You don’t have to be hard of hearing to appreciate one of Android’s best audio features. This can warn you when a baby is crying, a smoke detector goes off or when various nefarious sounds such as breaking glass can be heard.
It is a native feature for most phones as it has been added to Android 11 by Google. Even if your phone doesn’t have it built in yet, you can still manually download the utility and use this feature today. It’s pretty easy to set up, and it’s pretty reliable thanks to Google’s machine learning.
Enable environmental emergency alerts
This feature is a new addition to Google̵
When you are sure it is up to date, open the Live Transcribe app from your app drawer. If you can’t find it there, open your Settings app and select ‘Accessibility’ (or ‘System’ then ‘Accessibility’ on some phones). From there, select Live Transcribe from the list to open it, or if you are using a Samsung phone, open the “Hearing Enhancements” submenu, thereafter tap Live Transcribe.
The app may ask you for permission to access your microphone – if so, allow it. Then from the main menu, tap the gear-shaped settings button in the lower left corner. Choose “Open Sound Notifications” here, then you can read a little about how the feature works and tap “Enable” to activate it.
Now you want to place your phone face down in the area you want to check. This is because the service may use your camera flash to notify you of a sound. If you have a smartwatch, all the better! Make sure you are within Bluetooth range and you will be instantly notified of any sounds on your wrist.
Many different types of sounds can be identified. While you can turn off some of these in Sound Notifications settings, these are the sounds the app listens to by default:
- Smoke and fire alarms
- Baby sounds
- Doorbell rings
- That’s right
- Dog barks
- The device beeps
- Running water
- Landline phone rings
You can tap the settings icon in the top right corner of the main interface to adjust your notification preferences. You can choose to choose “Show icon in apps list” to make the feature easier to access, or you can set it with your phone’s accessibility shortcut to quickly turn it on and off. To turn off sound notifications manually, tap the settings icon and turn off the switch next to ‘Sound notifications are active’.
Google uses this technology for some of its Nest Protect security features. Smart home products like the Nest Mini and Nest Home Max can constantly monitor such sounds because they don’t rely on a charged battery like your phone. But since you can get this iteration for free, it’s a much better value proposition.
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