After yesterday’s WWDC main direction, Apple has launched Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos for Apple Music subscribers. As long as you have the latest software (and compatible devices), you should be able to stream specific tracks with CD quality resolution or higher.
Activating the function is easy. Go on to iPhone and iPad Settings, select Music, and scroll down to Sound. There you will see two menus: Dolby Atmos and Audio Quality. For Atmos, if you select Automatic, this is what you get when connected to an Atmos-compatible device, including AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max. In the sound quality menu, you can turn on Lossless Audio and then choose which resolution level you want for mobile streaming, wifi streaming and downloads.
On the desktop, all you have to do is open up Music app, go to Preferences, and select Playback tab to access the same menu. For Apple TV, you can access the menus by mashing Settings menu, select Apper, then Music. If you do not find the menus, double check to see that you have updated the firmware and restarted. If it still does not work, keep in mind that the feature may still be rolling out.
There are some warnings to the whole lossless sound. First, these are not small files. Streaming them over mobile and wifi will eat up yours data, while downloading takes up more space on your device. For already downloaded music, you must delete and download again if you want the lossless version. While iPads, iPhones and Macs both support standard CD quality lossless (24-bit / 48kHz) and high-resolution lossless (48-bit / 192kHz), Apple TV can only support CD quality. When talking about high-resolution lossless, you need an external digital-to-analog converter.
Remember that Bluetooth headphones do not support lossless sound. So while iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV can play these resolutions, AirPods will not. (However, a 3.5mm lightning for audio cable for AirPods Max want let yourself listen to lossless sound.) Apple plans to bring lossless sound to the HomePod and HomePod mini, but it does not roll out today. However, as long as you have Bluetooth headphones that support spatial sound – like AirPods Pro and AirPods Max – you can stream Dolby Atmos content.
But what about the content? So far, Apple has said that more than 20 million songs will be available to launch, and the rest of the Apple Music catalog will have lossless sound by the end of the year. (Previous iTunes purchases are not compatible and can not be upgraded, as this is exclusive to Apple Music and requires a subscription.) You can identify which albums / songs support either spatial sound or lossless by checking the description – they should have Lossless and Dolby Atmos Icons. Or you can also check out the Spatial Audio hub in Scroll through the Apple Music tab, which includes custom playlists that show the feature.
So there you have it. If you still have questions, Apple has put together a comprehensive support page. Good listening!