On Wednesday a Reddit user spotted a new function called 'Spatialized Stereo', hidden in the iOS 15 beta. The feature is said to take any non-Dolby audio – such as a song from Spotify or a movie soundtrack from Netflix – and simulate the effect of Spatial Audio.
"The greatest thing about this is that it supports EVERY audio track," wrote the shocked Reddit user. "Sure I'd pick Atmos Spatial Audio mixes over Spatialized Stereo every time, but for the moment there are only a dozen or so options for Atmos available on Apple Music, so this is such an amazing feature to have!"
Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos is a version of surround sound. It lets you use your AirPods Pro and AirPods Max wireless headphones to experience dynamic head tracking, which means means that the sound always stays relative to the screen, even when you move your head.
The Cupertino giant recently rolled out expanded support for Spatial Audio – it's now available to Apple Music subscribers for no extra cost. Apple has also announced plans to bring it to tvOS and MacOS.
Spatialized Stereo is a different kettle of fish. It seems to be Apple's attempt to simulate the effect of Spatial Audio without using Dolby Atmos. It works with any content but you'll still need a pair of AirPods Pro or AirPods Max wireless headphones to access it.
Lucky enough to be on the iOS15 beta and fancy trying Spatialized Stereo for yourself? Hit play on some non-Dolby audio content and then bring up the Control Center. Press and hold the volume slider and then tap 'Spatialize Stereo'. With any luck, the track should sound more like 3D audio, and less like two channels being piped into your left and right ear.