Apple Music

How to enable Apple Lossless Music and Spatial Audio on any device

Last Updated on July 24, 2021

Apple Music received a major update this year which include Apple Lossless , and it’s free to all subscribers, including Android users. The entire Collection of over 75 million tracks will be available in a new Lossless Audio Format using ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Compression), starting with some 20 million tracks and expanding to all the remaining tracks by the end of 2021. Eventually, all tracks will be available in a hi-res lossless format at a maximum of 24bit and 192kHz. In addition, some tracks will also gain Dolby Atmos support, which can be played with compatible devices, including most Apple and Beats headphones. You’ll see labels on albums that show you which formats are available.

Apple Lossless

Dolby Atmos and Lossless formats require specific audio gear.

But these format will need specific hardware for each of them to work. You also need to have updated software for Apple device updated to iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, or tvOS 14.6 in order to use these new formats.

Apple Lossless Music

Apple Music Lossless uses the ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to retain all the information in the original CD-quality master. It starts at 16 bit, 44.1kHz and goes up to 24-bit, 48 kHz. No bluetooth device, not even Apple’s AirPods, can decode this format, so you’ll need wired headphones.

Additionally, Apple’s 3.5mm Lightning headphone adapter includes it’s own DAC that supports 24-bit, 48kHz so high-end wired headphones will work. However, the Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable that Apple sells for the AirPods Max doesn’t support Lossless streaming.

Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless

High-Resolution lossless audio is a step up from the standard CD-quality lossless format. It goes all the way up to 24 bit at 192kHz. It has the same requirements as regular Lossless but also requires external hardware capable of handling 24-bit audio up to 192kHz, such as a USB DAC or receiver. And you’ll also need a USB-to-Lightning dongle for your iPhone or Mac.

Dolby Atmos

It’s unclear how many tracks will be available in Dolby Atmos, but Apple has several playlists dedicated to the new format. Many more Apple devices are supported—every AirPods or Beats product with a W1 or H1 chip in it will automatically play compatible tracks in Dolby Atmos, as will the latest iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

iTunes downloads

Apple Music subscribers will be able to redownload music in lossless only from the Apple Music catalog by deleting the original track and redownloading it. Previous iTunes purchases will not be able to be upgraded and new songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store will be limited to AAC encoding.

apple music iphone

How do I enable lossless audio on my devices?

To listen to lossless audio on your iPhone or iPad, ensure that it is updated to iOS 14.5 or iPadOS 14.6.

  • Go to Settings > Music. 
  • Tap Audio Quality.
  • Enable Lossless. You can also choose the quality for streaming and downloading. 
    • Lossless for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/48kHz
    • Hi-Res Lossless for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/192kHz

For Macs, make sure it is updated to macOS 11.4.

  • Open the Apple Music app
  • In the menu bar, choose Music and then Preferences
  • Click the Playback tab
  • You will see Audio Quality where you can toggle Lossless audio on or off. You can also change the settings here.
    • Lossless for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/48kHz
    • Hi-Res Lossless for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/192kHz

And finally, on Apple TV 4K, make sure it is updated to tvOS 14.6 and that it is connected to an AV receiver using an HDMI cable.

  • Go to Settings > Music. 
  • Select Audio Quality.
  • Toggle Lossless on or off. Apple TV 4K currently does not support Hi-Res Lossless so music quality is limited to 24-bit/48kHz.

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