AirPods Pros are getting Spatial Audio support

AirPods Pros are getting Spatial Audio support
(Image credit: Apple)

At WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference) keynote event, Apple has announced two exciting updates for its AirPods and AirPods Pro.

The headline (and pretty cool) news: the AirPods Pros are getting support for Spatial Audio. Essentially, Apple is bringing a more immersive, 360-degree surround sound experience to its flagship earbuds – good news for those who use their AirPods Pros when watching movies on their iPhone or iPad.

Spatial Audio will work with any surround sound content encoded in 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos, and aims to keep you in the middle of the action by delivering multi-channel soundtracks in a more expansive soundfield.

Apple has used advanced spatial audio algorithms to replicate the movie experience, using directional audio filters and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives to create a more expansive soundfield. The AirPods Pro's accelerometer and gyroscope also come in handy, allowing the processing to track the wearer's head movement and remap the soundfield accordingly so that sound stays consistent and in sync.

We should learn more about the Spatial Audio update for the AirPods Pro in the coming days - both from a technological, device support and release date point of view - but in the meantime be prepared for a more engaging movie experience through your earbuds, AirPods Pro owners.

(Image credit: Apple)

The new feature coming to the standard AirPods isn't quite as exciting, although it should please owners who use them across multiple Apple devices. AirPods will soon get an Automatic Switching functionality that allows the AirPods' connection to automatically move between connected devices. So, for example, if your AirPods are connected to a Mac but a call on your iPhone comes through, the headphones will switch their active pairing without you having to manually do it.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.