Try Spatial Audio / 3D Audio with the AirPods Pro: Here's how!

How can I get the new one 3D audio Activate feature? How can I try it out? Which apps and videos does it work with? I will answer these and other questions for you at this point. At the beginning I'll show you how to do it in English Spatial audio can turn on the mentioned function. Then I go into individual compatibilities and questions about usage. If I have forgotten an aspect, please leave a corresponding comment;)

Activate and use 3D audio: Here's how! Here you will find instructions for activating Spatial Audio on the iPhone and iPad as well as free sources for films and series (including Netflix and tv +).

Activate and use 3D audio: Here's how! Here you will find instructions for activating Spatial Audio on the iPhone and iPad as well as free sources for films and series (including Netflix and tv +).

Enable 3D audio for the AirPods Pro: Here's how!

In order to be able to use 3D audio (spatial audio), you need a compatible iPhone or iPad (see below) and the current OS. Of course, the Apple AirPods Pro are also required. These must have firmware version 3A283. How you check this and how you update the headphones, you read that in this manual. If all devices are compatible and equipped with the latest software, you simply work through the following steps (tried out on the iPad):

  1. Opens the Settings your iPhone or iPad
  2. Select the menu item Bluetooth
  3. Now look for yours AirPods Pro from the device list (tap the circled "i")
  4. enabled 3D audio with the corresponding controller
  5. Confirms the switch from stereo audio to 3D audio
Enable 3D audio for the AirPods Pro: Here's how!

Enable 3D audio for the AirPods Pro: Here's how!

You can get more information on your device.

You can get more information on your device.

Official information from Apple: Support page on the subject

These devices and systems are compatible with 3D audio

As noted above, not all Apple devices can be used with the new feature. If you want to try out spatial audio or 3D audio and use it for films, series and videos, you will need this equipment:

  • Apple AirPods Pro (current model from 2019) with firmware 3A283 or newer
  • Apple iPhone 7 (2016) or newer with iOS 14 or newer as the operating system
  • Apple iPad Pro 12,9 inch (3rd Gen) or newer, iPad Pro 11 inch, iPad Air (3rd Gen) or newer, iPad (6th Gen) or newer, iPad mini (5th Gen) or newer - each with iPadOS 14 or newer as the operating system

Listen to the 3D audio demo with your iPhone or iPad

On the screenshot above of my iPad settings you can see that under the 3D audio option See and hear how it works ... stands. Tap it on your Apple mobile device to listen to a demo for the Spatial Audio feature. To hear the difference to the regular stereo sound, you can switch between this and the 3D audio. 

After activating 3D audio on your iPhone or iPad, you shouldn't expect the new simulated listening environment to be transferred to all media. Not all streaming providers or platforms for video on demand offer such support yet. 

Video apps and streaming services with 3D audio support

It is clear that video content offered by Apple comes with spatial audio. Anything else wouldn't make any sense. In addition to Apple's own services, others are also supporting the same when the new headphone function is launched. Here is the current list:

  • Streaming content on Apple tv +
  • Apple TV app with tv + content as well as films and series purchased via the app or iTunes
  • Disney +
  • Netflix
  • Plex
  • HBO Max

As you can see, there are still some big names missing. Currently, 3D audio is not yet supported by YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Video or the like. If you find that one of the services does support 3D audio after all, please leave a comment.

Surround Speaker Check: App for the spatial audio test

The free app Surround speaker check is actually made to test the functionality of the sound and speaker system in the home theater. The app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV can be used, for example, to test a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound system connected to Apple TV for overall sound and individual speakers. 

But it should also, according to one Entry at GIGA, can be used for testing 3D audio. If that doesn't work, simply switch off the Bluetooth on the iPad or iPhone for a moment and then switch it on again. Then the app should work again for the transfer to the AirPods Pro. The download of the app is available in the App Store.

[appbox appstore id1052439918]

Enjoy 3D audio, but without a streaming subscription

As you could read above, 3D audio on the iPhone or iPad with the AirPods Pro can currently only be used with a small selection of services. So if you come across a YouTube video that suggests a "Spatial Audio Test" or some other support for this playback option, then that's nonsense and just clickbait. If you still don't want to take out a subscription to Netflix or Apple tv +, you can use the free offers of these streaming services, for which you sometimes even don't need an account:

Apple tv +

  • The Morning Show (Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2)
  • Ted Lasso (season 1, episodes 1 and 2)
  • Long Way Up (eps. 1)
  • Little America (eps. 1)
  • Sea - Realm of the Blind (Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2)
  • And a few more
  • In addition, all content can be used free of charge for 7 days with a trial subscription (with an account)

Netflix

  • Stranger Things (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • Murder Mystery (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • Elite (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • Boss Baby Back in Business (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • Bird Box (full movie)
  • And a lot more at netflix.com/de/watch-free
  • In addition, all content can be used free of charge for 30 days with a trial subscription (with an account)

Control and monitor 3D audio from the control center

For the control center, 3D audio is assigned its own icon in addition to the regular Bluetooth icon. A person pictogram can be seen on a blue background, which is either surrounded by stationary sound waves (function is activated, but audio content is not compatible), surrounded by animated sound waves (3D audio is active and can be used) or on dark gray / black background is surrounded by stationary sound waves (3D audio is deactivated). According to the Apple support page linked above, it looks like this:

You can control spatial audio or 3D audio for the Apple AirPods Pro via the control center of the iPhone and iPad.

You can control spatial audio or 3D audio for the Apple AirPods Pro via the control center of the iPhone and iPad.

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