With its latest iOS update, Apple unveiled a new feature that is of particular interest to us here at the Academy.

Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking provides a theater-like surround-sound experience on your iPhone or iPad. As you move your head or your device, supported videos will follow the movement of your iPhone and stays mapped to action on-screen. In other words, you could move your phone or turn your head, but the audio would still be focused on the actor speaking.

Pros/Cons of Spatial Audio on Airpods Pro

What’s the downside? If you have an older-generation iPhone or don’t have the Airpods Pro, you, unfortunately, can’t utilize this amazing new feature. Netflix also does not currently support the spatial audio setting via iOS devices.

What’s the upside? Although you can’t use it for Netflix, you can use this Airpods Pro theater feature on Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

How to Turn on Spatial Audio

To turn on the Spatial Audio setting on your iPhone, here’s a quick rundown of what you need:

  • AirPods Pro

  • iPhone 7 or later or one of these iPad models:

    • iPad Pro 12.9‑inch (3rd generation) and later

    • iPad Pro 11‑inch

    • iPad Air (3rd generation)

    • iPad (6th generation) and later

    • iPad mini (5th generation)

  • iOS or iPadOS 14 or later

  • Audiovisual content from a supported app

Once you’ve established you’ve got the correct versions for everything, here’s how to make sure Spatial Audio mode is enabled:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.

  2. Find your AirPods Pro in the list (for example, “John’s Airpods”). 

  3. Tap the info button next to your AirPods.

  4. Turn on Spatial Audio.

Now for the fun part ... Unless you had a movie in mind, you can use the video linked below on your iPhone or iPad to test out the feature. Your ears won’t believe what they’re hearing.

Listen: Spatial Audio demo video

Photo found on YouTube