If you use AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, your mobile Netflix watching is about to get a bit more immersive. Yesterday, Netflix confirmed that it has begun rolling out spatial audio support on iPhone and iPad on iOS 14 after the feature was spotted by a Reddit user.
Netflix joins streaming competitors like HBO Max, Disney+ and Peacock in enabling this feature, while other popular apps like Amazon Prime Video and YouTube still don't have this functionality. Still, Netflix said the rollout won't be immediate — users who have the update should be able to toggle it on or off in the Control Center.
Recently, Apple has been emphasizing its spatial audio features. The company first announced that it would bring spatial audio to AirPods Pro during the WWDC conference in 2020 — during this year's conference, Apple added that Apple Music subscribers would gain access to spatial audio and lossless audio streaming at no extra charge. This even supports dynamic head tracking, which adjusts the sound when you move your head. The Android version of the Apple Music app also supports spatial and lossless audio. In February, Spotify said it would roll out a high-end subscription service, Spotify HiFi, which would enable lossless audio, though there's been no news since.
Last month, Netflix revealed that it started looking toward mobile gaming in addition to its original movies and television series. The company has already experimented with interactive entertainment with projects like "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" and its "Stranger Things" games.
“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV,” the company said in its quarterly earnings report.
Spatial audio is popular among video game players — so while this update will enhance the streaming video experience on iPhone and iPad, perhaps we'll see this feature at play in eventual Netflix mobile games, too.