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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple has added a useful accessibility feature to iOS 14 called Sound Recognition that can notify users about important sounds like fire alarms and doorbells, as noted by Federico Viticci. This is especially helpful for people that are hard of hearing.


When the feature is enabled, Apple says your iPhone will continuously listen for certain sounds, and using on-device intelligence, will notify you when those sounds may be recognized. This includes sounds from fire alarms, sirens, smoke detectors, cats, dogs, household appliances, car horns, doorbells, knocking, water running, a baby crying, and shouting.

Apple says Sound Recognition should not be relied upon in circumstances where you may be harmed or injured, in high-risk or emergency situations, or for navigation. The feature is also in beta right now, so it may not be fully reliable yet.


Sound Recognition can be enabled in the Settings app under the Accessibility menu, and requires 5.5MB of on-device storage. Users can quickly access the feature in Control Center, complete with a list of sounds that users can set to be detected.

Installing the iOS 14 beta currently requires an Apple Developer Program membership for $99 per year, but a free public beta will be rolled out next month. The software update will be released to all users with an iPhone 6s or newer in the fall. Due to potential bugs, it is recommended that users avoid installing the software on their main devices.

Article Link: iOS 14 Can Notify Users About Sounds Like Fire Alarms and Doorbells

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
This could be very useful, indeed, for hearing-impaired people! I know there have been times when I've missed hearing someone at the door because I was in another room and they didn't knock very loudly. Also, water running could be a great reminder that one has left the bathtub filling or stepped away from the kitchen sink to answer a phone call and the water is still running.... Many years ago I was rinsing dishes in the sink and a phone call on my landline in the other room distracted me and I forgot about the water still running.....

After finishing up the phone call I remembered something I wanted to check on the computer, which also was in another room, so did that and then got busy and involved with the computer.... Only some time later when I decided to go out to the kitchen to get a drink of water did I discover that a glass had shifted in the sink and had blocked the drain, so the sink had filled up and was overflowing all over the floor! That was a mess, to say the least.....

Expos of 1969

Aug 25, 2013
What will trigger these? Can you set volume levels which will activate / not activate? If you have a cat, do you want to be notified every time kitty meows?
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Reactions: KUguardgrl13


macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2017
It is a useful thing for disabled people but it varies in usefulness depending on where you are. If you are in a city it is almost always going to go off multiple times a day no less.
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Expos of 1969

Aug 25, 2013
With water running, will this not start your Apple Watch listening to determine if you have washed your hands the full 20 seconds? Our ancestors who settled the lands where we live with nothing but hard labour, muscle, perseverance, and sacrifice must be rolling in their graves now.


macrumors regular
Dec 24, 2011
This is so awesome. Imagine if HomePod could identify the unique beep of a microwave being finished, or the tone of a dishwasher or washing machine finishing its cycle, and provide users a notification. It would help make "dumb" devices smart without needing to buy brand new appliances.


macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2002
Vancouver, BC
Can't wait for this to be triggered by movies/shows.

You know better than that! You'll be using the AppleTV device (of course!), which will be linked to your phone via Wifi (of course!), so the two will coordinate. When the AppleTV knows that the siren is coming from the movie it's playing, it will tell your phone "hey mate, don't notify about this siren, okay?", and the phone will be like "okay dude, you got it!"

Expos of 1969

Aug 25, 2013
Most hard of hearing people have chosen (or should) to wear a hearing aid. This is just Apple intruding into more of your life for $$$. Apple's disclaimer is so wide that it is clear this is nothing but a gimmick that may work in some cases. If one chooses to put their safety in the hands of Mr. Cook, all the best....
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