AirPods Getting Automatic Switching Between Apple Devices, Theater-Like 'Spatial Audio' Coming to AirPods Pro

Apple today announced that the second-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro are gaining automatic switching between Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. For example, if you finish a phone call on your iPhone and pick up your iPad to watch a movie, the AirPods or Beats will automatically switch over.

airpods surround sound
AirPods Pro are also getting a new "spatial audio" feature that promises to deliver a theater-like surround sound experience wherever you are. Apple says spatial audio with dynamic head tracking puts surround sound channels in exactly the right place, even as you turn your head or move your device. This feature will require an iPhone 7 or newer.

For developers, Apple is releasing a new Motion API that provides access to orientation, user acceleration, and rotational rates for the AirPods Pro, which will be beneficial for fitness apps, games, and more.

These new features are tied to the release of iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and watchOS 7.

Top Rated Comments

QCassidy352 Avatar
13 months ago
This is my favorite thing announced so far! This will be extremely useful for those who use their AirPods with multiple devices.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kabeyun Avatar
13 months ago

For an authentic surround sound experience, the sound field needs to stay fixed even when you move your head. AirPods will be able to use the built-in accelerometer to track the motion of your head, remapping the sound field so it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves or when the bus you are riding on turns the corner.
Perpetual cynics, haters, and malcontents excepted, who doesn’t think this is just freaking cool?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
votdfak Avatar
13 months ago

Don’t AirPods already switch between devices?
No. I will welcome this addition with open and washed hands.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dekadent Avatar
13 months ago
That will not be kind on the battery...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Patriks7 Avatar
13 months ago
Would be nice if they fixed the noise cancelling before adding new features.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Superman730 Avatar
13 months ago

Don’t AirPods already switch between devices?
They do sort of. Like, if you're listening to something on a different device and your phone rings, you can tell it to answer and use the AirPods. It also quickly switches between the devices just not automatically.

My main concern here is it switching automatically when I DON'T want it to. Like I'm listening to a podcast on one device and scrolling through Safari or FaceBook on another and they think I want to listen to a dumb ad or autoplay video or something.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
macbook air orange

Apple Developing a Whole New Kind of MacBook Air

Monday June 21, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Apple is believed to be working on a completely new, high-end version of the MacBook Air, according to recent reports. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, has repeatedly discussed the company's work on a high-end MacBook Air. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and leaker Jon Prosser have also referred to a similar MacBook Air model. The high-end...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
iOS 15 Users Underwhelmed Feature

Users Underwhelmed by iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Survey Suggests

Monday June 21, 2021 7:17 am PDT by
Users appear to be underwhelmed by Apple's upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates, according to the findings of a new survey by SellCell. The survey asked 3,000 iPhone and iPad users, evenly split between men and women, aged 18 or over in the United States, what they thought of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and the naming of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup. Over 50 percent of all of the survey's...
purple iphone 12 and 12 mini

iPhone 12 Mini Production Reportedly Ended Earlier Than Expected Due to Relatively Low Sales

Monday June 21, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Following widespread reports that the iPhone 12 mini has experienced poor sales performance, at least relative to other iPhone 12 models, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce today claimed that production of the device has already ended. According to TrendForce, the iPhone 12 mini "reached End-of-Life ahead of time" during the second quarter of 2021, suggesting that Apple will focus on selling ...
primeday2020 feature3

Amazon Prime Day: The Best Apple Deals

Monday June 21, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Amazon's annual Prime Day event has officially kicked off today, beginning 48 hours of discounts, offers, and tons of savings across Amazon's storefront. This includes everything from home electronics to clothing, jewelry, video games, movies, and much more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...