Apple Music's Spatial Audio Feature Doesn't Work With Built-In Speakers of iPhone XR, iPad, or iPad mini [Updated]

Apple today clarified details on which of its devices support Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos through the built-in speakers, and it turns out that some older iPhones and iPads previously thought to work with spatial audio do not, in fact, offer the feature.

iPhone Hi Fi Apple Music Feature
In an updated support document, Apple says that the built-in speakers of the iPhone XS or later (minus the iPhone SE), the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and the fourth-generation iPad Air support spatial audio.

Prior to today's update, this support document said that spatial audio was also compatible with the ‌iPhone‌ XR, the iPad mini 5, the ‌iPad Air‌ 3, and the 6th to 8th-generation iPads.

Before today's update:

The built-in speakers on an iPhone XR or later (except iPhone SE), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later), iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad (6th generation or later), iPad Air (3rd generation or later), or iPad mini (5th generation)

After today's update:

The built-in speakers on an iPhone XS or later (except iPhone SE), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later), iPad Pro 11-inch, or iPad Air (4th generation)

Apple has not yet updated the footnote on its Apple Music page with the latest information on supported devices, and this is not the first time that Apple has offered confusing information on which devices work with spatial audio.

An earlier version of the Apple Music page at one point said that spatial audio worked with the ‌iPhone‌ 7 or later, but that was updated to say ‌iPhone‌ XR in June. Apple will likely soon update the footnote again to reflect the new data, which indicates spatial audio is limited to newer iPhones and iPads.

Those who have older iPhones and iPads can still access spatial audio with several headphone options including AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, Beats X, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, Beats Solo Pro, or Beats Studio Buds.

On Macs, all of the above listed headphone options work as well as the built-in speakers on MacBook Pro (2018 model or later), MacBook Air (2018 model or later), or iMac (2021 model).

Update: Some ‌iPhone‌ XR owners have been able to get the Spatial Audio feature working on their devices in automatic mode, with the iPhones playing Spatial Audio as expected, so it appears the Spatial Audio feature may work with the ‌iPhone‌ XR, XS, and later. The ‌iPad mini‌ 5, ‌iPad Air‌ 3, and 6th to 8th-generation iPads do not support Spatial Audio.

Top Rated Comments

alexjholland Avatar
26 weeks ago
Anyone who plays music from their phone speakers should be publicly flogged.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HeavenDynamic Avatar
26 weeks ago
How can you enjoy music with an iPhone's built-in speakers?
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nvmls Avatar
26 weeks ago
I output my dj set through iPhone 12 Pro's speakers, the crowd loves it and I love my consumers.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
26 weeks ago
The iPhone XR has the same speaker system as the XS, so this is very suspicious
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Heckles Avatar
26 weeks ago

Anyone who plays music from their phone speakers should be publicly flogged anyway.
I do when I hang close for laundry. I’m not buying a speaker for 10 minutes in the basement doing this.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
26 weeks ago
Imagine being an Apple rep and having to understand this stuff…
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Spatial Audio Netflix Feature 2

Netflix Rolling Out Spatial Audio Support

Wednesday August 18, 2021 1:29 pm PDT by
Netflix is rolling out support for Spatial Audio on the iPhone and the iPad, based on reports shared by MacRumors readers and on Reddit. A Netflix spokesperson also confirmed to MacRumors that the rollout is underway. When playing compatible content in Netflix, Spatial Audio will be available as an option in the Control Center on iPhone and iPad for those running iOS 14 and iOS 15....
iPhone Hi Fi Apple Music Feature

Apple Music's New Spatial Audio Feature Launches Today

Monday June 7, 2021 10:43 am PDT by
Spatial Audio, powered by Dolby Atmos for Apple Music is officially launching today, Apple announced during its WWDC keynote. Announced earlier last month, Spatial Audio provides a more immersive music experience for Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost. Spatial Audio will initially be available to thousands of songs on Apple Music, with the selection growing more in the future. The ...
maxresdefault

Apple's Zane Lowe Introduces Apple Music Spatial Audio

Tuesday June 8, 2021 9:40 am PDT by
Apple Music over the weekend highlighted a Spatial Audio-focused "special event," and it turns out that event is a discussion between Apple's Zane Lowe and music producers No I.D., Sylvia Massy, and Manny Marroquin. The Apple Music event can be watched in the Apple Music app or on YouTube, and it features Lowe and the music producers discussing the evolution of music and the sound...
maxresdefault

Apple and Billie Eilish Collaborate on Short Film Promoting Spatial Audio

Thursday August 12, 2021 6:52 am PDT by
Apple has teamed up with singer Billie Eilish on a new short film to promote Apple Music's recently launched Spatial Audio feature. The 90-second video, created by Apple Music in close collaboration with Eilish, mashes up the songs "Getting Older" and "GOLDWING" from the artist's latest album "Happier Than Ever." Eilish is seen singing in front of a vanity mirror, and as the song...
maxresdefault

Spatial Audio on Apple Music Promoted in New 'Beyond Stereo' Ad

Monday June 14, 2021 6:43 am PDT by
Just days after the launch of Spatial Audio on Apple Music, Apple has promoted the feature with a new "Beyond Stereo" ad set to "Mystery Lady" by Masego and Don Toliver. Spatial Audio, based on Dolby Atmos, is an immersive surround sound audio format that enables musicians to mix music so it sounds like the instruments are all around you in space. Thousands of Apple Music songs are available ...
homepod feature purple

HomePod Will Support Spatial Audio for Apple Music, But Not Lossless Audio

Monday May 17, 2021 1:34 pm PDT by
Apple Music will be gaining support for two new audio formats in June, including Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio, but MacRumors has received confirmation that the HomePod and HomePod mini will not support Lossless Audio. Apple's website does indicate that the HomePod will support Spatial Audio, but it's unclear if this includes the HomePod mini. Spatial Audio, based on Dolby Atmos, is an ...
spatialize stereo 1

'Spatialize Stereo' Feature in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey Simulates Spatial Audio for Non-Dolby Content

Wednesday June 9, 2021 4:52 am PDT by
In iOS 15 and macOS Monterey betas, Apple has quietly included a new audio feature called "Spatialize Stereo" that takes any non-Dolby stereo mix and creates a virtual spatial audio environment out of it. The addition was first discovered by a Reddit user, who had this to say about it: I assumed that if they ever did this it would warrant at the very least a mention in a Keynote, but unless ...
iPhone Hi Fi Apple Music Thumb copy

Apple Music Spatial Audio With Dolby Atmos 'Coming Soon' to Android Devices

Tuesday June 8, 2021 1:37 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to bring the new Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos feature to Android devices in the near future, according to a brief mention on the Spatial Audio intro page available in the Apple Music app. All Apple Music subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV can listen to thousands of Dolby Atmos Music tracks using any headphones. When...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...