What is Apple Spatial Audio?

August 3, 2023

Have you ever felt lost in confusing tech talk when all you wanted was a simple guide to the latest audio innovation? We've got your back! In this article, we're taking you on an exciting journey into the mesmerizing world of Apple Spatial Audio. We'll break it down, making it easy to understand, and introduce you to the magic of this immersive audio experience that's taking the world by storm.

So, prepare yourself for a fun and informative adventure into the captivating realm of Apple Spatial Audio. This expedition promises to transform your understanding of sound and elevate your listening experiences like never before. We'll cover everything from the basics of how spatial audio works to the devices that support it, all in an engaging and easy-to-read manner.

Trust us, this sonic exploration is one you won't want to miss. After all, who wouldn't want to tap into the full potential of their auditory senses? It's time to dive in and let the wonders of Apple Spatial Audio captivate your imagination and ears.

Let the journey begin!

What is Spatial Audio?

Picture yourself as a child, playing a game of "Marco Polo" or spinning in circles, attempting to locate the source of your mom's voice as she called you in for dinner. This childhood memory is a fitting analogy for spatial audio.

In the world of technology, spatial audio, also referred to as 3D audio, replicates the experience of sound as it exists in the real world. It creates a multi-dimensional listening environment that elevates your music experience from mere "hearing" to truly "feeling" the melodies and rhythms.

Spatial audio transcends the traditional limitations of two-dimensional sound, enabling listeners to perceive audio from multiple directions and distances. It brings a sense of depth, space, and realism to the audio content, immersing you in a sound landscape that mimics how we naturally perceive sound in our everyday lives.

Imagine listening to your favorite song or watching a movie and feeling as if you're genuinely part of the action, surrounded by the intricacies of each sound. As the name suggests, spatial audio creates an auditory "space" where different sounds and elements can be positioned, layering them to create a captivating and immersive soundscape. This technology allows listeners to experience audio in a more engaging and dynamic way, enhancing the emotional impact of movies, music, and games.

In a nutshell, spatial audio is a groundbreaking innovation that transforms how we consume audio content, taking us on a sonic journey that envelops our senses and transports us to new dimensions of sound. So, next time you listen to your favorite tunes, remember that the world of spatial audio is opening doors to a richer, more immersive experience than ever before.

Spatial Audio vs. Surround Sound

Before we plunge into the deep end of spatial audio, let's toss a life preserver to those drowning in confusion. Spatial audio and surround sound might seem like two peas in a pod, but they have their differences that make them stand out like an avocado in a basket of apples.

Surround sound is the grandparent of immersive audio. It relies on a fixed number of speakers placed around the listener, like an audio-loving octopus hugging you with its speaker-arms. Although it creates an engaging listening experience, surround sound has limits. It's like trying to find the perfect spot in a Jacuzzi for maximum bubble bliss––if you move, the sweet spot moves too.

Now, let's talk spatial audio––the hip, trendsetting cousin of surround sound. Spatial audio creates a 3D soundscape that adjusts to your head movements like a well-trained puppy following you around. This groundbreaking innovation offers a more immersive experience, so you can feel like you're right in the center of the action, no matter where you are or how much you move. It's like being serenaded by a personal choir that moves with you.

Hence, while surround sound was the best in its heyday, spatial audio is the cat's pajamas of today's audio world. It delivers a dynamic, engaging, and immersive experience that leaves traditional surround sound in the dust, wondering where all its friends went. So, next time you're caught in the spatial audio vs. surround sound debate, remember: spatial audio is the new cool kid on the block.

How Does Spatial Audio Work?

Spatial audio, the cool sound tech kid on the block, partners up with Dolby Atmos to cook up a tantalizing audio feast for your ears. Dolby Atmos is the secret sauce that lets audio engineers place individual sounds within a 3D space, crafting a soundscape that's as immersive as a game of musical hide-and-seek.

