Google might add Spatial Audio to Chromebooks in a future ChromeOS update

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 embossed Chromebook logo on lid
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • New code references to Spatial Audio have appeared in an official ChromeOS code change. 
  • Though the feature is currently non-functional, the code change previews how Spatial Audio will become an option in ChromeOS settings.
  • However, it looks like Chromebooks will eventually have the same Spatial Audio support as Android phones and tablets.

Spatial Audio is the latest fad to hit mobile audio, and it allows users to experience a virtual surround field of sound, mimicking hardware surround sound setups. Google added support for Spatial Audio in Android 13 early last year, but the company may be prepping it on a new operating system: ChromeOS. Recent code changes to ChromeOS that include references to Spatial Audio suggest that the feature will eventually make its way to Chromebooks

The mention of Spatial Audio was included in an official ChromeOS code change, which was first spotted by 9to5Google. Though this doesn't guarantee Spatial Audio will come to Chromebooks, it is a good sign. The Chromium Review page outlines the new code, which would "add a spatial audio toggle on the audio settings page" in ChromeOS. This toggle, when added, would allow users to choose whether their Chromebook plays content in Spatial Audio. 

Spatial Audio will likely appear in a ChromeOS Canary build first, or behind a developer flag. In the Chromium Review page, it was revealed that the flag will be called ShowSpatialAudioToggle. Eventually, users will be able to find that developer flag under chrome://flags to force-enable Spatial Audio. 

Generally, the future Spatial Audio toggle for ChromeOS seems nearly identical to the one that exists in Android. As of January 2023, Android phones and tablets running Android 13 or later have access to Spatial Audio. With supported earbuds and headphones, you can use Spatial Audio with head tracking for a more immersive experience.

Spatial Audio toggle on Pixel 7 Pro for OnePlus Buds Pro 2

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The new Spatial Audio option for Chromebooks is expected to appear in the ChromeOS settings app under the Device and Audio sections. It looks like a simple toggle for now, but that could change before the feature's release. There's still a lot we don't know about how Spatial Audio will work on ChromeOS, like whether it will only be supported with certain apps or throughout the entire system.

Still, the future inclusion of Spatial Audio on Chromebooks will further add continuity throughout Google's ecosystem. Whether you're using an Android phone, tablet, or Chromebook, you'll have Spatial Audio as an option. It's unclear when Spatial Audio might ship on Chromebooks, but the feature will have to at least appear in ChromeOS Canary or as a developer flag before that happens. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.