Apple Music now supports dynamic head tracking with Spatial Audio

What you need to know

  • Apple has added dynamic head tracking to Spatial Audio in Apple Music.
  • The feature launched alongside the release of iOS 15 earlier this week.
  • AirPods Pro and AirPods Max can take advantage of the feature.

Apple Music is turning on its own head.

Apple Music fans are getting another treat when it comes to audio formats in iOS 15.

As reported by Engadget, Apple has added dynamic head tracking for its Spatial Audio feature in Apple Music in the latest operating system for the iPhone.

The feature will, for songs that support it, keeps instruments and vocals fixed in a virtual place no matter what direction you turn your head.

The iOS 15 release brings an added treat if you're a fan of immersive audio: a better soundstage for your tunes. As hinted at WWDC in June, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 users now have dynamic head tracking for spatial audio in Apple Music. So long as you're using the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, instruments and vocals will have a fixed-in-place virtual presence — turn your head and that guitar or vocal will pan accordingly.

The feature was already rolled out to video content in services like Apple TV+. For example, I was watching "The Year Earth Changed" and, when I turned my head away from the screen, the sound stayed in place like I was watching television in front of me. It's a unique feature that could open up more creativity for artists but, like Spatial Audio tracks mixed with Dolby Atmos, will need to thoughtfully take advantage of the feature for it to be beneficial.

The feature is, however, limited to the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max headphones. Neither the regular AirPods nor Beats lineup is able to take advantage of the feature.

Apple originally announced Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos support for Apple Music back in the spring and launched it around WWDC21, the company's yearly developer conference. It also launched Lossless Audio. Neither feature brought with it a price hike for the music streaming service.

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