Apple recently revealed that Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos support are coming to Apple Music ahead of the upcoming WWDC 2021 event. It will be accessible sometime in June of this year as part of the iOS 14.6 update. We have you covered with this comprehensive guide if your curiosity has led you to wonder what Apple Lossless Audio is. We will also go over what Dolby Atmos, spatial audio, and Apple Music Lossless are, as well as which devices support them.
Apple Music Lossless Audio Explained (2021)
To make its music streaming service, Apple Music, a top choice for music listeners, Apple has staked a lot on Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos. especially those who are constantly looking for the highest-quality tracks. But has the business covered all the necessary ground? More importantly, can you use Apple Lossless Audio with your fancy headphones or AirPods? The correct solutions can only be discovered by going deep. So let’s get started right away!
What is Apple Lossless Audio?
It would be wise to first comprehend what lossy audio is in order to get a good handle on lossless audio.
Sound engineers must compress audio before converting it to a digital file format to minimise the file size. Lossy Audio is a result of the compression process losing frequencies at the lowest and highest ends. This means that lossy audio does not provide a fully immersive studio-like experience. Lossy formats include MP3, MP4, WMA, and AAC, to name a few.
We refer to a digital copy of the original audio that is identical to the original frequency spectrum and bitrate as Lossless Audio. The common lossless audio file types include AIFF, FLAC, and WAV.
Apple Lossless Audio Codec is a compressed audio format but it does not sacrifice sound quality, which remains the same as the original recording.
Lossless Audio, to be exact, is a file format that compresses audio without degrading the recording’s original quality. By reducing silences to nearly no space, it makes use of compression algorithms to preserve the audio quality, including texture and detail. Its goal is to give the musical experience as intended by the artist, as the name suggests. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec is the name of Apple’s Lossless Audio format (ALAC).
What Devices Support Apple Lossless Audio?
Apple has said that the following devices are compatible with Apple Music’s lossless audio:
- iPhone (running iOS 14.6 or later)
- iPad (running iPadOS 14.6 or later)
- Mac Mini, iMac, and MacBook (running macOS 11.4 or later)
- Apple TV (running tvOS 14.6 or later)
Note:According to sources, when Apple Music for Android launches in June, it will also support Apple Lossless Audio. But keep in mind that Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio will not be supported by Apple Music on Android.
What Devices Don t Support Apple Lossless Audio?
Unfortunately, quite a few well-known gadgets aren’t Apple Lossless Audio compatible. As follows:
- HomePod mini
- AirPods Pro
- AirPods Max
Android phones with headphone ports appear to be the preferable way to listen to Apple Music’s lossless audio songs, which may come as a surprise to many owners of Apple devices. To experience lossless audio recordings on Android to their fullest, all you need is a DAC and compatible in-ear monitors or headphones.
Note:According to Apple, a future update for the HomePod will include support for lossless audio. Therefore, it’s possible that you won’t have to wait much longer to stream lossless music to your smart speaker.
Why Don t AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and HomePod Support Apple Lossless Audio?
AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max can’t stream in 48kHz Lossless or 192kHz Hi-Res lossless audio due to Bluetooth’s (AAC codec), analog-to-digital conversion, and the Apple Lossless Audio codec restrictions.
Even worse, if you connect your $549 AirPods Max to supported devices with a physical cord, you won’t be able to fully enjoy lossless music. If you didn’t know, a Lightning to 3.5mm dongle can be used to connect AirPods Max to a corded device. But why aren’t these headphones compatible with lossless audio?
Apple claims that AirPods Max can be connected to devices playing Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless recordings with outstanding audio quality on an official support website. The playback will not be entirely lossless due to the analogue to digital conversion in the connection. The music is first transformed to analogue and then returned to digital when you stream 24-bit/48kHz audio from Apple Music to the AirPods Max. As a result, audio streamed over wired AirPods Max is not completely lossless.
HomePod and HomePod small have the same plot. Despite using AirPlay rather than Bluetooth to connect to devices, Apple’s smart speakers are unable to take use of Apple Music’s higher bitrate audio format.
How Can AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max Support Lossless Audio?
The Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) standard, which has a 320 kbps maximum bit rate, is how AirPods are intended to broadcast music. Apple must develop its own proprietary codec, similar to Sony’s LDAC, which was created to play music at a higher bitrate via Bluetooth, in order to make AirPods support lossless audio.
Lossless Audio Quality: Difference Between Lossless Tier and Hi-Res Lossless Tier
Standard lossless for beginners and Hi-Res Lossless for true audiophiles are the two types of lossless tiers that Apple will offer. The Hi-Res Lossless tier gives you 24-bit at 192kHz, but the lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16-bit at 44.1kHz and goes up to 24-bit at 48kHz. This implies that on an Apple device, you will see these three options when you go to Settings -> Music -> Audio:
- CD Quality (16-bit/ 44.1kHz, standard lossless quality)
- Lossless (24-bit/ 48kHz, better than CD Quality)
- Hi-Res Lossless (24-bit/ 192kHz, requires dedicated hardware)
Keep in mind that in order for your device to enable Hi-Res Lossless audio playing, you will require a digital-to-analog converter, or DAC.
