A new firmware update has bought spatial audio and automatic device switching to the AirPods Pro - but you will only be able to enjoy the new feature if you are running the iOS 14 beta, as it will requite iOS 14 to work.

The arrival of the AirPod firmware update does suggest that it won't be long before iOS 14, tvOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are released.

The AirPods Pro firmware 3A283 update became available on 14 September.

The new spatial sound feature can be used with iPhone and the Apple TV hardware. It should have the effect of making it seem that the sound is really coming from the screen you are watching.

The new automatic device switching feature will make it quick and easy to switch between audio sources that have the same Apple ID. This new automatic device switching feature is supported by the AirPods Pro and the second generation AirPods, but also Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro and Beats Solo Pro.

To take advantage of the new audio function you need to be running the sixth beta of iOS 14. If you have that installed on a compatible iPhone, and the AirPods Pro, you will be able to listen to 3D audio.

An iPhone 7 or newer is required for surround sound with the AirPods Pro. Some phones that are compatible with iOS 14 (such as the iPhone 6S and first generation iPhone SE) will not support the new function.

How to get spacial sound on AirPods Pro

Your iPhone will need to be running iOS 14 (sixth beta or later)

Make sure the firmware 3A283 update has been installed on your AirPods Pro (this should happen automatically).

  1. Make sure your headphones are connected to your iPhone.
  2. You will find the controller for the surround sound feature in Settings > Bluetooth. Click on the i symbol next to the corresponding AirPods Pro entry.
  3. Alternatively, you can activate the same setting if you press the volume up control in the control centre while AirPods Pro are connected.

Once the new versions of Apple’s various operating systems launch you will be able to use the feature when playing audio on Apple devices running iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.

Want a pair of AirPods Pro? We have a roundup of AirPods deals and there are some decent savings to be had. And here is our review of the AirPods Pro.

If you are frustrated by the AirPods automatic switching feature here's how to turn it off. And if you're experiencing sound issues with a pair of AirPods Pro, check if they're covered by Apple's replacement programme.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.