The Sony WH-1000XM5 just stole the AirPods Max’s best feature

Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. AirPods Max
(Image credit: Future)

The Sony WH-1000XM5 — some of the best headphones on the planet — are getting a feature from the Apple AirPods Max in their latest update.

In an update that went live today, the Sony WH-1000XM5 will now support spatial audio with head-tracking as well as advanced multi-point Bluetooth that allows you to leave the LDAC turned on while connected to multiple devices. 

Despite Apple launching its AirPods Max flagship headphones with those features, they’ve only just become available on the Sony WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds that launched earlier this week, and are now being brought to Sony’s flagship over-ear headphones.

The caveat here is that the head-tracking spatial audio is limited to certain apps and certain devices — for now, that’s just Netflix and Android 13 phones with head-tracking like the Google Pixel 7 Pro — so be sure you're using the right devices to take advantage of the new features. 

How to get the Sony WH-1000XM5 update 

Theoretically, as long as you have the Sony Headphones app installed on your phone, you should be notified that there’s an update available next time you connect your headphones. 

That said, if you didn’t get this message yet, you can always force the update by going into the Sony Connect app with the headphones connected to your device. Once you’re in it, you should be prompted to update your device with the new firmware. 

As for implementing head-tracking spatial audio, you’ll need to make sure you’re paying for Netflix’s Premium plan if you want to hear it — unfortunately Netflix’s basic tier doesn’t offer spatial audio support. 

Finally, for the multi-point Bluetooth to work properly, make sure you have it enabled in the settings of the Sony Headphones app. Otherwise you might only be able to pair the headphones to one device at a time or have them drop back from LDAC to the basic SBC audio codec when connected to a second device.

Not sure which pair of flagship noise-canceling headphones are right for you? Check out our Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max showdown to get the pros and cons of both models.

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Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.