Dolby Atmos Apple Music goes beyond traditional surround sound by adding height channels, so sounds come at you from all sides, even above and below. It's like being in a sound bubble where everything feels more natural and lifelike.

Spatial audio uses advanced algorithms and signal processing techniques to play with sound direction and movement. The result? You're always at the heart of the audio action, with sounds appearing to come from specific points in space, even if you're twisting your head like a curious owl.

This tech doesn't just amp up your music listening experience, but also makes movies, games, and virtual reality content more immersive. Spatial audio lets you dive right into the story or feel like you're having a private concert with your favorite artist.

Some headphones and devices with spatial audio even have built-in head-tracking technology. As you move your head, the sound field adjusts in real-time, keeping the audio experience consistent and realistic––like an audio chameleon blending into your surroundings.

So, spatial audio and Dolby Atmos are the dynamic duo of audio technology, creating a 3D soundscape that moves with you. This engaging and emotionally resonant experience will have you wondering how you ever lived without it!

Devices That Support Spatial Audio

Eager to hop on the spatial audio bandwagon and ride the waves of this sound revolution? Before you embark on this sonic adventure, you'll need the right gear. Here's a list of devices that'll have you jamming to spatial audio in no time:

Apple AirPods (& Pro) - The little earbuds that could! These tiny audio powerhouses pack spatial audio support, taking your listening experience to new heights (literally). You may want to consider getting one of these spatial audio airpods.
Apple AirPods Max - Want to feel like you're wearing a crown of audio awesomeness? The AirPods Max cradle your head in a luxurious embrace while delivering spatial audio goodness.
Apple HomePod mini - Don't let its size fool you! The HomePod mini may be small, but it's ready to fill your space with a world of immersive sound.
Certain Beats headphones - Beats and spatial audio, a match made in audio heaven! Check your Beats model for compatibility, and you might just find yourself grooving to spatial audio tunes.
Other compatible devices - Keep an eye out for the Dolby Atmos logo on your audio gear. That magical emblem signifies your device is ready to join the spatial audio party.

Now that you know which devices are your ticket to the spatial audio extravaganza, all that's left to do is gear up and dive into the immersive world of multidimensional sound. Remember, with great audio power comes great responsibility––use it wisely and enjoy the ride!

How to Turn On Spatial Audio on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

So, you've scored some expensive new gear and are ready to dive into the wonderful world of spatial audio? Great! Just follow these simple steps, and you'll be riding the spatial audio wave in no time. It's as easy as baking a pie—assuming you're good at baking pies.

  1. Ensure your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV runs iOS 14 or later. If your device is a little behind the times, give it a gentle nudge and update its software. It's like a wardrobe makeover for your gadget.
  2. Connect your spatial audio-ready headphones. It's time for your shiny new headphones to shine—get them paired up and ready to party.
  3. Navigate to Settings > Bluetooth on your device. It's like going on a treasure hunt for the secret spatial audio switch.
  4. Tap on the info button (that little "i" symbol) next to your headphone's name. You're almost there—just one more step!
  5. Toggle on "Spatial Audio." Ta-da! You've unlocked the magical world of spatial audio. Let the immersive experience begin!

And there you have it—spatial audio at your fingertips (or, more accurately, your eartips). Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the multidimensional soundscapes that await you. But remember, with great audio power comes great enjoyment—so crank up the volume and have a blast! (Just not too loud, your neighbors might not appreciate it as much as you do.)

How to Enable Spatial Audio on Mac

Fear not, Mac users; we've got you covered too! You're just a few clicks away from enjoying spatial audio goodness on your Mac. Follow these steps, and you'll be basking in a 3D audio paradise faster than you can say "macOS Monterey."

