Quality-free streaming is now available on Apple Music, shortly after it turned the Dolby Atmos spatial sound switch. From now on you will be able to stream supported tracks in both standard CD quality lossless or high resolution lossless on the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS and macOS. However, some heavy reservations apply, especially when it comes to Apple’s own audio products.
While Dolby Atmos’ spatial sound will be limited to certain albums, Apple said yesterday at WWDC that lossless streaming will eventually reach the entire 75 million track catalog. Over 20 million songs are already available on the service today, compared to just “thousands” of spatial soundtracks. Both features require a subscription to Apple Music.
The service is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV 4K, with support coming to HomePod and HomePod Mini with a future update. Once you have the latest operating system, you need to change your settings from AAC to lossless in the Music app in the iOS / iPad OS settings. Apple then warns you that lossless tracks will consume “significantly”
Loss-free audio requires a wired connection and therefore does not work on any of Apple’s AirPod wireless audio devices. This includes AirPods Max headphones because they support a digital, non-analog wired connection via a zipper cable. For more on that, check out our explanation here.
You can listen to regular lossless (CD quality) audio by simply connecting analog headphones to an iPhone 7 or later (with iOS 14.6), Mac (with macOS 11.4), iPad (iPadOS 14.6) or Apple TV 4K (tvOS 14.6 )). A Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter may of course be required. However, to listen to lossless high resolutions, you need an external digital-to-analog (DAC) converter like this. To appreciate the extra dynamic range, you will want the best wired headphones you can afford.
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