AirPods Pro and AirPods Max do not support Apple Music Lossless

Apple today announced that Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio, but, currently, not if they’re using AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max headphones. (Note: Apple Music will have 20 million songs in lossless audio at launch with the full 75 million songs available by the end of the year.)

AirPods Pro and AirPods Max  do not support Apple Music Lossless; HomePod does
AirPods Max bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design with high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, spatial audio, and more.

Matthew Bolton for T3:

In Apple’s new terminology, ‘Lossless’ is CD quality, from 16-bit 44.1kHz playback up to 24-bit 48kHz, while ‘Hi-Res Lossless’ delivers up to 24-bit 192kHz.

Both of Apple’s elite headphone models only use the Bluetooth AAC codec when connected to an iPhone, which means they can’t receive the full quality of the Apple Music ‘Lossless’ files, which will be encoded as ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) files.

What both of these devices will be able to receive is the new Dolby Atmos ‘Spatial Audio’ versions of songs, which will add more of a surrounding 3D effect in tracks.

MacDailyNews Note: You can listen to Apple Music Lossless using the latest Apple Music app on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. With iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, or tvOS 14.6 or later – coming soon – turn on lossless audio in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. You can choose between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless for cellular or Wi-Fi connections. Note that Hi-Res Lossless requires external equipment such as a USB digital to analog converter.

All Apple Music subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV can listen to thousands of Dolby Atmos music tracks using any headphones. When you listen with compatible Apple or Beats headphones  — AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro — Dolby Atmos music plays back automatically when available for a song. For other headphones, go to Settings > Music > Audio and set Dolby Atmos to Always On. You can also hear Dolby Atmos music using the built‑in speakers on a compatible iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, or HomePod, or by connecting your Apple TV 4K to a compatible TV or audiovisual receiver.


    1. Yea Apple Music is the plague. It’s for losers/millennials. It could have been good for music discover if it weren’t so dead set on destroying my actual music collection. Apple’s crap music service needs to be in a separate app that never has access to my music, and apple can bring back the old unbloated iTunes for my actual music collection. In the mean time, it would be great if they offered lossless upgrades to music we bought from iTunes.

      1. I have the same problem with music that I own. Most of it I ripped from my CDs in lossless quality. Sometimes I create my own albums out of individually purchased titles from iTunes. The whole library is on my Mac and I cannot activate Apple Music on my Mac because if I do, it will overwrite my self-created albums and some of the original artwork. I may even replace special versions with a generic Apple Music version. I also cannot download Apple Music songs on my iPhone for the same reason. It will compromise my Music Library on my Mac. I can stream Apple Music which is fine most of the time but I cannot create my Apple Music Library and Playlists because all of this.

        1. Try Roon….I have Roon on a dedicated MAC Mini 2012. It plays whatever resolution the downloaded file was rendered in. I use iTunes to rip to my MAC Mini then use Roon for all my playback. On iPhone I do use my Apple AirPod Max when taking my dog on his daily walkI listen to what I have synced with my MAC Mini and my iPhone.

    1. Given a lossless file, your phone would have to perform on-the-fly compression to transmit to your AirPods. So best case is it will sound the same. Worst case the files won’t play. (Unlikely, but Apple does occasionally get this dumb.)

  1. I’m guessing that the issue here is battery life. The higher bandwidth versions of bluetooth consume more power, and so devices that don’t plug in will need larger batteries then an airpod could support. (Although this doesn’t explain the max’s lack of support.)

    I’ve never liked wireless headphones. Getting them to pair is harder then plugging in a cord, and they stutter and don’t last long. And what happens in Airplane mode? (It’s useful for more than just planes.)

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