Google Pixel update adds support for spatial audio

The Google Pixel’s January update is here, and it adds a new spatial audio feature for the Pixel 6, 6 Pro, 7, and 7 Pro phones. Android researcher Mishaal Rahman has verified that a toggle for the feature is appearing in the settings menu of the Pixel 6 Pro with the stable update, which is rolling out now to Pixel devices.

There are technically two different kinds of spatial audio support eventually coming to Pixel phones. The one that’s rolling out now as part of January’s update is the less advanced of the two because it doesn’t automatically adjust as you move your head. So if you’re watching a surround sound video and turn your head to the left, it’ll then sound as though the center channel speaker has also moved to your left. 

That won’t be the case with the upcoming head-tracking spatial audio feature, however, which will be exclusive to the Pixel Buds Pro and will be arriving via a firmware update “in the coming weeks.” Once it arrives, you’ll be able to move your head and it should sound as though the virtual speakers surrounding you stay in place. A support page notes it should work with “​​content marked as Dolby audio or 5.1.

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