What is Apple Spatial Audio, how does it work and how to get it?

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(Pocket-lint) - Apple's Spatial Audio was introduced with iOS 14 successful September 2020 and has evolved a just magnitude implicit time.

It is Apple's reply to Dolby Atmos for Headphones and Sony's 360 Reality Audio, creating a virtual 3D situation dependable effect successful a stereo brace of headphones. It virtualises an audio premix that surrounds you, making it look you are successful the bosom of the action.

Uniquely though, it besides uses tracking hardware successful Apple devices, including the AirPods (3rd Generation)AirPods Pro and AirPods Max headphones, to way your caput successful real-time on with the presumption of an iPad oregon iPhone. This enables it to spot the audio effect realistically depending connected wherever you look oregon turn.

Here's however it works, what devices it is disposable on, however you crook it connected and disconnected and everything other you request to know.

How does Spatial Audio work?

Spatial Audio enables you to perceive three-dimensional audio from supported videos that travel the question of your iPhone oregon iPad.

It efficaciously recreates a cinema-style experience, wherever sounds look to beryllium coming from each astir you - front, behind, from the side, adjacent supra your head. In bid to bash this, Spatial Audio uses the 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos mixes from a compatible movie oregon video, applies directional audio filters and adjusts the frequencies relayed to each ear.

Where Spatial Audio differs to different akin technologies similar Dolby Atmos for Headphones is successful its tracking. The accelerometers and gyroscopes wrong AirPods Max, AirPods Pro and AirPods (3rd generation) are utilized to way your caput and presumption the dependable accordingly. It besides tracks your iPhone oregon iPad, truthful the dependable you perceive is besides comparative to the surface you are watching on.

As a result, erstwhile Spatial Audio is turned connected and you're watching a supported movie oregon video, if you crook your caput oregon determination your device, the dialog you perceive remains with the histrion oregon enactment connected the screen.

How astir Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos?

As good arsenic Spatial Audio for movies and TV shows, Apple present offers Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos euphony tracks connected Apple Music.

These person been remixed to see aggregate channels astir and supra you, to springiness the content that you are sitting successful the mediate of a signaling workplace oregon unrecorded concert. As with movies, it gives the content of channels done regular stereo headphones, though successful this lawsuit requires dedicated Dolby Atmos euphony mixes.

There are thousands of songs disposable successful Spatial Audio. When played done headphones, listeners perceive euphony coming from each astir them. We're hoping it volition besides yet widen to Dolby Atmos systems and soundbars, specified arsenic the Sonos Arc. However, it doesn't look to beryllium supported astatine present.

In presumption of what headphones are compatible, each Apple and Beats headphones with the H1 oregon W1 spot enactment the caller situation mixes erstwhile played done an iPhone, iPad, Mac oregon Apple TV. However, truthful excessively bash immoderate decent headphones.

Third-party headphones won't power Dolby Atmos enactment connected and disconnected automatically though, conscionable Apple's. To perceive connected your abstracted headphones you request to caput to Settings > Music > Dolby Atmos and power it to "Always On". This lone works with Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos - regular movie and TV Spatial Audio is inactive an Apple instrumentality exclusive.

You tin besides perceive it coming done the interior speakers of an iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro oregon HomePod, though it defeats the entity somewhat to perceive to Dolby Atmos audio done an iPhone's stereo speakers. An Apple TV 4K volition besides play Dolby Atmos done a compatible TV oregon AV receiver (as with supported movies).

Android devices volition get Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos done the Apple Music app soon.


What is Apple Spatial Audio, however  does it enactment    and what devices is it disposable  on? photograph  3

How to get Spatial Audio

There's a mates of things you'll request to acquisition Spatial Audio. Firstly, you'll request the AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, AirPods (3rd Generation) oregon latest Beats headphones.

You'll past request an iPhone 7 oregon aboriginal oregon the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd gen) oregon later, iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Air (3rd gen) and later, iPad (6th gen) and later, iPad mini (5th gen and later).

You'll besides request iOS 14 oregon iPadOS 14 oregon aboriginal and AV contented from a supported app. If an app supports 5.1, 7.1 oregon Dolby Atmos past it volition enactment with Spatial Audio.

Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos connected Apple Music works automatically, though you volition request to power it to "Always On" successful Settings > Music > Dolby Atmos if you usage third-party headphones.

How bash you crook Spatial Audio connected oregon off?

To crook Spatial Audio on, travel the steps below.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap connected Bluetooth
  3. Find your AirPods (3rd Generation), AirPods Pro oregon AirPods Max
  4. Tap connected the "i" adjacent to your headphones
  5. Scroll down and toggle connected Spatial Audio
  6. You tin besides pat connected 'See & Hear How It Works' for a speedy demo comparing it to stereo audio 


What is Apple Spatial Audio, however  does it enactment    and what devices is it disposable  on? photograph  2

How bash you power Spatial Audio?

When you're watching a compatible video oregon movie connected your iPhone oregon iPad with your AirPods (3rd Generation), AirPods Pro oregon AirPods Max, present is however to power Spatial Audio and cheque if it is on:

  1. Swipe down from the apical of your surface oregon up from the bottom, depending connected your iPhone oregon iPad exemplary to unfastened the Control Centre
  2. Press and clasp the measurement power button
  3. Another surface volition look wherever you'll beryllium capable to spot the Spatial Audio icon
  4. Tap it erstwhile to crook it connected oregon off. It is bluish erstwhile connected and achromatic erstwhile off.
  5. If the dependable waves are pulsing astir the person's caput successful the icon, Spatial Audio is on. If they are not moving but the icon is blue, Spatial Audio is connected but not progressive for the contented you're listening to.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle and Rik Henderson. Originally published connected 3 March 2021.

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