How to Turn on Spatial Audio on Mac: A Complete Guide

Spatial audio on Mac is a cutting-edge technology that can revolutionize the way you listen to music and watch movies on your Apple devices. This technology uses advanced algorithms to create a three-dimensional audio experience that makes you feel like you’re inside the action. However, many Mac users are not aware of how to turn on spatial audio on their computers. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to enable spatial audio and explore the nuances of this technology.

Steps to Turn On Spatial Audio on Mac:

Step 1: Check Your Mac Settings

Before turning on spatial audio, ensure that your Mac OS is up-to-date. Go to the “Apple Menu” and choose “About This Mac.” If you have updated to macOS Big Sur, your Mac will support spatial audio.

Step 2: Connect Your AirPods Pro or Max

Spatial audio works best on Apple’s latest audio devices, such as AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Connecting your devices to your Mac is a critical step. Turn on Bluetooth, open the lid of your AirPods, and they will pair with your Mac automatically.

Step 3: Open the Control Center

Open the Control Center on your Mac by clicking on the icon located on the top right of the menu bar. Alternatively, you can swipe down from the top right corner of your Mac screen.

Step 4: Click on the Sound Icon

In the Control Center, click on the Sound icon to access the audio settings on your Mac.

Step 5: Select the Spatial Audio Option

Under the Output section, choose the Spatial Audio option from the dropdown menu.

Step 6: Choose Your Audio Device

Select your AirPods Pro or Max from the list of available audio devices on the Spatial Audio window.

Step 7: Turn on Head Tracking

Head Tracking is a unique feature that allows spatial audio to adjust to your head’s movement, creating a more immersive experience. Click on the checkbox next to the Head Tracking option to turn it on.

Step 8: Select a Media Player

Open the media player you wish to use, such as iTunes, Apple TV, or Safari. Then, begin playing a movie or music video that supports spatial audio.

Step 9: Enjoy Spatial Audio

Once your media player starts playing spatial audio content, put on your AirPods and enjoy the immersive three-dimensional audio experience.

Step 10: Adjust Sound Settings

You can fine-tune the spatial audio settings by clicking on the Spatial Audio option in the Control Center. Here you can adjust the Head Tracking and Gain settings to your preference.

Step 11: Disable Spatial Audio

To turn off spatial audio, follow the same steps and choose the stereo option in the Output section of the Sound settings.

Step 12: Troubleshooting Tips

If you experience any issues with spatial audio, ensure that your Mac is up-to-date and that your AirPods Pro or Max firmware is updated. You can also try resetting your AirPods by holding the button on the back of the case for 15 seconds.


Spatial audio on Mac uses complex algorithms to create an immersive audio experience. It works by simulating a three-dimensional soundstage with sound objects that move in space. By combining head tracking and gain control, spatial audio creates a realistic soundscape that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action. It’s a great technology for movie enthusiasts and audiophiles alike.

Tips and Tricks

Tip 1:

Ensure that your media content supports spatial audio before turning it on.

Tip 2:

Update your Mac and AirPods firmware to the latest version to ensure the best performance.

Tip 3:

Use Head Tracking for the best spatial audio experience.

Tip 4:

Adjust Gain Settings to increase the volume of the spatial audio track.

Tip 5:

If you wear glasses, remove them before using AirPods Pro or Max for optimal comfort.

Tip 6:

Turn off Spatial Audio when listening to non-spatial audio content.

Tip 7:

Try different media players to experience the full potential of spatial audio.

Tip 8:

Use the ear tip fit test to ensure that your AirPods Pro are snug in your ear.

Tip 9:

Customize your audio settings by adjusting the Equalizer in the Sound settings.

Tip 10:

Read online forums and discussion boards to learn more about Spatial Audio troubleshooting and tips.

In conclusion, spatial audio on Mac is a game-changer for immersive audio experiences. By following these simple steps, you can turn on Spatial Audio on your Mac and enjoy an immersive three-dimensional soundstage. With the right settings and tips, you can customize your experience to your preference and take full advantage of this cutting-edge technology.

Advantages and Disadvantages of How to Turn on Spatial Audio on Mac


1. Better sound quality: Spatial audio provides a more immersive audio experience that enhances the overall sound quality on your Mac.

2. Enhanced gaming experience: If you’re a gamer, spatial audio can help you locate and track your opponents more accurately, giving you an edge in gameplay.

3. More realistic movie and TV show watching: Spatial audio can also make your movies and TV shows sound more realistic, which can add to the overall viewing experience.

4. Easy to turn on: Turning on spatial audio on your Mac is a simple and easy process; all you need to do is go to system preferences and enable it.

5. Compatible with most headphones: Spatial audio works with most headphones that have a built-in gyro or accelerometer.

6. Better audio separation: Spatial audio allows for better audio separation, making it easier to distinguish between different sounds in a mix.

7. Works with most media apps: Spatial audio works with most media apps, including Apple Music, Netflix, and Disney+.

8. Immersive audio experience: With spatial audio, you can feel like you’re in the middle of the action, providing a more immersive audio experience.

