Apple AirPods Pro now boast Dolby Atmos surround sound – here’s how you can get it

Airpods Pro

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The Apple AirPods Pro now come with a new Spatial Audio feature thanks to a firmware update, bringing Dolby Atmos immersive audio to the true wireless earbuds.

First announced at the company’s WWDC 2020 keynote in June, the Spatial Audio feature works in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos, which positions sound all around you within a virtual sphere – that means that if you’re watching a Dolby Atmos film that shows a plane flying overheard, it will sound as though the plane is really passing above you. 

Right now, it seems the feature only works with Apple TV Plus titles, and you’ll need the iOS 14 beta to try it – we’re hoping that it will be supported by more platforms as time goes on (the new feature could even pave the way for Dolby Atmos Music support on Apple Music). The final version of iOS 14 is expected to be released this month – perhaps even today (Tuesday, September 15), as part of Apple’s 2020 event.

The launch event will be live streamed, and it’s kicking off at 10am PT / 1pm EST / 6pm BST (3am AEST on September 16 in Australia) – be sure to follow our Apple event live blog for all the latest news from the tech giant today.

As confirmed by Apple Insider, the company released the latest 3A283 firmware on Monday, September 14, and users are already taking to Twitter to describe the experience of hearing 3D sound from their AirPods Pro earbuds.

.Morning all. I woke up to my AirPods Pro updated for #SpatialAudio and wow, it’s magical! Works with all TV app @Dolby Atmos content (I’ve tested) without spending thousands. Interested to see how Apple implement this with future Apple TV hardware. It’s incredible on iOS! 15, 2020

Spatial Audio: like having a mini theater right in your ears. Absolutely stunning audio experience.September 15, 2020

OMG the new spatial audio feature for AirPods Pro is magic! 😱😱😱 15, 2020

How do I upgrade my AirPods?

As well as allowing for clever virtual Dolby Atmos, the AirPods Pro can now also track the motion of your head and your device, to ensure that the audio always appear to originate from the correct position.

Regular AirPods users won’t get Spatial Audio, but the update has brought a new auto-switching feature means that means the both the AirPods and the AirPods Pro can now “magically switch over between devices”, detecting automatically which device you are using.

For example, if you’ve just finished listening to a podcast on your phone, you can pick up your iPad to watch a TV shows and the AirPods will connect to the tablet automatically.

The new firmware update will be rolled out to users automatically and should be installed on your AirPods as long as they’re in their charging case and connected to an iOS device. 

Not sure whether your buds have been updated? You can check whether you have the latest update yourself, by heading to the Settings app on your device. From there, select General > About, and then select your AirPods from the menu and look for version 3A283.

We’re expecting to hear confirmation from Apple about the update later today as part of their September event. It’s also possible that we’ll hear more about new rumored AirPods models, including the over-ear AirPods Studio, the AirPods 3, and the AirPods Pro Lite, so it’s well worth tuning into the livestream in case the tech giant takes us by surprise with an unexpected announcement. 

September 15, 2020
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