The best thing iPhone ever did

I hate outside noise. Dogs barking as their owners take them out on their nightly walks, loud motorcycles revving up down the highway, even the sound of footsteps going up and down the stairs next to my apartment. It drives me insane.

Growing up in the country where your nearest neighbor in either direction is easily a mile away definitely spoiled me. The quiet there is truly unmatched.

So when I moved to an apartment in a much bigger city that is right next to the highway, I had to adjust.

I shopped around for white noise machines but couldn’t find one worth my money. I had a cheap one from Amazon at my previous job; I worked on a college campus and my office was right next to a basketball court (I can still hear the sound of those wretched balls dribbling all over the sidewalk.) It did an okay job, but it wasn’t great either. I left it for the next person when I resigned.

I searched high and low, but to no avail. Then Apple did something amazing.

iOS 15 launched in Fall 2021. While Focus (Apple’s new and improved Do Not Disturb) was the star of the update, there were several other smaller ones that are equally as cool, like text recognition from images, SharePlay, and Background Sounds.

Background Sounds (i.e. white noise) can be found in Settings under Accessibility. This guide shows you how to locate the feature and tweak it to your liking. It also outlines how to add them to your Control Center, making it much easier to access (which is what I did.)

Background Sounds in Control Center (poorly circled)

There isn’t a robust selection of sounds to choose from (so if you enjoy the sound of loud rain on a tin roof, you’ll have to keep using YouTube for that.) But I’ve found that it works for me.

It’s become a nightly routine to connect my phone to my Bluetooth speaker by my bed and let Dark Noise lull me to sleep.

Does it magically eliminate traffic noise? Of course not. But I haven’t heard a dog bark in a long time.


Do you have a tried and true method for adding ambient background noise into your space? Or do you hate the idea of anything louder than silence when it’s time to unwind? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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