  1. Make sure your Mac is running macOS Monterey or later. If your Mac is still rocking an older software version, it's time for an upgrade. Consider it as treating your Mac to a fancy day spa for its operating system.
  2. Connect your spatial audio-compatible headphones. Introduce your Mac to your headphones and let the audio magic begin.
  3. Navigate to System Preferences > Sound. Think of it as embarking on a digital quest to find the hidden spatial audio treasure.
  4. Select your headphones under the Output tab. You're one step closer to unlocking the wonders of spatial audio.
  5. Check the "Spatial Audio" box. Congratulations! You've successfully enabled spatial audio on your Mac.

And just like that, you're ready to rock out (or chill out) with spatial audio on your Mac. So, crank up the tunes, immerse yourself in a movie, or explore virtual worlds with an enhanced sense of realism. Just remember to keep the laughter to a minimum when enjoying the added humor of spatial audio—your coworkers or family might start to wonder what's going on in that 3D audio bubble of yours. Happy listening!

Spatial Audio on Apple Music

Alright, you've got the groovy gear and mastered the art of toggling on spatial audio––so, what's next? Well, my friend, it's time to take your ears on a sonic adventure through Apple Music's Dolby Atmos wonderland.

To genuinely experience the magic of spatial audio, you'll need content that's been expertly mixed in Dolby Atmos. Picture a master chef carefully blending ingredients to create a mouthwatering dish—that's what Dolby Atmos does for your ears, but with sound.

Apple Music has an ever-growing library of spatial audio tracks to tickle your eardrums. From chart-toppers to hidden gems, the streaming platform constantly adds more tunes to its spatial audio collection, making it a virtual playground for your ears.

But how do you find these auditory delights? Simple! Just keep an eye out for the "Dolby Atmos" or "Spatial Audio" label on songs or albums in Apple Music. It's like a secret decoder ring that unlocks the mysteries of spatial audio goodness.

So, explore the vast universe of Apple Music's spatial audio offerings. Immerse yourself in the lush soundscapes, dance to the beats that seem to come from all around you, and embark on an audio journey that'll make you feel like you've been teleported into the recording studio with your favorite artists.

How to Find Spatial Audio Content on Apple Music

Are you eager to explore the world of spatial audio tracks on Apple Music? Let us guide you through the process with a few simple steps that will have you immersed in 3D audio in no time:

  1. Open the Apple Music app on your device. Consider it the gateway to a new realm of audio experiences.
  2. Tap on the "Browse" tab. Think of yourself as an explorer, ready to discover hidden sonic gems.
  3. Scroll down to locate the "Dolby Atmos" or "Spatial Audio" sections. These sections are your treasure troves of spatial audio content.
  4. Dive into the curated playlists, albums, and individual tracks featuring spatial audio. It's like entering a world of audio delights tailored to thrill your senses.

As you explore the vast library of spatial audio content on Apple Music, you'll uncover various immersive audio experiences. From albums that transport you to unique soundscapes to playlists that let you feel every beat and nuance, there's something for everyone in this audio wonderland.

So, grab your headphones and prepare to navigate the exciting realm of spatial audio on Apple Music. While laughter is a great source of joy, when it comes to delighting your eardrums, spatial audio is the key. With a balanced blend of humor and immersive audio, you'll find yourself on an unforgettable listening journey. Enjoy the ride!

Apple Music Spatial Audio vs. Lossless Audio

As we've delved into the fascinating world of spatial audio, it's essential to address another key aspect of Apple Music: lossless audio. What sets these two audio experiences apart, and what do they bring to the table?

Let's explore their distinctions by putting them into a perspective you can easily relate with.

Picture spatial audio as an expert conductor, orchestrating an immersive, multidimensional soundscape that surrounds you. In contrast, lossless audio is akin to a skilled archivist, preserving every detail of the original recording to deliver a listening experience as pure and authentic as possible.

Spatial audio focuses on enveloping you in a rich audio environment, while lossless audio seeks to present music in its most unblemished form. The difference lies in the priorities: spatial audio emphasizes immersion and lossless audio highlights fidelity.

