Spatial Audio is one of the cool tricks Apple has ever added to its headphones and earbuds. It uses special sound processing to trick your ears into thinking sounds are coming from all kinds of points around you. It is used to play Dolby Atmos content in Apple Music and other supported video and audio applications, and it sounds really great.
Even though we only have two ears, we know which direction the sounds are coming from because the sounds change as they interact with our ears and head. Our brains pick up on these subtle changes to determine the direction of origin. With Spatial Audio, Apple uses algorithms called HRTFs (Head Related Transfer Functions) to mimic those subtle changes so you “hear” a sound that comes from a different place than the tiny earbuds that sit in your ear. With AirPods Pro, Max and Beats Fit Pro, you can even use the built-in accelerometer to measure how your head is turning and keep the sound stable relative to your position.
While it works great for most people, initially these algorithms were kind of a one-size-fits-all. As you can imagine, the sound entering your ears is modified differently depending on the size and shape of your head and ears. With iOS 16, you can create a Personalized spatial audio profile that takes this into account more accurately, making Spatial Audio even better. Here’s how to set it up.
Time to complete: 5 minutes
Tools needed: iPhone with Face ID, iOS 16 or later