9. Customizable experience: You can adjust the intensity of the spatial audio effect, giving you a more customizable experience.

10. Improved soundstage: Spatial audio allows for a more extended soundstage, which can make music sound more spacious and open.


1. Limited compatibility: Spatial audio only works on Macs that have an M1 chip or later.

2. Limited headphone compatibility: Spatial audio only works with select headphones that have a built-in gyro or accelerometer. This can limit your options when it comes to choosing headphones.

3. Limited media compatibility: While spatial audio works with most media apps, there are still a few that don’t support it.

4. Requires a compatible media source: To experience spatial audio, you need to have media that is compatible with it. If you don’t have a source of spatial audio content, you won’t be able to experience it.

5. Not suitable for all types of content: While spatial audio can enhance the experience of movies, TV shows, and games, it may not be suitable for all types of content, such as podcasts or audiobooks.

6. Can be distracting: If you’re not used to spatial audio, it can be distracting at first, as it provides a more immersive audio experience that may take some getting used to.

7. Consumes more battery: Spatial audio requires more processing power, which can drain your Mac’s battery more quickly.

8. May not work as expected: Spatial audio may not always work as expected, depending on the content you’re playing and the headphones you’re using.

9. Takes up more storage space: Spatial audio requires additional files and data, which can take up more storage space on your Mac.

10. May require a software update: If your Mac isn’t up to date, you may need to update the software to enable spatial audio, which can be time-consuming and require a restart.


1. What is Spatial audio on Mac?

Spatial audio on Mac is a feature that allows you to experience surround sound without the need for additional speakers or devices. It provides a more immersive audio experience by creating a 3D audio space, where sounds can be heard from various directions.

2. How does Spatial audio work on Mac?

Spatial audio on Mac works by using advanced algorithms to calculate the direction of sound and adjust it in real-time to create a 3D audio space. The Mac uses the built-in microphones and speakers to capture and play back audio in a way that makes it feel like the sound is coming from all around you.

3. What Mac devices support Spatial audio?

Spatial audio is currently supported on Mac devices that have an M1 chip, including the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and iMac. However, it may not be available on older Mac models.

4. How do I turn on Spatial audio on my Mac?

To turn on Spatial audio on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Sound > Output. Select the option “MacBook Pro Speakers (Spatial audio)” or “iMac Speakers (Spatial audio)” and check the box that says “Use spatial audio when available”.

5. Can I use Spatial audio with Bluetooth devices?

Yes, Spatial audio is also compatible with Bluetooth devices such as headphones or speakers that support the feature. Simply connect your device to your Mac and select it as the output source in System Preferences > Sound > Output.

6. Does Spatial audio work with all types of audio?

Spatial audio works with most types of audio, including music, movies, and TV shows. However, it may not work with all types of audio, such as phone calls or video conferencing apps.

7. Can I turn off Spatial audio on my Mac?

Yes, you can turn off Spatial audio on your Mac by unchecking the “Use spatial audio when available” option in System Preferences > Sound > Output. This will revert the audio output to standard stereo sound.

8. What apps support Spatial audio on Mac?

Currently, several popular apps on Mac support Spatial audio, including Apple TV, iTunes, HBO Max, and Disney+. More apps are expected to add support for this feature in the future.

9. Can I adjust the Spatial audio settings on my Mac?

No, there are no adjustable settings for Spatial audio on Mac. The feature is designed to work automatically and provide the best 3D audio experience possible.

10. Can I use Spatial audio with external speakers?

Yes, you can use Spatial audio with external speakers on your Mac, as long as they support the feature. Simply connect your speakers to your Mac and select them as the output source in System Preferences > Sound > Output.

11. Is Spatial audio only for Mac or can it be used on other devices?

Spatial audio is also available on other Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. However, the feature may not be compatible with non-Apple devices.

12. Does Spatial audio use more battery on my Mac?

Yes, Spatial audio may use slightly more battery on your Mac compared to standard stereo sound. However, the difference is likely to be minimal and should not significantly impact your overall battery life.

13. Does Spatial audio require special headphones or speakers?

No, Spatial audio does not require special headphones or speakers. However, for the best experience, Apple recommends using headphones that support spatial audio, such as AirPods Pro or AirPods Max.

How to Turn on Spatial Audio on Mac

As technology evolves, the demand for high-quality audio has become more important than ever. Whether you’re listening to music, watching movies, or gaming, spatial audio can enhance your overall experience. If you’re a Mac user, you might be wondering how to turn on spatial audio on your device. In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to do that to elevate your audio experience.

Conclusion and Closing Thoughts

Turning on spatial audio on your Mac is incredibly simple, and it can make a significant difference in your audio experience. By following the steps we’ve outlined above, you can enable this feature in just a few clicks, and you’ll be able to enjoy more immersive audio no matter what you’re listening to.

So there you have it, a quick and easy guide on how to turn on spatial audio on your Mac. We hope this article has been helpful, and that you’ve learned something new today. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading, and happy listening!

Until next time, stay curious!