The iPhone’s Sound Recognition Function Is a Huge Safety Asset

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As someone who’s all about planning ahead, this newly discovered iPhone hack is a game changer for me. After learning how to hear conversations from across the room and playing around in the Shortcuts app to schedule texts, I came across an Automation hack that doubles as a safety feature in case of an emergency – and I’ll definitely be using it ASAP.

From the “Sound Recognition” tab under the Automations section of the Shortcuts app, you can set up your phone to recognise sounds – including pets, sirens, running water, smoke alarms, shouting, coughing, glass breaking, appliances beeping, and more. In response to selected sounds, you can program your phone to automatically send a text, make a call, or perform just about any other action you can think of. Need your phone to call a family member as soon as a fire alarm goes off? Set it up. Want to verify whether someone was expecting company as soon as the doorbell rings? That can be arranged.

Apart from being super helpful in an emergency, it’s a useful feature if you want to ask your sister to get the door because you’re in a virtual yoga class or if you want to play “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings every time your dog barks at you. The only catch is that you have to make sure you have the Sound Recognition feature on under the Accessibility section of your Settings, which automatically disables the “Hey, Siri” feature on your iPhone.

But if you aren’t spending a lot of time chatting with your AI and want to make sure someone is alerted as soon as a smoke alarm goes off, this is definitely a helpful safety feature to have turned on. See how to program your phone to recognise sounds here.

Related: What to Do If You Find an Unknown Apple AirTag With You

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