Netflix won't be adding support for Apple spatial audio any time soon

(Image credit: Netflix)

Sad news for those of us happily anticipating 12-hour binges through the latest Netflix craze in glorious surround-sound on our Apple headphones and iOS device: Netflix has confirmed it actually isn't testing support for iOS 14’s new spatial audio functionality. 

The news quashes claims made in a January report from iPhoneSoft, which suggested that the streaming giant had actually been testing spatial audio support on the iPhone and iPad since December, and that (citing an anonymous Netflix developer) we could even expect a rollout of support for spatial audio on Netflix by spring.

In a statement to MacRumors, a Netflix spokesperson said that the company is not currently testing spatial audio support, and it has no plans that it wants to share at this time. Instead, the streaming giant and Originals content creator said it was testing multi-channel support for built-in speakers, as part of its efforts to provide "new experiences" for its users and "improve" its offering. 

Spatial audio is essentially Apple’s take on Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and Sony’s PS5 3D Audio. It is designed to deliver surround sound and 3D audio via your headphones – specifically your Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. The feature arrived as part of iOS 14 in September 2020.

Netflix's chief competition – Disney Plus, HBO Max and Apple TV+ to name but a few – will probably rest a little easier in light of this update. And if a recent job vacancy at Roku for a lead production attorney is anything to go on, competition is only getting stronger... 


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.