Stop. Hey, What’s That Sound?

Apple has come up with a new trick to help people who don’t hear very well identify sounds around them. Before turning this feature on, you should be aware that it will turn off the “Hey Siri” functionality. This means that you will not be able to use the above phrase to talk to Siri. You can still use the home or side button to talk to Siri though.

One other thing to note is that the sound recognition is done on the device itself. Audio is not transmitted to apple. Also, this will work on iPhones and iPads running iOS 14, or iPad OS 14 or greater.

So, with all that out of the way, lets walk you through how to turn this feature on. In order for it to work, this feature will download about 5 megabytes to your phone. You will also get the following disclaimer from Apple:

“Your iPhone will continuously listen for certain sounds, and using on-device intelligence will notify you when sounds may be recognized. Sound Recognition should not be relied upon in circumstances where you may be harmed or injured, in high-risk or emergency situations, or for navigation.”

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Go to Accessibility.
  3. Look for Sound Recognition.

Once you arrive here, you will want to turn this feature on. You will then have the option of selecting what sounds you would like your phone or iPad to alert you to.

You can check off as many sounds as you’d like, and your iPhone/iPad will give you an alert whenever it hears those sounds (i.e., a doorbell ringing).

Tip: you can also quickly turn this feature on or off from within the control center.

I find that this feature can work great if you are distracted but would like to have an extra set of ears to help you out. It can also be very helpful if you have headphones on, and would like to be alerted to certain sounds that you don’t want to miss.

Below is the current list of categories and sounds within those categories that Apple devices can listen for.


  • Fire
  • Siren
  • Smoke


  • Cat
  • Dog


  • Appliances
  • Car horn
  • Doorbell
  • Door knock
  • Water running


  • Baby Crying


Final Remarks

Apple says that you should not rely on this service in cases of emergency, navigation, or in cases where you could be harmed. In spite of that disclaimer, I think you will find this a nice feature to help you stay alert to your surroundings. Apple indicates that more sounds will be added in the future.

With that I will sign off for now.


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