How to Play Background Sounds on iPhone like Rain, Stream, and More

Raining

There’s no more need for third-party apps to play ambient sounds on your iPhone.

iOS 15 is finally here, out of the beta phase and onto the phones for the general public. One of the things people love most about any new update is discovering the hidden gems.

Of course, everyone’s excited about the grand reveals Apple showcases at the WWDC. But discovering these new bits that are left out of the keynote at the WWDC is equally thrilling, perhaps even more so.

One of the new features iOS 15 offers is ambient background sounds. The background sounds can help you focus, rest or stay calm by masking the unwanted environmental or external noises. There are a handful of calming sounds you can choose from, like rain, ocean, stream, balanced noise, dark noise, and bright noise. Here’s how to use this feature in iOS 15.

Using Background Noise from the Settings

Open the Settings app. Scroll down and tap the option for ‘Accessibility’.

In the accessibility settings, scroll down again and tap ‘Audio/ Visual’.

Then, go to ‘Background Sounds’. You can enable Background sounds and manage other related settings from here.

To enable ‘Background Sounds’, turn on the toggle.

When using it for the first time, it’ll play the default sound, i.e., Rain. To change the type of ambient sound, tap the option for ‘Sound’.

The list of available sounds will open. Tap an option to use it. When you tap the sound for the first time, it’ll take some time to download. Tap ‘Back’ after selecting a sound to return to the previous screen.

There are also other settings you can tweak from the Background Sounds settings.

Background Sounds can have their own volume independent of your system or ringer volume. Drag the slider for ‘<Sound name> volume’ to adjust the volume.

You can also configure whether background sounds will play when other media is playing and set the volume independently if you choose to play. To enable background sounds while other media is playing, turn on the toggle for ‘Use When Media is Playing’. And drag the slider for ‘Volume with Media’ to adjust the volume.

You can preview how it’ll sound with other media by tapping the ‘Play Sample’ option. You can then accordingly adjust the volume depending on what you hear.

Lastly, you can configure whether or not to play the background sounds when your phone is locked. By default, the option is off. So, when you lock your iPhone when the background sound is on, it’ll continue to play. Enable the toggle for ‘Stop Sounds When Locked’ to stop the background sounds when you lock your iPhone.

To stop background sounds, turn off the toggle for ‘Background Sounds’.

Now, let’s be honest. Diving so deep into the settings every time you want to turn background sounds on/ off seems a little cumbersome, doesn’t it? The settings screen for Background Sounds is great for when you want to tweak the settings, like when using it for the first time. But to use the feature more readily, there’s another method.

Use Background Sounds from the Control Centre

You can easily enable/ disable background sounds from the Control Centre from the ‘Hearing’ control.

If you don’t have it in your control Centre, simply follow this step to add it. But if you do, skip this step. Open the Settings app, scroll down and tap the option for ‘Control Centre’.

In the Control Centre settings, go to ‘More Controls’ (the ones with green + symbols on their left) and find ‘Hearing’. Then, tap the ‘+’ to include it in the Control Centre.

Now, swipe down from the right notch or up from the bottom of the screen (according to your phone model) to bring the Control Centre. Then, tap the ‘Hearing’ icon.

Tap ‘Background Sounds’ to turn it on either from the option on the card, or the circular button at the bottom of the screen.

To change the sounds, tap the name of the current sound on the card.

The list of sounds will open. Select another sound to change the ambient sound. Tap outside of the card to go back.

You can adjust the volume of the background sounds directly from the control centre. Drag the slider to adjust the volume. Tap outside of the card to go back to the control centre and close the control centre by tapping anywhere.

To turn off the Background sounds, tap the Hearing icon from the Control Centre again and tap the ‘Background Sounds’ button at the bottom.

That’s about all you can do from the Control Centre, though. To manage other options, you have to go to the Settings app only.


Backgrounds sounds in iOS 15 are not as evolved as some other dedicated third-party apps. But it’s only the beginning and there’s nowhere but up to go from here. Hopefully, the feature will evolve more in the future. For now, you can use these ambient sounds to focus on tasks, meditate, or go to sleep.