With Android 13 QPR1, spatial audio for the Pixel 6 appears, however it is still limited.

Google has made Spatial Audio available on Pixel 6 and 6 Pro for all headphones in the most recent Android 13 beta, but it doesn’t offer anything yet. The capability was initially announced as a feature of the Pixel Buds Pro.

Making music, movies, and video games spatial is one of the most well-liked audio technological breakthroughs in recent years. It will essentially sound like the audio moves in 3D as your head turns, immersing you in the experience.

Through the new Spatializer APIs that were introduced with Android 13, Google has been working hard to bring 3D audio to Android. Additionally, Google said earlier this year that a future update would provide spatial audio capabilities for the Pixel Buds Pro.

The first beta of the upcoming quarterly update (QPR1) for Android 13 for Pixel phones was issued by Google this week. Every Bluetooth headset, not just the Pixel Buds Pro, now has a new Spatial Audio toggle available in the settings when the update is applied.

In addition, you can now enable Spatial Audio for wired headphones with a new toggle in the Settings app’s Sound andamp; vibration section. The toggle must be referring to USB-C headphones because the Pixel 6 series doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack and it isn’t present on any other phones, including the Pixel 6a. It’s unclear if head tracking data would be transferred through the USB connection or if this wired version of Spatial Audio is only an effect.

Unfortunately, that’s all we can tell at this time about the Pixel 6’s spatial audio. Even when listening to what should be surround sound audio, there doesn’t seem to be any difference when turning on Spatial Audio, as tried with the Pixel Buds Pro and other headphones across a few different apps.

That’s very definitely due to the fact that Android apps have not yet been updated to take advantage of Android 13’s new APIs. However, since no phones had yet been equipped with spatial audio, there hasn’t been much of an incentive for app developers to do so.

Instead, we’ll probably need to wait a while longer until Spatial Audio becomes viable on the Pixel 6 and Android as a whole. It’s likely that Google is collaborating with partners to prepare for that launch or, at the very least, updating their own surround-sound-capable apps like Google TV and YouTube TV in light of their plans to officially introduce Spatial Audio to the Pixel Buds Pro soon. Hopefully, the Pixel hardware event next month will reveal more.

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