New AirPods Pro update adds spatial audio, automatic device switching

Air Pods Pro on stage
Air Pods Pro on stage (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • There's a new AirPods Pro firmware update out.
  • It adds iOS 14's new spatial audio support.
  • It also brings automatic device switching as well.

Apple today released a new AirPods Pro firmware update, version 3A283, bringing with it some new iOS 14 features that we've been looking forward to. With iOS 14 installed and a pair of AirPods Pro updated to this new firmware, users can enjoy spatial audio and automatic device switching for the first time.

As MacRumors points out, multiple people have taken to social networks and the MacRumors forums to say that the update brings with it the new features. So long as you're using the latest betas, that is.

Just tried out spatial audio on my iPad. Very cool! The illusion of the audio coming from the iPad is so convincing that I actually thought at first that the sound was coming from my iPad's speakers. Had to take an AirPod out of my ear to confirm I was really hearing it from the AirPods themselves. I would really like to learn more about whatever dark magic Apple is using to pull off this illusion!

Spatial audio is likely best used in games and content like movies and TV shows, for example.

Automatic device switching will likely be the feature most people will notice first, with devices automatically connecting to AirPods as and when they are needed. Users will see their AirPods automatically connect to whichever device they are actively using rather than having to manually switch audio outputs. Devices will need to be signed into the same iCloud account for this to work, however.

We don't yet know when iOS 14 will be made available to the public, but the word on the street is that it will happen within days or weeks. It's worth remembering that there is no way to force AirPods Pro to update their firmware, too. They should do so automatically when they are in their charging case and connected to power.

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.