In practice – Your iPhone as a white noise generator to help you fall asleep better


If your iPhone is running iOS 15, it can turn into a white noise generator to try to reduce the perception of outside noise and help you join Morpheus. Here’s how.

Noise to fall asleep? This may seem paradoxical. However, certain sounds that are similar to noise can help you relax and, why not, plunge you into a restful sleep. These so-called white noises are signals made up of all the audible frequencies, each frequency having the same energy. As specified Wikipediawhite noise (or white noise) “designates, without mathematical rigor, an acute variety of breath”. You know, the famous noise that we heard at the end of the programs when a television displayed “snow”.

white noise generated by Audacity

Spectrum of white noise generated by Audacity.

By analogy with white light which corresponds to the equivalent superposition of the different wavelengths visible to the eye, white noise is the result of the superposition of all the audible frequencies emitted at an equivalent power. This set of sounds of the same intensity produces a single uniform sound. This white noise, which may ultimately seem unpleasant (it’s a noise to say the least… noisy) can saturate your auditory receptors and thus reduce your perception of surrounding noise. Less disturbed, it would then be possible to fall asleep more easily. We use the conditional here, because if there are several scientific studies, it is difficult to find a consensus on the benefit of white noise on falling asleep and the quality of sleep. Be that as it may, the Internet is full of hours-long videos of purring dishwashers, rain, wind or waves that have been viewed — and above all, listened to — millions of times.

The iPhone, white noise generator

Since version 15, Apple’s iOS mobile operating system has offered an option to stream white noise. To do this, you need to go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Sounds.

generate white noise with iPhone and iOS 15

You get to background sound settings in just a few steps.

You then arrive on the white noise settings screen. In the Sound section you can choose between different noises. From Noise balance to Ocean passing by Rivers and Dark noise, you are free to select the one that suits you.

If this technique works for you, and to save you too many manipulations of turning on the background sound, you can define the Accessibility Hotkey with this function. Once activated (Settings > Accessibility > Shortcut Accessibility), it will be enough to press three times on the button present on the right side of the iPhone to start the diffusion of the noise.

generate white noise with Apple iOS

Rain, ocean or dark noise: it’s up to you to choose the atmosphere you want to fall asleep with.

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In practice – Your iPhone as a white noise generator to help you fall asleep better

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