. Although we suggest over-ear headphones or standalone speakers to prevent ear discomfort from prolonged in-ear listening while sleeping.

OS Requirements

Background sounds work on iPhones and iPads running iOS 15 or above. So first check your iOS version via Settings > General > Software Update and upgrade if needed.

Then verify Bluetooth compatibility between your external listening device and Apple product below:

Listening DeviceRequired Bluetooth Version
AirPods MaxBluetooth 5.0
Beats HeadphonesBluetooth 4.0
JBL SpeakerBluetooth 4.2
Bose HeadsetBluetooth 5.1

Figure 6. Compatibility table for common listening devices

For best connectivity, both iOS and headphones/speakers should support Bluetooth 5.0 or higher. But most Bluetooth 4.0+ accessories will work fine too.

If experiencing choppy playback or drops, try the troubleshooting guide here or our headphone recommendations below.

More Background Sound Resources

For additional coverage surrounding background sounds and audio accessories, explore these History Computer articles next:

We hope this guide has equipped you to enjoy seamless background audio wherever you are. Just tap your iPhone or ask Siri to be transported into an oasis of beautiful sounds for improved focus, relaxation, and sleep.

Let us know if you have any other questions! We‘re happy to help enrich your soundscapes.

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