Streaming Netflix in 4K will require a Mac with a T2 security chip

Netflix on the Mac
Netflix on the Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Streaming Netflix in 4K will require a Mac with the T2 Security chip.
  • That will limit the feature to Macs from 2018 or later.
  • It will also require Macs run macOS Big Sur.

Back in June, it was reported that macOS Big Sur would enable users to begin streaming Netflix in 4K HDR on Safari on the Mac. However, a new report reveals that only certain macOS Big Sur compatible Macs will be able to support the feature.

Reported by Apple Terminal, playing Netflix in 4K will require more than just a Mac that supports macOS Big Sur when it releases to the public. According to a support page on Netflix's website, those looking to to stream in 4K will also need a Mac that contains a T2 Security chip.

The support page notes that only Macs released in 2018 or later contain a T2 Security chip, so this will dramatically limit the number of Macs able to support Netflix in 4K. Users will also need to be paying for a Netflix plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD (4K).

  • A Mac computer with macOS 11.0 Big Sur installed.
  • The latest version of Safari browser
  • Select 2018 or later Mac computer with an Apple T2 Security chip
  • A 60Hz 4K capable display (with HDCP 2.2 connection if external display).
  • A plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD. You can check which plan you're currently on at
  • A steady internet connection speed of 25 megabits per second or higher.
  • Streaming quality set to Auto or High. More information about video quality settings can be found in our Playback Settings article.

Trying to switch and use a different browser on the Mac won't work for older Macs either. The support page notes that, outside of Safari, the highest resolution you can get on the Mac is 720p.

  • Google Chrome up to 720p
  • Mozilla Firefox up to 720p
  • Opera up to 720p
  • Safari up to 1080p on macOS 10.10 to 10.15
  • Safari up to 4K on macOS 11.0 or later

There is a little hope though. While older Macs won't support 4K streaming, any HDR- capable Mac with macOS Catalina installed will be able to support High Dynamic Range.

  • macOS Catalina 10.15.4 or later
  • A compatible Mac model with an HDR-capable display
  • If using a cable or adapter, it must support HDR
  • The High Dynamic Range checkbox is selected in System Preferences > Display

It is still unclear when Apple will release macOS Big Sur to the public. The latest public beta of macOS Big Sur, however, did roll out to users today.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.