What Apple devices are compatible with Apple Music Lossless?

Apple Music Lyrics Airpods Max
Apple Music Lyrics Airpods Max (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan)

What Apple devices are compatible with Apple Music Lossless?

Best answer: Apple Music lossless audio is supported on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV on iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, or tvOS 14.6. However, you can't listen to lossless audio without a wired headphone. So, no Apple wireless headphones will work, including the AirPods Max, even if using them wired.

What is Apple Music Lossless?

Apple Music Lossless is a file format that compresses audio without losing data, making the song sound as it was originally recorded and intended to be heard. Apple's Lossless format is called ALAC, which stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec.

Apple recently announced that it is upgrading its entire catalog of 75+ million songs to ALAC format by the end of 2021. Upon launch in June, 20 million songs will be available in ALAC.

What devices do I need to listen to Apple Music Lossless?

Here is where it gets a little complicated. Apple Music's lossless audio is supported by all modern iPhones running iOS 14.6, iPads running iPadOS 14.6, Macs running macOS 11.4, and Apple TVs running tvOS 14.6. However, you can't listen to the ALAC format over Bluetooth, so there are no Apple headphones that will work. Not even the AirPods Max, even if you connect it with a wire. You need wired headphones to listen to ALAC format music.

Taking it a step further, for even better sound, Apple offers Hi-Resolution Lossless Audio for all songs that are converted to the ALAC format. To listen to Hi-Resolution Lossless Audio, not only will you need wired headphones, but you will also need an external digital to analog converter (DAC).

A recent report suggests that Apple is working on an update that will allow AirPods to stream over AirPlay rather than Bluetooth. This should allow AirPods users to hear ALAC tracks, but no timeline is provided.

Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio to the rescue

Since most of us do not have a DAC converter on our desk or even a pair of wired headphones, what is new with Apple Music for the rest of us? Apple announced that it will stream its entire catalog in Dolby Atmos, which will allow us to hear tracks in Spatial Audio. This will make the music sound like it's surrounding you.

Any headphones with either an H1 or W1 chip, such as AirPods or Beats, will automatically hear Dolby Atmos tracks with Spatial Audio with the latest version of Apple Music, as well as listening through the built-in speakers of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with the latest software updates. For users of any other headphones, you will be able to enable Dolby Atmos in your device settings.

Mark Goldschmitt

**Mark Goldschmitt** is the father of three boys and loves anything Apple. Born and raised in Queens, NY, and currently residing on Long Island, Mark is a lifelong New York Mets fan. {.end}