Audiophiles no longer have to deal with lossy hearing
Apple Music has flipped the switch on its previously announced lossless-quality streaming and spatial audio features. Starting now, if you’ve installed the latest iOS, iPadOS, and macOS updates, you’ll be able to stream select tracks in both standard lossless/CD-quality audio and high-resolution lossless (if you have an external DAC for this) later).
Apple said both features would arrive “today” during the WWDC keynote, but it took several hours for the event to end before customers could appear in the app. If the rollout hasn’t reached you yet, you probably won’t. The update is server-side on Apple’s part.
Keep in mind that lossless audio files take up a lot of storage when downloaded and also burn through more data when streamed. You can do this View all technical details and FAQs here. Standard AAC streaming remains the default unless you switch your preference to Lossless in the Music app section of iOS Settings.
Apple has said that more than 20 million songs will be available in lossless quality at launch, with the entire Apple Music catalog of more than 75 million tracks lossless by the end of 2021. Lossless audio is exclusive to Apple Music and requires a subscription; It’s not available for purchase, nor can you upgrade purchased music or get it through iTunes Match.
Lossless audio is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV 4K. Support for HomePod and HomePod Mini will be added after a future software update.
For the first time today, you can also try spatial audio on Apple Music. Millions of Tracks now feature immersive, Dolby Atmos-powered mics that Apple claims deliver “true multidimensional sound and clarity.” There will be a much smaller selection of spatial audio tracks than lossless ones, however, with Apple promising “thousands” of spatial audio tracks to follow on day one.
The company has put together multiple playlists to showcase the spatial audio Atmos experience across different music genres. Other companies like Tidal and Amazon are also offering these “surround sound” audio formats.
Both features are now included as part of the standard Apple Music subscription. More and more music services are offering lossless audio, and those that already were there – like Amazon Music HD – are dropping the extra charges they previously charged to enjoy it.