HomePod to Gain Support for Apple Music Lossless Audio Via a Future Software Update

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 22 May 2021

HomePod mini

Apple has released a new support page about lossless audio in Apple Music clearing all the confusion surrounding its playback on the HomePod and AirPods.

In the support document, Apple confirms that the HomePod and HomePod mini will be able to stream lossless audio from Apple Music after a future software update. Previously, Apple had only confirmed that the HomePod and HomePod mini would support Dolby Atmos playback.

The same support document also makes it clear that the AirPods, AirPods Pro, and other Bluetooth headsets won’t support streaming lossless audio from Apple Music as Bluetooth connections don’t support lossless audio.

The same also stands true for AirPods Max, though one can connect it to devices playing Lossless or Hi-Res Lossless using a Lightning to 3.5mm cable. However, Apple notes that due to the analog to digital conversion, the Lossless or Hi-Ress playback won’t actually be completely lossless on the AirPods Max.

In the document, Apple says that it uses its own lossless audio compression codec called ALAC in which audio is encoded in resolutions starting from 16-bit/44.1 kHz to 24-bit/192kHz. However, it notes that the difference in quality between AAC and lossless audio is “virtually indistinguishable.”

Announced last week, Apple Music is scheduled to gain support for lossless music and Dolby Atmos with Spatial Audio for free from next month.