Apple first announced its Spatial Audio feature for AirPods Pro last summer, but it wasn’t until the AirPods Max launch that Apple’s surround sound version became a reality. If you own a pair of the company’s new over-ear headphones, or a pair of AirPods Pro, you might be wondering: What the heck is Spatial Audio and how do you use it? Miss more.
Spatial Audio essentially makes it seem like audio is coming from all directions, and in our tests, it’s pretty amazing.
To turn it on, turn on your AirPods Max or AirPods Pro and open Bluetooth in the configuration of. Tap on the ‘I’ next to the name of your headphones or earphones in your device list. Activate Spatial audio.
It’s incredibly easy to set up, but the biggest problem with Spatial Audio is that only certain models of iPhones and iPads are compatible; check out the full list below:
- iPhone 7 or later
- 6th generation iPad or later
- iPad Pro 3rd generation or later
- iPad Air 4th generation or later
- 5th generation iPad mini or later
It would be a dream if Apple added Apple TV support so you can fully immerse yourself in a bigger screen, but alas.
After enabling Spatial Audio, now comes the challenge of finding content to watch that takes advantage of the feature. Not all streaming services support it (ahem, Netflix), but services like Apple TV + and Disney + do. In the details of the show or movie you are interested in watching, look for the mention of Dolby Atmos, 5.1 channel or 7.1 channel surround sound. Those formats are compatible with Spatial Audio and will make what you’re watching sound amazing.