YouTube in 4K is finally coming to Safari on the Mac

Safari YouTube on Mac
Safari YouTube on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • macOS Big Sur 11 Beta 4 has added 4K HDR playback for YouTube on Safari.
  • Until now, users have had to use Chrome on macOS to watch YouTube in 4K.
  • The upgrade will be available to all Mac users who upgrade to Big Sur this fall.

Safari is finally going to be able to play YouTube in 4K on the Mac.

Announced by Apple in the macOS Big Sur 11 Beta 4 Release Notes (opens in new tab), Safari will now support 4K HDR playback for YouTube videos that were shot in the resolution.

Rene Ritchie, YouTuber and podcast host, also tweeted out the find earlier today:

See more

Until now, playback of YouTube videos in Safari on macOS has been limited to 1080p. This is a welcome update, as users have been able to stream YouTube in 4K through the Chrome browser on the Mac for a while now.

The feature is currently only available to those with the macOS Big Sur 11 Beta 4 installed. The macOS Big Sur Public Beta is still not out, so it is unclear if 4K HDR playback will be available in the first version of that release.

Regardless, it appears that all Mac users will finally be able to stream YouTube in 4K HDR when macOS Big Sur releases to the public this fall.

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.

  • Why should we have to wait till December 21 for this new function to be enabled? The petty feud between Apple and Google over the TV and 4k YouTube is ridiculous. I guess I will have to keep using my $35 FireTV for 4k YouTube instead of my $179 TV until then.
  • This is for Safari on the Mac. What you makes you think you are getting it on the Apple TV on Dec 21?
  • YouTube in 4K is coming with tvOS 14. They haven’t announced a release date yet, but tvOS 13 released in September last year, so you hopefully shouldn’t have to wait until December!
  • Maybe I should have said "potentially wait until December 21". iOS 14, tvOS 14, watchOS 7, Big Sur, and iPad OS 14 are scheduled to arrive in the "Fall", which is any time up until December 21, the first day of Winter. Based on past experience, all these updates will be publicly available on the same day since they contain functions that depend on each other and contain interactive features with each other. Nothing has been said, but I would not be a bit surprised if the arrival of 4k YouTube on TV would not require buying a new device. Silly things like that have been done many times before. I hope to be pleasantly surprised if tvOS 14 does indeed arrive in September, but I am also not holding my breath.
  • True, but iOS 14 will definitely arrive with the new iPhones which should be available by mid-October, and tvOS is normally out at the same time, so hopefully we should have it in October. Concerning needing a new device, you will if you have the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation Apple TV. tvOS 14 will be supported by the current Apple TV HD (4th gen) and the Apple TV 4K.