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Spatial audio rolls out to Netflix on iPhone and iPad

Netflix is the latest iOS app to support Apple’s spatial audio effects, the company has confirmed. It joins Disney Plus and (of course) Apple TV Plus in supporting the feature.

You may not have the feature enabled right away, though some users on Reddit are already reporting it’s there and ready to use. A Netflix spokesperson told The Verge that the rollout began on Wednesday for devices running iOS 14, and that users with the correct hardware should begin to see the feature in the next few days.

By correct hardware, we mean headphones that actually support spatial audio, which at the time of writing is just two products: the £549 AirPods Max and the £249 AirPods Pro. Unfortunately the feature isn’t available on the regular, cheaper AirPods or anything else from our list of the best wireless earbuds you can buy.

It’s a premium feature, designed to move headphones beyond standard stereo sound and towards something that mimics the experience of the movie theatre. The technology uses the accelerometer/gyroscope of iOS devices, directional audio filters and adjustments of the frequencies delivered to each ear to create a sound that feels more immersive, even as you move your head or device.

Or, as Apple puts it: “Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in your AirPods Pro and your iPhone, spatial audio tracks the motion of your head as well as your device, compares the motion data, and then remaps the sound field so that it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves.”

While the Netflix update is for devices running iOS 14, it’s worth noting that iOS 15 introduces a new Spatialise Stereo option, which tries to apply the same principals to content from any music or video source – though you’ll still need AirPods Pro or Max to hear the benefit.

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