iOS 14 added a new accessibility feature that recognizes and alerts users about important sounds in their environment, such as emergencies and alarms.
With Apple‘s newest version of iOS, users can now use their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to get notifications about specific sounds in their environment. While this feature was developed with users that have hearing loss in mind, it’s actually a setting that most owners of iOS 14 compatible devices can benefit from.
When Apple made iOS 14 available, the company added a fair amount of features that aimed to improve the accessibility and connectivity of its devices. In fact, the entire update centered its focus on making Apple products easier to use and customize to match the individual user’s preferences. With many of the features included in iOS 14, it looks like Apple may be considering giving the user a bit more control over how their device functions, much like the diverse options available for Android smartphones.
One of their newest accessibility options is Sound Recognition. According to Apple, Sound Recognition uses “on-device intelligence” to listen to the noises in an environment and notify users who may have the potential to miss these sounds. This comes in the form of an on-screen notification that details what sound the device believes it detects. While this tech was developed for users that are deaf or hard of hearing, it’s something that could be useful for many users that might want to avoid missing certain important noises in their environment. For those that are hard of hearing, this feature can pair well with the enhanced environmental sound boost added to AirPods in iOS 14.
Why Most iPhone Users Should Enable Sound Recognition
Sound Recognition works by listening to the user’s environment for important sounds that the user may not have heard. This setting is completely customizable, meaning that users can enable detection for specific sounds that they want to be notified about. Sound Recognition can alert the user to a variety of important sounds and emergencies, so it’s worth turning on even if the user doesn’t experience any hearing troubles. The notifications can be beneficial when the device is left by itself or when the user is focused on something that could distract them from certain environmental noises. This setting is similar to a feature recently introduced in the latest version of Android that does much of the same thing.
To enable Sound Recognition, the user needs to open their settings app and navigate to the accessibility menu. Under “Hearing” users should see an option for Sound Recognition. Once this setting is enabled, users can choose from a wide variety of sounds for the device to listen for. The setting can be used to alert about alarms, sirens, animals, doorbells or knocks, running water, babies crying, appliance sounds, and more. After these sounds are toggled on, the device will notify the user with an on-screen priority notification when it detects the noise. If the user ever wants to disable the feature, they can do so quickly by using the iOS control center.
Although the feature includes notifications for emergency sounds, Apple does warn users not to rely on this feature to fully recognize sounds during an emergency. Like many of Apple’s other features, this should be used alongside other devices or services to ensure that the user is completely protected.
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