Nearly two years after Tidal and Amazon announced their HiFi audio streaming service, Apple has also debuted its Apple Music Lossless streaming. The launch comes two weeks ahead of its WWDC 2021 conference and has fired up the whole music streaming industry.
The new audio service from Apple promises to change the whole audio listening experience. The company says it’s the “biggest advancement ever in sound quality.”
While Apple announced two new audio formats: Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio, and both will be available for free from June 2021. Learn what exactly is Apple Music Lossless and how you can stream it on your iPhone.
What is Apple Music Lossless?
The new Lossless Audio, as Apple says, enables listeners “to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio” without any compression. Lossless audio on Apple Music uses a new audio codec called Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC).
This new codec can carry a higher amount of data, thus resulting in higher audio quality. Even though it requires special equipment to listen, it’s a joy for all the audiophiles out there. ALAC can play lossless audio at CD quality (16 bit at 44.1 kHz) and goes up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.
Whereas Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos brings multi-dimensional immersive audio to Apple Music. Using this, artists can create and record audio with more clarity and from many directions. Apple says,
A ‘few’ thousands of songs will be available in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos at launch.
To know whether the music you’re about to stream is in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos or Apple’s Lossless quality, go to the song selection screen on the Apple Music app on your iPhone, and check the symbols below the Play and Shuffle button.
Do AirPods Pro and AirPods Max support the Lossless Audio?
Unfortunately, no. Even Apple’s hardware, including all the variants of AirPods — the $549 AirPods Max too — and even the HomePod do not support Apple Music Lossless. This is because they work over Bluetooth and are coded in AAC codec, which simply cannot carry the amount of data Lossless Audio requires.
And if you’re wondering whether AirPods Max supports Apple Music Lossless over the wired lightning connection, there’s a bit of bad news for you! AirPods Max don’t support Apple Music Lossless even when streaming through a wired connection.
Apple might issue an update later this year that improves the AAC Codec on AirPods and HomePods, or may change it to a whole new codec.
Technically, Bluetooth 5.0, which is included in these devices and newer iPhones, supports the required amount of bitrate that ALAC requires. But for now, you can’ stream Apple Music Lossless wirelessly on AirPods.
How to stream songs in HiFi audio on iPhone, iPad, and Mac?
Currently, there are only two ways of streaming the HiFi audio on these devices. The first option is that users have to stream music directly via your Apple device’s speaker. All Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, Mac, and even Apple TV, support Apple Music Lossless through the speakers.
The second option to enjoy the full lossless playback on your Apple device is to play music via the 3.5mm wired earphones (not the lightning port). But before I go ahead, ensure the following settings on your iPhone are correct.
- Update your iPhone to iOS 14.6. Apple Music Lossless and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos require iOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, tvOS 14.6, and watchOS 7.4 to run.
- If you’re on the latest iOS, on your iPhone, go to Settings → Music and make sure Dolby Atmos is set to Automatic and Audio Quality is set to Very High.
Accessories to stream Lossless Audio on your iPhone
Since the lossless quality isn’t available via the lightning port, you need to connect some dongles to your iPhone.
1. Apple Lightning Camera Connector:
This adapter enables the full power of your iPhone’s lightning port, making sure there is no loss in audio quality. Since Apple products are known for issues with the lightning port, I recommend using the official USB Camera adapter for iPhone.
2. XtremPro DAC
Secondly, you will need a quality DAC that unlocks the full potential of your iPhone. This DAC from XtremPro supports Apple Music Lossless’s highest 24-bit 192kHz playback.
3. Linsoul HiFi metal earphones
You will need a good pair of headphones that support Apple Music’s highest quality. ZS10 Pro from KZ is a good option for those looking for cheap and good quality headphones.
So, there you have it! This is all you need to know about the new Lossless quality coming to Apple Music. For non-audiophiles, you won’t notice a significant difference in audio quality, but for those who appreciate, Apple Music Lossless is one of the best audio formats available out there.
Have more questions about Spatial Audio for Dolby Atmos or Lossless audio on Apple Music? Let us know in the comments section below!