How Many Lossless Audio Songs Are Available on Apple Music?
About 20 million songs will support the codec when it launches. By the end of 2021, Apple Music will also feature lossless audio for more than 75 million songs.
How Much Does Apple Music Lossless Audio Cost?
The simple answer to this question is, of course, $0! Lossless Audio support is included with your current Apple Music membership at no additional cost, according to a clear statement from Apple. No matter if you have a family plan or an individual one, you will be able to enjoy Apple Music Lossless Audio at no additional cost.
Is Apple Lossless Audio for Everyone?
Obviously not, no. Lossless music is nothing new; it has been around for a very long time and is just now becoming more widely available thanks to streaming services like Tidal and Amazon Music HD. Additionally, it has long been supported by iTunes and the Apple Music app for macOS.
Whether you can tell the difference between compressed lossy audio files and uncompressed lossless audio files is the fundamental point of disagreement. At least those who listen to music purely for leisure or enjoyment won’t hear a significant change. Additionally, if you want to enjoy lossless audio as the musicians originally created it in the studio, you must also consider the calibre of the audio hardware. Cheap or low-cost devices cannot provide the same experience.
We don’t believe that everyone needs to use Apple Lossless Audio. To sample lossless audio, you could get some inexpensive in-ear monitors or studio headphones. You should buy more expensive hardware if you like what you hear and sense a difference. Of course, if you are an audiophile with a wide range of musical tastes, you would warmly embrace this feature.
When Will Apple Music Get Lossless Audio Support?
Sometime in June, Apple Music will feature lossless audio. The Cupertino behemoth withheld the precise launch date. Apple Music will receive free support for Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio in addition to Lossless Audio. Let’s examine how these two technologies can improve your listening experience even further.
What is Dolby Atmos Music?
The audio format Dolby Atmos is made to provide an immersive musical experience. The music becomes clearer and deeper as a result of the ability to utilise spatial audio. Apple Music’s Dolby Atmos compatibility will give you the impression that there are numerous speakers all around you when you listen to a live concert.
On the other hand, Dolby Atmos enables music creators to combine recordings to make it seem as though the music is playing all around you. A producer can isolate all the instruments on separate channels and move them around to create a 3D audio world rather than using two channels. Users of Apple Music will have a completely new experience thanks to it.
What Devices Support Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio in Apple Music?
You can listen to music that support Dolby Atmos on any pair of headphones because the Dolby Atmos implementation relies solely on sound and does not need head tracking. On your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, all you have to do is turn on the Dolby Atmos preset in Apple Music.
Keep in mind that, depending to availability, only Apple and Beats headphones with a W1 or H1 chip will allow you to instantly play tunes in Dolby Atmos. The following Apple and Beats headphones feature spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and have a W1 or H1 chip:
- AirPods Pro
- AirPods Max
- Beats Flex
- Powerbeats Pro
- Beats Solo Pro
- Beats Solo3 Wireless
- Beats Studio3
- Powerbeats3 Wireless
Even while Apple claims that any pair of headphones can handle Dolby Atmos, you shouldn’t anticipate the best performance from a cheap set of headphones. Simply told, the majority of inexpensive/budget headphones lack the advancements made to maximise the spatial audio that Dolby Atmos is renowned for.
The following devices’ built-in speakers can also be used to listen to tracks that are compatible with Dolby Atmos:
- iPhone 7 (or later)
- Pad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later)
- iPad Pro 11-inch all models
- iPad (6th generation or later)
- iPad Air (3rd generation or later)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- MacBook Pro (2018 model or later)
How to Enable Dolby Atmos in Apple Music?
What if your headphones aren’t W1/H1 chipped? Can you still hear tracks using Dolby Atmos? You can, indeed. On your smartphone, however, go to Settings -> Music -> Audio -> Dolby Atmos to enable the option.
How Many Tracks Support Dolby Atmos on Apple Music?
Although the Cupertino company has not yet disclosed the precise amount of music that will support Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, it has stated that thousands, if not millions, of Dolby Atmos tracks would be available when the feature launches in June. Additionally, Apple has stated that it will frequently bring brand-new Dolby Atmos songs to Apple Music.
How to Identify Dolby Atmos Tracks on Apple Music?
Apple Music will identify albums with a Dolby Atmos tag. You will find it simpler to determine whether a music you like supports Dolby Atmos if you do this. The Cupertino behemoth will also make special Dolby Atmos playlists so you can find music from various genres.
Do You Have to Pay for Dolby Atmos Tracks on Apple Music?
No, there are no additional fees associated with listening to Dolby Atmos tracks on Apple Music. In other words, you will have unfettered access to Dolby Atmos tracks regardless of whether you have a family or individual plan.
When Will Dolby Atmos Support Arrive on Apple Music?
Dolby Atmos is probably coming to Apple Music some time in June, though Apple hasn’t provided a particular date just yet.
Enjoy Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos on Apple Music
That’s all there is to know about the June release of Apple Music, which will support Dolby Atmos and Apple Lossless Audio. Hopefully, you now have all the information you need concerning this improvement to the audio quality. However, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section below. Furthermore, tell us if these features would enable Apple to overcome its arch-enemy Spotify, the most widely used music streaming service.