The great news is that Apple Music caters to both tastes, offering both spatial audio and lossless audio options. Yes, you can enjoy the benefits of both audio experiences! It's like having the option to indulge in a captivating movie or savor a good book—each offers unique and enjoyable experiences.

So, whether you're a spatial audio fan or a connoisseur of lossless audio, Apple Music accommodates your preferences. So, connect your headphones, sit back, and relish the diverse audio offerings.

Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio – A Perfect Blend

Apple Music ensures you don't have to choose between spatial audio and lossless audio. Instead, it lets you relish the best of both worlds, creating an exceptional listening experience. Here, we'll guide you on how to seamlessly combine these two audio experiences.

Consider spatial and lossless audio as complementary forces, working together to enhance your listening pleasure. By fine-tuning the right settings, you can bask in the immersive depth of spatial audio while appreciating the pristine clarity of lossless audio. It's a balanced partnership that delivers outstanding audio quality.

Here's a quick guide to combining Spatial and Lossless Audio on Apple Music:

  1. Update your device: Make sure your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is running the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS.
  2. Connect compatible headphones: Pair your compatible headphones, such as AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or supported Beats models, with your device.
  3. Open the Settings app (for iPhone and iPad) or System Preferences (for Mac): Access the settings related to audio preferences on your device.
  4. Navigate to Music settings (for iPhone and iPad) or Apple Music settings (for Mac): 5. Locate the settings related to Apple Music playback.
  5. Enable Lossless Audio: Toggle on "Lossless Audio" and choose your desired quality level (High-Resolution Lossless requires compatible hardware on Mac).
  6. Enable Spatial Audio: On iPhone and iPad, head to Settings > Bluetooth, tap the info button next to your connected headphones, and toggle on "Spatial Audio." On Mac, go to System Preferences > Sound, select your headphones under the Output tab, and check the "Spatial Audio" box.
  7. Open Apple Music: Launch the Apple Music app on your device.
  8. Find Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio content: Browse the Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio sections for compatible tracks and playlists, or look for the Dolby Atmos label on individual songs and albums.
  9. Enjoy the combination: Play Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio content and savor the blend of immersive spatial audio and crystal-clear lossless audio.

By following these steps, you'll experience a remarkable fusion of spatial and lossless audio in Apple Music.

Spotify Spatial Audio

We understand the curiosity of dedicated Spotify fans, holding on to their devices and wondering, "What about us?" Rest assured, Spotify isn't lagging in the spatial audio game! They're working on their own spatial audio solution, called "Spotify HiFi."

Spotify HiFi is under development, aiming to bring the immersive audio experience you desire right to your preferred app. The competition between the two streaming giants is fierce, and Spotify is keen on providing a comparable experience.

To learn more about Spotify HiFi and stay updated on this upcoming feature, we recommend checking one of our previous articles: Spotify HiFi. This informative article will keep you informed, ensuring you're ready to embrace the spatial audio wave when it arrives on Spotify's platform.

So, whether you're an Apple Music enthusiast or a loyal Spotify user, the spatial audio revolution is on its way to transform your listening experience. So, get ready, and prepare to be immersed in an audio world that impresses both your eardrums and your sense of enjoyment.

Interested in other high-resolution music streaming options? Head over to our blog post on the best hi-res music streaming services.


Spatial audio has arrived, revolutionizing how we listen to music and taking the audio experience to unparalleled levels. Whether you're a die-hard Apple Music fan or eagerly anticipating Spotify HiFi, the future of audio is here––and it's nothing less than phenomenal!

Armed with your newfound knowledge of spatial audio, it's time to explore this immersive experience on Apple Music. Want to transfer your playlists and dive into the world of spatial audio?

FreeYourMusic makes it a breeze. This convenient tool allows you to easily switch music streaming platforms and enjoy the magic of spatial audio on Apple Music.

So, what are you waiting for? Begin your spatial audio journey today by transferring your playlists with FreeYourMusic. Try for free today to get started and embrace the extraordinary world of spatial audio!

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