Apple Music Lyrics Airpods MaxSource: Christine Romero-Chan

What you need to know

  • Apple has published a new support document to explain what will get support for Apple Music's new lossless audio.
  • The document confirms what we'd suspected – AirPods Max are out of luck, even with the Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable.

Apple has published a new support document that answers all the questions we had about what devices and accessories support Apple Music's new lossless format. And as suspected, AirPods Max owners are out of luck.

The document, which for some reason was made available days after lossless audio was announced, explains everything we'd wanted to know including which combination of headlines and cables will get lossless support.

As suspected, no Bluetooth earbuds or headphones will support lossless audio thanks to the lossy nature of the connection being used.

AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Beats wireless headphones use Apple's AAC Bluetooth Codec to ensure excellent audio quality. Bluetooth connections don't support lossless audio.

Apple goes on to explain that users listening via traditional headphones and a Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphones Jack Adapter will also get the lossless experience, too.

The Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter is designed to transmit audio from the iPhone's Lightning connector. It contains a digital-to-analog converter that supports up to 24-bit/48 kHz lossless audio.

But the news isn't so good for AirPods Max owners because, again as suspected, that Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable isn't up to the job. Sort of, at least. That's because Apple does make it sound like we'll get some benefit from the lossless files – but it won't be true lossless because of the audio conversion going on.

The Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable was designed to allow AirPods Max to connect to analog sources for listening to movies and music. AirPods Max can be connected to devices playing Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless recordings with exceptional audio quality. However, given the analog to digital conversion in the cable, the playback will not be completely lossless.

Apple also confirmed that the only way to listen to lossless music is via Apple Music. Tracks bought via iTunes, broadcast via radio, and part of a video won't support the new format.

Still keen to bag a pair of AirPods Max? be sure to check out our AirPods Max deals before you do!

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