According to the company, Apple Music will soon support Lossless songs and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. However, there has been some uncertainty about which devices are needed to use any of these functions. 9to5Mac has reached out to Apple for more details on the latest Apple Music features’ compatibility.
While Lossless can be enabled in the Settings app for any pair of headphones, an Apple spokesperson told us that “Lossless does not function over Bluetooth.” Users would need a decent wired headphones to listen to the Lossless tracks. To put it another way, none of the AirPods are compatible with Lossless.
What about the AirPods Max, though? We asked Apple about it because users can use it wired by plugging in a Lightning cable with a 3.5mm connector. Unfortunately, “AirPods Max currently does not support digital audio formats in wired mode,” according to Apple. The only Apple Music functionality that AirPods owners would be able to use is Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.
First and foremost, let’s go over how Lossless and Bluetooth headphones work. A typical song is encoded in AAC at a bitrate of 256kbps, which isn’t considered “studio quality” but should suffice for most users using standard headphones. Users will listen to ALAC-encoded songs with bitrates beginning at 16 bits/44.1 kHz, also known as “CD quality,” with Apple Music Lossless.
An audio file from a CD has a bitrate of about 1,411 kbps, which is much higher than an Apple Music AAC file. When it comes to Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless, this number rises even more, as it necessitates even more advanced equipment, such as an external DAC. The higher the bitrate, the more clarity there is in the music since the recording has been compressed less.