This magical iOS 16 feature scans your ears to give you better Spatial Audio

Grogu Airpods Max Iphone 12 Pro
Grogu Airpods Max Iphone 12 Pro (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's iOS 16 will add a feature that will take a 3D scan of your ears to allow for better 3D sound.
  • Spatial Audio is already offered by the addition of this iOS 16 feature will mean a tailored experience.
  • The scanning is handled by iPhone's TrueDepth camera.

Apple's upcoming iOS 16 feature will allow AirPods owners to scan their ears, allowing them to enjoy a feature called Personalized Spatial Audio. Apple says that by knowing what your ears look like, it can offer a "more precise and immersive listening experience."

Apple announced iOS 16 during its WWDC22 opening keynote on June 6 and developers have been testing the first beta release ever since. One of the things Apple announced but you might have missed was the Personalized Spatial Audio feature that promises to use an iPhone's TrueDepth camera to map out a user's ears in the name of better sound. If that sounds magical, it's because it is.

Spatial Audio already improves the sound of songs streamed via Apple Music, giving them a 3D feel with Dolby Atmos integration. With Personalized Spatial Audio, Apple says it can use the advanced imagery techniques its iPhones are capable of to create a 3D image of your ears and then use that information to better tune the 3D sound you listen to.

Woman using AirPods Pro

Woman using AirPods Pro (Image credit: Apple)

Personalised Spatial Audio enables an even more precise and immersive listening experience. Listeners can use the TrueDepth camera on iPhone to create a personal profile for Spatial Audio that delivers a listening experience tuned just for them.

That feature, and more, will be part of the iOS 16 public beta that is expected to be released next month, although Apple hasn't confirmed exactly when that will be. Those who don't want to try their hand at a beta release — and you probably shouldn't! — will need to wait until this fall to try Personalized Spatial Audio. Expect Apple to release the new update in or around September, likely alongside the new iPhone 14 lineup.

Spatial Audio was already one of the best iPhone features for those listening to Apple Music and it will be very interesting to see how the feature pans out when we get to try it for ourselves.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.