The news is starting to trickle out, but we’re getting a better picture of what Apple’s new lossless streaming tier is going to look like as part of a new Apple One package which includes Apple’s iCloud storage, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Music.
If you dig into the details, it’s clear that hi-res streaming is going to be offered in some capacity and that Apple will not be making its entire library available immediately in lossless audio. Apple Music with lossless will be available in June.
It is also launching support for Spatial Audio music with songs authored in Dolby Atmos. Users will be able to listen to select albums with an immersive 3D sound-space on AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and Beats headphones with a H1 or W1 chip. Apple says thousands of Dolby Atmos songs will go live in June.
We have confirmed that you won’t need to use Apple’s own headphones in order to listen to tracks in Dolby Atmos.
In a post-announcement briefing, Apple’s Buddy Judge explained that the new Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos feature will work with any headphones – as long as you manually enable it.
Once the update goes live in June, you can go into “Settings” on your iPhone or iPad and then to Music, and a new Dolby Atmos option will be available.
AirPlay 2 doesn’t suddenly stop working with this announcement so we’re going to assume that Apple Lossless will work with anything. But will their own products support Hi-Res? Nope.
Apple also mention that you require an external DAC to experience hi-res audio and that does suggest that you can use any 3rd party DAC/Headphone amplifier to enjoy lossless and hi-res audio going forward.
However, neither the iPhone 12, AirPods Max, AirPods Pro or either one of the HomePods will natively support Apple Music’s ‘Hi-Res Lossless’ offering (which Apple defines as above 24-bit/48kHz, up to 24-bit/192kHz).
Works with AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro.Apple
Lossless audio compression reduces the original file size of a song while preserving all of the data perfectly. Apple Music is making its entire catalog of more than 75 million songs available in lossless audio at different resolutions.1 Apple
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.Apple
How Do I Listen to Lossless Audio?
You can listen to lossless audio using the latest Apple Music app on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV.7 Turn on lossless audio in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. You can choose between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless for cellular or Wi-Fi connections. Note that Hi-Res Lossless requires external equipment such as a USB digital to analog converter.
* New subscribers only. $9.99/month after free trial. Plan automatically renews until cancelled. Terms apply.
- 20 million songs in lossless audio at launch with the full 75 million songs available by the end of the year.
- Not all content is available in Dolby Atmos. Accessing Dolby Atmos features requires Dolby Atmos–capable devices. Playback quality will depend on hardware, audio accessories, and internet connection.
- Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country are available without an Apple Music subscription.
- College students only. Verification required.
- Requires Family Sharing. See apple.com/family-sharing for more information.
- The Apple One free trial includes only services that you are not currently using through a free trial or a subscription. Plan automatically renews after trial until cancelled. Restrictions and other terms apply.
- Available in iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, or tvOS 14.6 or later.
- Works with AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro.
- Works with iPhone 7 or later with the latest version of iOS; iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later), iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad (6th generation or later), iPad Air (3rd generation or later), and iPad mini (5th generation) with the latest version of iPadOS; and MacBook Pro (2018 model or later).
- Limited-time offer; offer may end at any time. Free Apple TV+ access for students ends when you no longer qualify or do not renew your Apple Music Student subscription. Offer good for verified college students only and does not extend to a Family Sharing group.
For more information: Apple Music HiFi Lossless Streaming