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.

ios 14 sound recognition notification
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.
    settings

  4. 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.
  5. Tap Sounds.
  6. Select which sounds you want your device to listen for by toggling the switch next to each option.
    settings

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
  3. 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.
    settings

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.

Top Rated Comments

BootsWalking Avatar
26 months ago
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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
26 months ago

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.
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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scemn Avatar
26 months ago
Would the notifications also show up on an Apple Watch? May be nice to have iPhone "listening" for the door when I am stuck in my temporary office in basement and I know a package is coming.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keithdoc Avatar
26 months ago

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.
And . . my most USED feature.

The Apple Watch. . . Raison d'etre!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hortod1 Avatar
26 months ago
Seat behind you on an airliner - baby crying.

Siri - hey there’s a baby crying
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iStorm Avatar
26 months ago

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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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