How to Use the Sound Recognition Accessibility Feature in iOS 14

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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.
    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.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, iPadOS 14

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
13 weeks 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: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks 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)
Avatar
12 weeks 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)
Avatar
13 weeks 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: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago
I really want to be able to have a shortcut react to the notification! As is Shortcuts can only enable or disable the sound recognizers.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago
This is really cool idea. It would even go great with listening to music on my noise cancelling headphones.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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