Most of us won’t get iOS 18 on our iPhones until September, but the software is now in its developer beta stage, with new features being added regularly – including some useful upgrades to background sounds and dark mode.

First up are the background sounds, as spotted by MacRumors. Since iOS 15 arrived in 2021 it’s been possible to have your iPhone play ambient noise to help you relax or focus, with options such as sounds of the ocean or falling rain.

Now there are two new sounds, alongside the existing six: Night and Fire. According to Gizchina, the former includes audio of soft winds and chirping crickets, while the latter features audio of a crackling and popping fire.

Assuming these new loops stay in place through beta testing, you’ll have even more options for background noise. You can access the feature by opening the Accessibility menu in iOS Settings, then tapping Audio & Visual and Background Sounds.

Going dark

The iPhone 15 Pro Max facing upwards, being held in a hand

The iPhone 15 Pro Max will be getting iOS 18 (Image credit: Future)

Another new change, as per Tom’s Guide, involves the home screen icons: it appears that all app icons will now get forced into a dark-mode look, even if the app developer hasn’t specifically configured an alternative appearance for the app.

That should mean a better visual experience when you go into dark mode on your iPhone, though based on early testing it looks as though these forced dark-mode app icons aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as those specifically made by developers.

Taken together, these updates should help you wind down after a long day of phone use – you can dim your iPhone screen, and stick on the sounds of a quiet night or a crackling campfire to relax your way towards bedtime.

In recent weeks we’ve also seen new features including dynamic wallpapers and RCS support added to iOS 18. The public beta of the software should be available later this month, with the final version launching in September with the iPhone 16.

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