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How to turn spatial audio on and off on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

Did you recently purchase a pair of AirPods Max? How about the AirPods Pro? Regardless, both headphones come with a fantastic feature called spatial audio. Here's how to activate spatial audio on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

What is spatial audio?

Based on the content you're viewing on your device, your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max create a sound field. The field creates a consistent directional source for the sound.

By doing this, your device and your AirPods create a more immersive experience. Audio always seems to be coming from the proper source, your device, rather than from a random spot in the room where you just so happen to be pointing your head.

Requirements for spatial audio

In addition to having an AirPods Max or AirPods Pro, you must be using one of the following devices to utilize the spatial audio feature:

  • iPhone 7 or later
  • 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

Do you have the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, but not a supported tablet? Check out the best iPad of the year.

Listening to spatial audio on AirPods Pro or AirPods Max

To get started, make sure your AirPods are connected to your supported device using Bluetooth. From there:

  1. Tap on the Settings app on your device.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Choose the info button next to your AirPods.
  4. Toggle on Spatial Audio.

To listen to spatial audio on your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, tap on the Settings app, select Bluetooth. Choose the info button next to your device. Toggle on Spatial Audio. (Image credit: iMore)

You can listen to a demonstration of the spatial audio by tapping See & Hear How It Works at the same location on your device. You can switch from stereo audio to spatial audio to hear the difference between them.

Control spatial audio on AirPods Pro or AirPods Max

  1. Open Control Center on your supported device.
  2. Touch and hold the volume control
  3. Tap the spatial audio button to turn it on/off.

To control spatial audio on AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, open Control Center on your supported device. Touch and hold the volume control. Tap the spatial audio button to turn the feature on/off. (Image credit: iMore)

Questions about spatial audio?

Let us know in the comments below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.