How does 3D surround sound work

Playback with 3D audio for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max

3D audio with dynamic head tracking gives the movie or video you're watching a theater-like surround sound, as if the sound was coming from all directions. The sound field remains assigned to the device and the voice remains with the actor or in the scene on the screen.


  • AirPods Pro or AirPods Max
  • iPhone 7 or later or one of these iPad models:
    • iPad Pro 12.9 "(3rd generation) and newer
    • iPad Pro 11 "
    • iPad Air (3rd generation) and newer
    • iPad (6th generation) and newer
    • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iOS or iPadOS 14 or newer
  • Audiovisual content from a supported app

Enable 3D audio

  1. Go to Settings> Bluetooth.
  2. Find the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max in the list (for example, "Michael's AirPods").
  3. Next to the AirPods, tap the Info button.
  4. Activate "3D Audio".

To hear a demonstration of 3D audio, tap “See and hear how it works”. You can switch from stereo audio to 3D audio to hear the difference between the two modes.

3D audio is enabled, but not active for the audio content you are currently listening to.

3D audio is active.

3D audio is disabled.

Some device settings, including iPhone Follow, Balance, Mono Audio, and Headphone Adjustments, can affect how 3D audio works.

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