Apple Music Lossless tidbits: iOS 14.6, HomePod support, compatible headphones, more

Apple announced this morning that Apple Music will start supporting Dolby Atmos and Lossless audio-quality in June. Here’s everything we know so far about Apple Music Lossless.

When will Apple Music Lossless be available?

Apple Music Lossless is coming in June for all Apple Music subscribers at no extra cost. Apple says it requires iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, or tvOS 14.6 or later, which are currently in beta.

Is Apple Music Lossless going to support HomePod?

Yes, HomePod will be able to stream music in Dolby Atmos.

What headphones will be compatible with Apple Music Lossless and Spatial Audio?

Apple says Dolby Atmos is supported by iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV using any pair of headphones. This includes AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro, but there are a few differences.

For example, AirPods and AirPods Pro don’t offer Hi-Res Lossless but will work with Dolby Atmos by default as well as Lossless quality. We are awaiting further details about AirPods Max compatibility with higher-quality audio. The Hi-Res Lossless quality at 24 bit at 192 kHz will require an external DAC, according to Apple’s press release.

Apple explains:

All Apple Music subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV can listen to thousands of Dolby Atmos music tracks using any headphones.

When you listen with compatible Apple or Beats headphones, Dolby Atmos music plays back automatically when available for a song. For other headphones, go to Settings > Music > Audio and set Dolby Atmos to Always On. You can also hear Dolby Atmos music using the built‑in speakers on a compatible iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, or HomePod, or by connecting your Apple TV 4K to a compatible TV or audiovisual receiver.

This is a notable difference from Spatial Audio’s support for video, which requires AirPods Pro or AirPods Max exclusively.

How to activate Apple Music Lossless

Once the feature is available with iOS 14.6, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings, then Music
  • Click on Audio and set Dolby Atmos to Always On

To listen to between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless:

  • Go to Settings, then Music
  • Click on Audio Quality and choose between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless for cellular or Wi-Fi connections.

How many songs are available in this quality?

According to Apple, 20 million songs are available in lossless audio at launch with the full 75 million songs available by the end of the year.

What is Dolby Atmos and Lossless audio?

Dolby Atmos is an immersive audio format that enables musicians to mix music so it sounds like the instruments are all around you in space.

Lossless audio compression reduces the original file size of a song while preserving all of the data. Apple Music is making its entire catalog of more than 75 million songs available in lossless audio at different resolutions in Apple Music, “Lossless” refers to lossless audio up to 48kHz, and “Hi-Res Lossless” refers to lossless audio from 48kHz to 192kHz. Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless files are very large and use much more bandwidth and storage space than standard AAC files.

If you discover anything else about Apple Music Lossless, make sure to share it with us down in the comments section.

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