Spatial Audio is one of the coolest tricks Apple has ever added to its headphones and earbuds. It uses special sound processing to trick your ears into believing that sounds are coming from all sorts of points around you. It’s 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 sounds are coming from because the sounds are modified as they interact with our ears and head. Our brain detects these subtle changes to determine the direction of origin. With Spatial Audio, Apple uses algorithms called HRTFs (Head Related Transfer Functions) to mimic these subtle changes, so you “hear” sound coming from somewhere other than the little earbuds that go into your ear. On AirPods Pro, Max, and Beats Fit Pro, you can even use the built-in accelerometer to measure your head rotation and adjust the audio to stay stable relative to your position.
While it works great for most people, initially these algorithms were sort 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 Personalized spatial audio Profile that takes this more into account, making spatial audio work even better. Here’s how to set it up.
Time to complete: 5 minutes
Tools needed: iPhone with Face ID, iOS 16 or later