Every software update Apple issues comes packed with new-and-improved features designed to help users get more out of their iPhones, and iOS 15 is no exception. But perhaps the most useful among the hotly anticipated features that iOS 15 offers is a new suite of accessibility options for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities
One new feature that has users particularly jazzed is a set of background sounds tailored for neurodivergent people who find them beneficial in helping to retain focus, maintain a self of calm and minimize distractions. Apple has given users six different types of sounds they can pop on in the background: balanced noise, rain, bright noise, dark noise, ocean and stream.
For anyone wondering how to enable the new background noise feature in iOS 15, here’s a quick and easy step-by-step guide: Tap Settings, then Accessibility. Find Hearing, then select Audio/Visual. Tap Background Sounds. Under the Sound tab, select the ambient noise you want to listen to.
According to Apple, the new sounds “continuously play in the background to mask unwanted environmental or external noise, and the sounds mix into or duck under other audio and system sounds.”
As Gizmodo has previously reported, the enhanced accessibility features don’t stop there: Apple’s latest OS also now supports bi-directional hearing aids in its Made for iPhone hearing devices program, and also adds support for recognizing audiograms—charts that show the results of a hearing test—to Headphone Accommodations. For low-vision communities, VoiceOver, which was recently updated to include image descriptions, will now be even better at giving details about the people, text, data and other objects within images.
“At Apple, we’ve long felt that the world’s best technology should respond to everyone’s needs, and our teams work relentlessly to build accessibility into everything we make,” Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, said in a statement. “With these new features, we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation with next-generation technologies that bring the fun and function of Apple technology to even more people — and we can’t wait to share them with our users.”