Apple explains how spatial audio works on Apple TV in tvOS 15

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Spatial audio for Apple TV in tvOS 15
Coming this fall.
Photo: Apple

Spatial audio is coming to Apple TV this fall in tvOS 15. It got a brief mention during Apple’s WWDC 2021 keynote on Monday, and now the company has shared more details on how exactly it will work.

Apple TV owners don’t have a great deal to look forward to in tvOS 15. The update didn’t make much of an appearance on Monday and you’ll struggle to find any mention of it on Apple’s website today.

But it is indeed coming alongside updates for iPhone, iPad and Mac this fall. And in addition to the ability to sign into apps using your iPhone or iPad, it will bring spatial audio for Apple TV content for the first time.

How spatial audio works on Apple TV

Just like spatial audio in iOS, the feature will provide a more immersive viewing experience when watching supported TV shows and movies on Apple TV. It’s like having surround sound but without all the speakers.

What’s more, the feature will also support dynamic head tracking. So when you turn your head while watching a movie, the audio will react and you’ll hear certain sounds from different directions.

Spatial audio in tvOS 15 will support all surround sound 5.1, surround sound 7.1, stereo, and Dolby Atmos content. But it will work a little differently on Apple TV compared to on iPhone and iPad.

“When you sit down to watch a movie or TV show, the included head tracking feature will lock in after it detects you’ve been looking in the same direction for a while,” reports Engadget after talking to Apple.

If you get up and move around, spatial audio will reset, then reinitiate after you’ve sat back down and continued watching for a while.

tvOS 15 lands this fall

Spatial audio for Apple TV requires a set of AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. It will be available when tvOS 15 rolls out to everyone this fall as a free update. Developers can download the first beta now.