Dolby Atmos CarPlay: What you need to know!

Dolby Atmos and CarPlay can be a great combination for listing to breathtaking music thanks to the latest advances in audio technology. 

But how do you know if they’re compatible, and how do you enable it?

Any CarPlay speaker can be used in coordination with Dobly Atoms; however, to get the full experience, you’ll need to get an Atmos-enabled receiver and height, positioned speakers.

To understand why Dolby atoms will work with carplay, you need to know how it works. 

We’ll explain this and what Dolby Atoms CarPlay apps you can use to hear this incredible sound quality.

What is Dolby Atoms

dolby atoms logo as seen in carplay
dolby atoms logo as seen in carplay

In simple terms: Dolby Atmos is essentially surround sound.

Watch the video below to hear what it sounds like.

PS: Wear headphones for the best results. 

Very cool!

How does Dolby Atoms CarPlay Work?

The virtual surround sound created by Dolby Atmos manipulates what you hear, no matter how many speakers you have and what device you’re using. (As long as it’s compatible)

Essentially, this creates a virtual sphere around you to hear the sound.

This places you smack bang in the middle of any action or music, allowing you to hear sounds from all angles.

Atoms aren’t pre-mixed music. 

Instead, the audio data is mixed right before the music is played. This way, it can support any setup, rather than being fixed to specific vehicle audio systems and configurations.

In fact, Dolby Atoms can support up to 64 speakers! This will defiantly be sufficient for most people.

How to Enable Dolby Atmos for CarPlay

To enable Dolby Atmos for Apple CarPlay, you’ll need to ensure your iPhone is compatible and up to date with the latest IOS.

Compatible iPhones:

iPhones are only compatible with both CarPlay and Dolby Atmos. Currently, the following iPhones are supported:

  • iPhone 13 +
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE

You don’t need any kind of particular CarPlay app for Dolby Atmos, as it’s built into Apple’s firmware. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Go to settings
  2. Tap Music
  3. Under Audio, tap Dolby Atmos. 
  4. Choose Automatic, Always-On, or Off.

Automatic: Automatic will play in Dobly Atoms and other Dolby whenever connect to compatible devices.

For most people, it’s likely already set to Automatic. 

You can play supported audio in Dolby Atmos and other Dolby Audio formats by enabling this feature.

Download in Dolby Atoms Format

If you want to download music in Dolby Atoms format, you must enable this in the settings.

You might want to download Dolby Atoms to save data usage. While CarPlay Data usage is no more than your iPhone, you’ll probably not want to waste your data plan or decrease your battery, especially if you’re using wireless CarPlay

How to download in Dolby Atoms

  1. Go to settings 
  2. Tap Music
  3. Scroll down and select the “Download in Doly Atoms”
download in dobly atoms format for carplay setting
download in dobly atoms format for carplay setting

Dolby Atmos CarPlay Compatible Apps:

According to Dolby, there are only three iPhone apps that use Dolby Atmos.

 These include; Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tidal

Apple Music 

Apple Music has thousands of Dolby Atmos-supported tracks, which are included in all paid Apple music plans

Dolby Atmos is also incorporated with Spatial Audio for Apple Music. 

The types of tracks and artists that are included:

  • The Weeknd
  • Ariana Grande
  • Justin Bieber
  • J Balvin
  • Billie Eilish 
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • And more

Apple Music also has playlists dedicated to Dolby Atmos track, which include:

If you want to know a track compatible with Dboly Atom, check if you can see the Dboly Atoms logo below the song’s featured image.

Such as the picture below: 


apple music dolby atmos
apple music dolby atmos

Amazon Music

The Amazon Music CarPlay App is also compatible with CarPaly. 

IMPORTANT: You will need to be an Amazon Music Unlimited Member to listen with Dolby Atoms. 

This is in addition to Amazon Prime but unlocks millions more songs and the ability to use Dolby atoms, which will work with CarPlay.

Amazon clearly labels music through their user interface using the Dolby Atmos logo, so you know which songs are compatible.

Amazon Music also features a search menu where customers can filter Dolby Atmos content. 

You can view the Amazon playlist containing the “best of Dolby Atoms”.

See our article on Amazon music Dolby Atoms which discuss this topic in more detail.


Tidal also offers compatibility with Dolby Atmos, which is additionally supported through their Tidal CarPlay App

This is available to TIDAL HiFi Plus subscribers.

You can find your Dolby Atmos content by navigating to “explore” and then scrolling down to the Dolby Atmos section. 


There are a range of other carplay music Apps such as Dezer and Spotify but are not currently listed as supporting Dolby Atoms at this time. 

What if my Dolby Atmos CarPlay devices aren’t compatible?

When a device is not enabled with Dolby Atmos, the Music steaming service delivers the stereo (regular) version of the track.

Final thoughts

Dobly atoms is a great way to listen to deep, immersive music using carplay. 

By following the steps in the article, we hope you can listen to this music at its best.

Just ensure you’re using a compatible device such as an iPhone XR+ and the correct subscription plan for Apple Music, Amazon Music, or Tidal.  

Best of luck!

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder
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