Apple Music Lossless Streaming: Everything You Need to Know

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 19 May 2021

Apple Music Lossless

Starting next month, Apple will be offering lossless music streaming in Apple Music along with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio support. The lossless music streaming will be available for free to existing Apple Music subscribers, which is why a lot of users are excited about it. However, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding Apple Music’s lossless streaming and the devices it will support. Read below to clear all your doubts.

Apple is the first company to offer lossless music streaming for free. The company’s announcement had an immediate reaction, with Amazon also merging Amazon Music HD with Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for free.

Apple Music Lossless Streaming FAQ

What is Lossless Audio Streaming in Apple Music?

With lossless audio, Apple Music will stream audio in higher quality to your device. This means the audio streamed to your device will have more data, so it will sound better, and you will be able to hear even the minute strings of various musical instruments.

Apple Music usually streams music in 256kbps with AAC codec, but with Lossless Audio, it will stream music in CD quality — 16-bit at 44.1kHz, which can go all the way up to 24-bit at 48kHz. Instead of AAC, Apple will use ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) for streaming songs in lossless quality.

How Many Songs Are Available in Lossless Quality in Apple Music?

When Apple Music Lossless first launches, it will have around 20 million songs in lossless quality. This will expand to include Apple Music’s full 75 million tracks by the end of the year.

Will the Difference in Lossless Music Quality be Noticeable?

Yes and no. While streaming music in lossless audio will have better quality, you must have a decent pair of headphones or speakers to ascertain the difference.

Apple Music on iPhone

What Is Hi-Res Streaming in Apple Music then?

With Hi-Res streaming, Apple Music can stream songs at up to 24-bit at 192kHz to your device for even better audio quality. However, to enjoy Hi-Res streaming, you must have an external DAC to take full advantage of the stream.

What Is Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio Support?

Apart from lossless streaming, Apple Music is also gaining support for Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The latter is nothing but Apple’s own take on surround sound. Using Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio, your iPhone will stream music which offers a better surround sound experience.

How Much Does Apple Music Lossless Streaming Tier Cost?

Lossless and Hi-Res music streaming is completely free for Apple Music subscribers.

How Can You Listen to Lossless Music via Apple Music?

You will have to plug an external DAC into your iPhone to listen to music in lossless quality. Apple Music cannot stream lossless music over Bluetooth. This is a limitation of Bluetooth itself since it does not have the necessary bandwidth for streaming music with a high amount of data.

This also means that you won’t be able to listen to lossless music on your AirPods, AirPods Pro, or even the $549 AirPods Max.

What About Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio?

The AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and other Beats headphones with W1/H1 chip support streaming music in Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The built-in speakers of iPhone, iPad, and Mac will also support Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.

Update AirPods or AirPods Pro Firmware

Will Apple Music on Android Also Gain Lossless Streaming and Spatial Audio?

Apple Music on Android will offer lossless music streaming, but it won’t support Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio at launch. However, Android users will also have to rely on an external DAC to enjoy listening to lossless music via Apple Music.

Will Streaming Lossless Music in Apple Music Have an Impact on Data Usage?

Yes, it will. Lossless music files are notably larger than regular Apple Music files. They consume up to 3-4x time more space, so your data usage will go up notably when streaming lossless music.

Data usage will be even higher when streaming Hi-Res music on Apple Music. If you download your music for offline playback, storing them in lossless quality means they will occupy more space than regular music files.

What are your thoughts on streaming music in lossless quality on Apple Music? Are you ready to invest in an external DAC to enjoy superior sound quality? Drop a comment and let us know!