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

Airpods Pro
(Image credit:

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 to upgrade your device to iOS 14 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). 

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.

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.

You'll only get the update if you have iOS 14. Note that not all iPhones will be able to download iOS 14 – anything older than the iPhone 6S won't be getting the full version of the operating system. If your iPhone is compatible, check out our guide on how to update your device to iOS 14.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.