Apple FaceTime getting spatial audio for 'more natural' calls

Apple says that as part of the iOS 15 update, FaceTime users' voices will appear to come out of the screen on supported Apple devices.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury

Apple has announced that as part of the update to iOS 15, FaceTime will offer spatial audio to make people's voices appear to come from their position on screen, during its annual WWDC keynote.

The feature is designed to make FaceTime "more natural, comfortable and lifelike," Apple's Craig Federighi said.

Spatial audio is a collection of 3D surround formats, including Dolby Atmos, designed to bring height and rear effects to video calls, movies and music. Apple introduced spatial audio on its AirPods Pro last year and it uses the headphones' accelerometer for head tracking. 

Watch this: Apple debuts new FaceTime features for iOS 15

It's also supported by AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, or the built-in speakers in the latest versions of the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

In iOS 15, Apple also upgraded FaceTime to allow Android users to join FaceTime calls (here's how)

Apple's virtual WWDC 2021 conference runs from today through Friday and includes announcements about the newest version of iOS, Apple Maps and more.