How to Use the Sound Recognition Accessibility Feature in iOS 14

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Apr 12, 2001
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In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple has added an accessibility feature called Sound Recognition that enables iPhones and iPads to listen for certain sounds, like a doorbell or a baby crying, and alert the user if they're detected.


The feature is designed to help people that are hard of hearing, but Apple cautions that it shouldn't be relied upon in circumstances where the user may be harmed or injured, in high-risk or emergency situations, or for navigation.

With that caveat in mind, here's how to enable Sound Recognition on a device running iOS 14 or iPadOS 14.

How to Enable Sound Recognition on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Under Hearing, select Sound Recognition.

    Toggle the switch for Sound Recognition to the green ON position and wait a moment for the feature to download. Note that enabling the option requires 5.5MB of on-device storage.
  4. Tap Sounds.
  5. Select which sounds you want your device to listen for by toggling the switch next to each option.
Once the feature is enabled, your iPhone or iPad will continuously listen for the sounds you selected, and using on-device intelligence, will notify you when those sounds are recognized.

How to Add Sound Recognition to the Control Center

Once you've enabled Sound Recognition, you can add it to your device's Control Center to make it easier to switch on and off.
  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Control Center
    Under More Controls, tap the green plus (+) button beside Sound Recognition to add it to the list of Included Controls above. You can use the hamburger handles on the far right of the controls list to arrange them in the order you want.
Once that's done you can access the Sound Recognition button by launching Control Center on your iOS device: On an ‌iPad‌ or with a Home button, double-tap the Home button; on ‌iPhone‌ 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen; and on a 2018 iPad Pro or ‌iPhone‌ X and later, swipe down from the upper right of the screen.

Tap the Sound Recognition button to turn it on or off. You can also long press the button and change which sounds your device should listen for.

Article Link: How to Use the Sound Recognition Accessibility Feature in iOS 14
 

motm95

macrumors 6502
Aug 19, 2010
268
951
127.0.0.1
Dear Apple: Please add a sound recognition of my wife nagging me so I can then turn it off. That would be swell. ;-)
 

phobos512

macrumors regular
Mar 26, 2012
157
108
Arlington, VA, USA
So how does the alert work? Is it a vibration? Can it be setup to use the camera flash like a phone call can? Will it repeat the notification until it's addressed? We've been talking about this over on Reddit but there's a lot of unknowns still.
 

compwiz1202

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2010
1,448
801
They need to add a sound recognition for me cursing when I can't find my phone. That'll be much faster than using Find My Phone on the computer.
That could be cool if you could set some phrase whether profane or not that you could say, and it would chime the FMI sound.
 
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Hastings101

macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2010
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That could be cool if you could set some phrase whether profane or not that you could say, and it would chime the FMI sound.
Definitely would get a lot of use out of that. Whenever I can't find my phone seems to also be a moment when "Hey Siri" refuses to work and I'm not wearing my Apple Watch.
 
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cjboffoli97

macrumors member
Oct 4, 2005
64
111
Seattle, WA
The feature is one of the buggiest I've encountered thus far in the iOS 14 beta. I had to disable it within a day as it was nothing but spurious notifications. Pretty much any sound within a foot of my iPhone was being identified as running water. And mail notifications apparently were doorbells.
 

seanwithaz

macrumors newbie
Jun 26, 2020
1
1
Will this feature work with bluetooth audio connected? Say I have my AirPods in with Noise Cancellation on, will it still use the phone to recognize/detect these sounds? Or will it use the AirPods? or will it be disabled?
 
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iStorm

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2012
80
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So how does the alert work? Is it a vibration? Can it be setup to use the camera flash like a phone call can? Will it repeat the notification until it's addressed? We've been talking about this over on Reddit but there's a lot of unknowns still.
I'm curious about this as well. As a deaf person who cannot hear at night, it would be great if this can alert me if my dog is barking or having a fit while I am asleep. I would imagine (hope) that the notifications go to the watch too, but does it notify until dismissed (similar to the timer or alarm clock) or is it just a one time notification? Ideally, this should be configurable as I can see people would want it either way depending on the situation.

This is one of the less often mentioned awesome bits in the Apple Watch: swipe up on the face, tap the "Ping iPhone" button, iPhone immediately makes noise.
I agree, and you can hold the button in to make the LED light on the phone flash.
 
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bryce.wilson93

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2015
73
153
I wonder if they’ll allow that to be built into Siri Shortcuts. I would love to have this! Leave my spare iPad in the living room and build one to send me a text on my phone if my dog is barking while I’m away.
 
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baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,531
1,526
What would be really cool is to have a HomePod recognize these sounds and send you a notification when you're away from home. Getting notified about running water (washing machine leak) a doorbell or an alarm could be really useful.
 
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ConfusedChris

macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2013
258
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U.K.
It would be good to be able to record sounds that you want it to listen for. For example, a tone the washing machine makes when it is finished. A letter posted through the letterbox, the dog scratching at the door, ...

Assumes, of course, that a device was near enough etc. Perhaps HomePod would be best.

edit: There could be an online library of generic sounds to choose from. Machine learning would tweak it to your particular sound.
 
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123

macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2002
395
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This is one of the less often mentioned awesome bits in the Apple Watch: swipe up on the face, tap the "Ping iPhone" button, iPhone immediately makes noise.
Except of course there couldn't have been a worse implementation: Why is the phone not flashing? In the dark this would help a lot. Why is the sound so short? I'm looking for my phone, keep it going until I find/move the phone or turn it off on my watch.
 
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