Can't concentrate? I always come back to this beautifully minimal noise-generating iPhone app to get work done

Screenshots of the Noisli app from the Apple App Store.
(Image credit: Apple App Store/Noisli)
Noisli

The Noisli app logo from the Apple App Store.

(Image credit: Apple App Store/Noisli)

iPhone/iPad - Free (In-App Purchases)

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If you like to listen to background noise while you work or sleep, there are loads of apps available that are filled with ambient noises, soundscapes and a whole spectrum of colorful sounds, including white or green noise. But you don't even need a dedicated app these days, as many of these soothing sounds are readily available on your favorite music streaming services

But sometimes I feel overwhelmed by choice. Do I want to work while pretending I’m in a Spring meadow? Or fall to sleep imagining I’m tucked up in a cosy cabin in the middle of a storm? These kinds of questions aren’t conducive to work or sleep, which is why one evening, when I was agonizing about which to choose, I remembered the noise generating app Noisli.

How does Noisli work?

It used to be my go-to app for sounds until I was tempted away by flashier options and more choice. But the thing I love most about Noisli is how incredibly simple it is to use. Open the app and you’ll see a selection of icons that each represent a different sound. 

A cloud is a rain sound, a wave is the sound of the sea, a crescent moon is a night-time nature sound, and a coffee mug is the ambient sound of a coffee shop with clinking cups and conversations. 

Tap a symbol to turn its corresponding sound on and you can then move a slider up and down to adjust the volume. You can layer multiple sounds to create a personalized soundscape, like combining crackling fire with night-time nature sounds for an immersive camping experience. If you want to create a soundscape for sleep, Noisli offers a timer function that can either halt or fade out the audio.

I love how Noisli works. There are no complicated choices, and you can customize each sound depending on how you feel each day. It also looks lovely, as the background colors subtly transform as you listen. So if you’ve also been looking for a solution to help you focus while you work or you want to shake up the sounds you use to soothe you to sleep, then give Noisli a try. 

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Becca Caddy
Contributor

Becca Caddy is a contributor to iMore, as well as a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than a decade, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. Last time she checked, she still holds a Guinness World Record alongside iMore Editor in Chief Gerald Lynch for playing the largest game of Tetris ever made, too.

  • rowan
    This “App of the Day” hasn’t seen an update in 6 years!
    Apparently if you subscribe to their $100/year plan ($12/month 💸) for their additional sounds available via a browser plugin, you can’t access them from the $2 iOS app.
    The developer has never responded to any comments in 9 years!
    People seem to really like it but I’ll stick with the free Music for Programming.
    Reply
  • Lee_Bo
    I’ve been using Rain Rain for years.

    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rain-rain-sleep-sounds/id478687481
    Reply
  • Lee_Bo
    An app that hasn’t been updated in SIX years makes the “app of the day” list???? And only 229 ratings AND cost $2 to even download???

    Boy do I miss Mobile Nations.
    Reply