(Pocket-Lint) – Apple’s audio streaming service, Apple Music, offers lossless audio versions of millions of tracks across platforms – giving you improved quality and a better listening experience.
So, here we explain everything about Apple Music Lossless and High-Race Lossless.
You can also check out our Spatial Audio feature to learn more about other enhancements available to Apple Music members.
What is Apple Music Lossless Audio?
Apple Music Lossless Audio is a tag on the service’s music tracks in a higher-than-normal format. This means you can listen to music that is not compressed and therefore retains all the details and subtleties of the original recording.
When a track is compressed to a smaller file size, such as an MP3 or Apple’s own AAC, some audio data may be lost. A compressed file can be up to 90 percent smaller than a lossless file, but is usually rendered at a lower bitrate and frequency. Most streaming services default to this format to save streaming bandwidth or device storage space.
Lossless audio renders much higher bitrate and frequency, so takes up more space or bandwidth. However, this results in audio quality benefits. Compare the same track played from a CD on a standard streaming service and you’ll be able to pick out deviations with clarity – even hearing the sounds you missed before in the background.
Apple Music’s lossless audio therefore gives users the option to listen to higher bitrate music tracks with a few “harmless” options. It uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) file type and offers different types:
- Lossless audio (up to 24-bit at 48kHz)
- High-race lossless audio (up to 24-bit at 192kHz)
You’ll need expert audio equipment to play high-race lossless music.
Apple offers almost the complete catalog of its music – over 75 million tracks – at lossless audio.
How do you get lossless audio and how much does it cost?
Apple provides lossless audio at no additional cost as part of the Music subscription.
An Apple Music subscription costs 9.99 / $ 9.99 per month (শিক্ষার্থ 4.99 / $ 4.99 for students). A family plan is available for 14.99 / $ 14.95 per month.
Alternatively, you can get Apple Music as part of the Apple One bundle, which includes Apple TV +, Apple Arcade and iCloud storage at £ 14.95 / $ 14.95 per month (পারি 19.95 / $ 19.95 per month for Family Access). News + and Fitness + can be added, as well as an iCloud storage increase (up to 2TB) of £ 29.95 / $ 29.95 per month.
Both Apple Music and Apple One plan offer free trial time for beginners.
Lossless audio in Apple Music is available on at least iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, tvOS 14.6 or macOS 11.4 powered devices.
How to turn on Apple Music Lossless Audio
Lossless audio is not turned on by default. To save it by accidentally using your mobile data, for example, harmless tracks may be hungry for bandwidth.
Instead, you need to turn it on by heading Settings On your iPhone or iPad, scroll down MusicThen select Audio quality. There, you will be able to choose between different resolutions.
Follow the same steps to turn Lossless on your Apple TV 4K, although Apple TV does not support the Hi-Res Lossless option.
Here you can find more detailed steps on how to access Lossless Audio on your device: How to turn on Apple Music Lossless Audio and make it work.
Which device supports lossless audio?
Lossless audio tracks are currently only heard via wired headphones attached to an iPhone, iPad or Mac, they cannot currently be streamed to wireless headphones, including the AirPod. Even if you select Lossless Audio in Apple Music, when you listen via Bluetooth, you’ll hear a compressed version instead.
Apple’s AirPods Max does not support lossless audio, even when used.
However, a supports up to 24-bit 48kHz lossless via a Lightning from the 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, But you still need to connect a good pair of wired headphones It’s worth noting that this is not the highest quality that Apple is offering, but it will be a solution for some users.
Lossless supported on future HomePod and HomePod Mini with recent software updates.
If you want to listen to lossless audio via Apple TV 4K, you need to send the audio to an AV receiver via HDMI and the receiver must be able to decode the stream. It will then play through the receiver’s connected speaker, but this method only supports up to 48kHz.
AirPlay 2 also supports Apple Lossless up to 48kHz. Devices like the Naim Mu-so 2 can have some lossless audio, for example, to enjoy high quality music.
To listen to high-race lossless audio tracks, you’ll also need external equipment, such as a USB DAC (digital to analog converter) that sits between devices and headphones.
Devices like the Chord Mojo allow you to take Hi-Res Lossless Audio from Apple and connect your wired headphones, while Mojo does heavy lifting for decoding audio for your headphones. In this case you can connect it to your Mac via USB, or use a Lightning to USB adapter for an iPhone or iPad.
Is Apple Music the only service with harmless audio?
In the case of lossless and high-race music playback, Apple Music actually delays the party a bit.
Other streaming services, including Tidal, Caboose and Amazon Music, have for some time offered plans, including streaming and downloading Master Quality or HD music.
Rick Henderson writes.