Smart home alarm systems are all the rage, but they’re also very expensive. A relatively simply setup can cost hundreds of dollars, with things like glass-break and leak sensors driving process up. Or you can use this iPhone trick.
Scroll a bit down in the Accessibility tab in Settings, you’ll find a tab for Sound Recognition. Switch it on and your iPhone will listen for over a dozen sounds using on-device intelligence and “notify you when sounds may be recognized.” Sounds are organized by category and include many common sounds:
Alarms: Fire, Siren, Smoke
Animals: Cat, Dog
Household: Appliances, Car Horn, Door Bell, Door Knock, Glass Breaking, Kettle, Water Running
People: Baby Crying, Coughing, Shouting
You can select as many as the sounds as you like, and it’s all very automatic. When your iPhone is within range of one of the sounds, you’ll get a notification and an alert tone and vibration to let you know. I’ve tested it for a few of them and it works impressively well. I got notifications for water running from several rooms away and a door bell. I haven’t tested glass breaking but it’s definitely the most intriguing, as most of the alarm glass-break sensors I’ve had are very hit-or-miss.
It’s meant as an aid for people with hearing issues, and it obviously won’t (and shouldn’t) replace a home monitoring or smart alarm system, but it’ll work in a pinch if you want a little extra peace of mind without buying or setting up any equipment in your home. Getting a timely alert could help you call the authorities or fix a leak before it becomes a problem.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.