What is it and how to enable Spatial Audio head tracking on AirPods

Definitely one of the great highlights of AirPods Pro and Max is the Spatial Audio feature. Available — for now — only for these two versions of Apple headphones, the functionality allows you to transform stereo audios into space, and a head tracking system can be activated (Dynamic Head Tracking

), which maps your movements with the headphones on your ear.

  • How to control the automatic detection of the AirPods
  • What is the difference between AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max?

  • How Optimized Charging Works on AirPods Pro
  • O is Spatial Audio

    First of all, do you know what Spatial Audio is? Unlike Stereo Audio — which works bilaterally, coming from the left and right sides — Space Audio works by dynamically tracking your head movements when using the AirPods in your ears.

    In other words, even if you move your head to the side when watching a video, the sounds of the playback environment will follow your movement, causing the audio to come from all directions. The speech sounds of people, on the other hand, will remain located on the screen or, if applicable, on the side of the action in which they occur in the video.

    Want to catch up on the best tech news of the day?

    Go and subscribe to our new channel on youtube, Canaltech News.

    Every day one summary of the main news from the tech world for you!

    • How to adjust AirPods microphones

    • How to see the AirPods battery level on a wireless charger
    • How to customize AirPods Pro controls

      Although it is not a resource for listening to music, but for watching movies, series, and videos in general — after all, the sounds of the environment around you will be coming from all directions around you — it is possible to transform audios stereos in space and testing them, as we’ll see next.

      What is the Head Tracking of Spatial Audio

      When you enable Spatial Audio, you have two usage modes: “Fixed” or “Tracked Head”. But how do they work? Basically, you can choose whether you want to fix the direction the sound is coming from — that is, towards the screen of the device that’s playing the audio — or enable tracking of your head movements as you move with the AirPods on your ears.

      That is, in “Fixed” mode, the Spatial Audio will fix the sound so that it always comes out in the same direction, regardless of whether you move your head and hence the AirPods in your ears. In “Head Tracked” mode, Spatial Audio will identify and track when you move your head and headphones, so that the sound adapts and always comes in the right directions in your surroundings.

      • Apple prepares new AirPods Pro with exercise sensor and iPad Pro with MagSafe
      • New AirPods Pro arrives in 660 with a revamped look and fitness features

        To better understand how it all works, check below what it is and how to enable the Head Tracking (Dynamic Head Tracking) of the Space Audio feature, available on AirPods Pro and Max.

        How to test and enable Head Tracking for Space Audio on AirPods

        Step 1:

        With the AirPods properly connected to your iPhone, enter Settings, then “Bluetooth”.

        Go to Settings > Bluetooth. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 2:

        in the list of available devices, find name your AirPods and click the info icon next to “Connected”.

        Click on the AirPods info icon. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 3:

        On the next screen, locate the section of “Space Audio”. As you’ll notice, to enable it, you’ll need to access the Control Center — but before that, let’s get a better understanding of how the feature works. Click on it.

        Click on the Audio feature Space for AirPods. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 4:

        a window will open on the screen , displaying an animation of both Stereo and Spatial audio types. In the “Stereo Audio” tab, the animation shows how bilateral audio works, with the sound coming from its left and right sides.

        Stereo Audio from AirPods. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 5:

        already in the “Spatial Audio” tab “, the animation shows how the audio coming from all the space around you works, with the sound coming from all directions. You can switch between the two tabs to hear and better compare the difference between the two sound modes.

        Space Audio from AirPods. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 6:

        Access the iOS Control Center on your device by dragging the top right of the screen down, and click on the volume control bar.

        Press the click on the volume control bar. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 7:

        Locate the Spatial Audio icon. Click on it to open it and transform the stereo audio into spatial.

        Click on the Spatial Audio icon. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 8:

        the different modes of Spatial Audio will opens, which are: disabled (Stereo Audio), Fixed and Head Tracked.

        As mentioned, in “Fixed” mode, the Spatial Audio will fix the sound so that it comes out always from the same direction, regardless of the fact that you move your head and, consequently, the AirPods in your ears.

        Already in “Tracked Head” mode, the Spatial Audio will identify and track when you move your head and headphones, so that the sound adapts and always comes in the right directions in your surroundings.

        Check the different modes of Spatial Audio. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 9:

        Try AirPods Fixed Space Audio .

        Audio AirPods Fixed Space. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 16:

        Try Space Audio Tracked Head of AirPods.

        AirPods Head Tracked Space Audio. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Step 16:

        set the Audio mode Space you prefer to listen to on your AirPods and return to the volume control bar.

        Head Tracked Space Audio is enabled on your AirPods. Screenshot: Lucas Wetten (Canaltech)

        Did you like this article?

        Subscribe your email on Canaltech to receive daily updates with the latest news from the world of technology.

Related Articles

Back to top button