Apple Watch could soon adjust iPhone volume based on ambient noise

Apple Watch iPhone volume patent

A new Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals the Cupertino company is working on a system that would allow Apple Watch to automatically adjust the volume on your iPhone based on ambient noise.

The invention could make your iPhone louder in noisy bars or busy streets, and quieter when you’re in a library or the office.

How many times have you missed a call because you turned the volume right down on your iPhone while you were working, then went into a louder environment? Apple wants to eliminate that problem, and make it so that you don’t have to worry about controlling volume manually.

In a short patent entitled “Volume control for mobile device using a wireless device,” Apple describes how Apple Watch could automatically adjust iPhone alert volume — and other things — based on the volume of the environment you’re in.

This could prevent you from missing calls and alerts in noisy environments, and could silence your iPhone completely when you’re in very quite places. Noise is detected using the Apple Watch’s microphone, which would be more accurate than the iPhone in your bag or pocket.

“In some embodiments an iPhone sends a notification signal to the wearable prior to playing an audible alert,” explains AppleInsider“The receiving Apple Watch listens for the incoming tone and compares the signal against a stored ambient noise reference signal.”

Based on the results of this test, Apple Watch can then determine whether your iPhone should be louder or quieter. The invention could also be used to filter out ambient noise when using speech recognition and voice commands.

It sounds like a great idea — and one that could be very useful — but to me, it almost seems redundant to Apple Watch owner. After all, if you have an Apple Watch on your wrist, you don’t really need to hear your iPhone, because your Watch will alert you to incoming notifications.

It would be useful for lowering volume automatically in quiet environments, though. But like all Apple patents, there’s no guarantee this invention will ever make its way into a final product, so we’ll have to wait and see if it arrives in a future watchOS update.

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