How to Play Lossless Audio on Apple Music on iPhone and iPad

As announced earlier this year, Apple rolled out Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio support to Apple Music subscribers. The Cupertino giant is kicking things off with over 20 million lossless tracks, with the ambition to have a library of 75 million lossless tracks by the end of 2021. However, the best part is that you get Lossless Audio support at no extra cost. over your existing Apple Music subscription. So, if you want to experience high quality audio on your Apple device, here is how to play lossless audio on Apple Music on iPhone and iPad.

How to Stream Lossless Audio on Apple Music (2021)

For starters, Lossless Audio is a file format that compresses the original song without loss of quality. With the help of advanced compression algorithms, ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) It preserves all features, including depth and texture, to ensure that the originality of the music remains intact. This means you will hear the music the way it was intended to be heard by the artist. Other than that, let’s dive in!

What Do You Need to Stream Apple Music High Definition Lossless Audio?

Before diving directly into the step-by-step process, it would be better to check the basic requirements.

First of all, make sure your device is compatible for lossless audio streaming. Apple Lossless Audio requires iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, and tvOS 14.6 and later. To enjoy a lossless audio experience, Android users must be running Apple Music version 3.6.0.

Apple offers two types of Lossless Audio layers – standard CD quality and High Definition lossless audio. Standard CD quality lossless audio peaks at 16-bit/44.1kHz and 24-bit/48 kHz, while the Hi-Res lossless layer goes up to 24-bit/192 kHz.

iPhone comes with a built-in DAC that supports 24-bit/48kHz and allows you to use Lightning headphones. In addition, the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Mac also supports 24-bit/48 kHz audio. It’s worth noting that Apple’s 3.5mm Lightning headphone adapter comes with its own DAC that supports 24-bit/48 kHz.

As a result, Apple’s popular 3.5mm Lightning headphone adapter can work with high-end wired headphones. Note that Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm audio cable for AirPods Max does not support Lossless streaming. Apple Lossless Audio streaming requires wired headphones or speakers. You can check out the best audiophile headphones for Hi-Fi listening experience via the linked article.

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Note that you will also need additional hardware, such as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). To stream Hi-Res Lossless Audio on Apple Music, it must be able to handle 24-bit audio up to 192 kHz.

AirPods and HomePod Don’t Support Apple Lossless Audio

Ironically, none of Apple’s earphones support Lossless Audio, including AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. The story is no different for the HomePod and HomePod mini. The limitations of Bluetooth, analog-to-digital conversion, and the Apple Lossless Audio Codec have outstripped Apple’s headphones. Although HomePod uses AirPlay to connect devices, they cannot take advantage of Apple Music’s higher bitrate.

Unfortunately, there is no clarity on when Apple will add ALAC support to its headphones. It shouldn’t be a big deal for the Cupertino giant to get their popular earphones compatible with lossless audio, as Bluetooth 5.0 supports higher bitrates.

Enable Apple Music High Definition Lossless Audio on iPhone and iPad

To start streaming High Definition lossless audio, you must first enable it on a compatible iPhone or iPad. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Then, scroll down and click “Music“settings.

apple music enable lossless audio 1

2. Select “Audio Quality” here and Enable “Lossless Audio” toggle on the hill.

enable lossless sound in apple music on iphone

Next up, you will have the option to choose between Lossless and High Definition Lossless for Wi-Fi and Mobile Data streaming. Now choose Hi-Res Lossless (ALAC up to 24 bit/192 kHz) to enjoy high quality music.

apple music lossless sound settings 3

4. That’s it. Now go to the Apple Music app. You will see “Lossless”, “Apple Digital Master” tags under many albums and tracks. Tap Play and enjoy High Definition lossless audio experience on Apple Music.

apple music lossless audio

You can also go to Settings on your Apple TV and Mac to customize the lossless audio listening experience on that device.

Best Digital-to-Analog Converters (DACs) for Apple Music Lossless Audio

As mentioned above, you will need a capable digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to listen to lossless audio on Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad. If you’re looking for one, check out these notable picks.

1. Chord Mojo

If you’re looking for an all-in-one digital-to-analog converter for lossless audio streaming on Apple Music, the Chord Mojo might be the perfect choice. This DAC has a lightweight and compact design. So you can carry it easily even in a small pocket.

Chord Mojo

Chord Mojo Designed to work with iPhone, Android, PC and Mac So you can stream music without having to deal with incompatibility issues. The headphone amplifier supports a large number of audio file formats and is known for providing clear sound. It comes with a built-in battery that can run for up to 8-10 hours on a single charge. Although the Chord Mojo is quite expensive at $700, it has all the features to live up to its hefty price tag.

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Buy from Amazon: $699

2. AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt

AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt

In a neat form factor, the AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt is a capable digital-to-analog converter. Dragonfly Cobalt contains an ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip and can play all music files from MP3. Hi-Res audio (up to 24-bit / 96 kHz). Also, you can use it with both iPhone and Android devices. Coming to the sound quality, it is top notch thanks to the minimum phase slow roll-off filter that ensures it delivers crystal clear sound.

Overall, Dragonfly Cobalt is one of the best digital-to-analog converters you can buy to stream Lossless Audio on Apple Music on your iPhone.

Buy from Amazon: $299

3. XtremPro

XtremPro X1-1 High Performance USB DAC

If you’re looking to get a relatively inexpensive but efficient USB DAC for Hi-Fi audio streaming (up to 24-bit/ 96 kHz) on your iPhone, XtremPro seems like a great choice. Besides being affordable compared to most digital-to-analog converters, it supports all types of music files. Even in terms of sound quality, it can give tough competition to its expensive counterparts.

Buy from Amazon: $32.99

Note: Note that you will also need an efficient USB adapter that you can use with the digital-to-analog converter. If you’re looking to get a reliable one, I recommend you look into the Apple Lightning to USB camera adapter to play lossless audio on Apple Music.

Apple Lightning to USB adapter ($29)

Buy an Apple Lightning to USB camera adapter: $24

Is Apple Music The Only Service That Supports Lossless Audio?

No. There are a few other streaming services that support lossless audio, including Amazon Music HD, Tidal, and Qoboz. Spotify also introduced Hi-Fi streaming for its platform earlier this year, but has yet to offer lossless audio support for all users. So, if you are not a fan of Apple Music, you can definitely try other music streaming services for a lossless audio experience.

However, keep in mind that Apple does not charge any additional fees for lossless or High Definition audio streaming unlike some other music streaming services. Amazon Music soon followed in Apple’s footsteps, offering the “HD” lossless tier for free to existing subscribers.

Use Apple Music to Stream Lossless Audio on iPhone and iPad

That is all! So you can play lossless audio on Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad. While the arrival of lossless audio has been good for Apple Music, the lack of AirPods and HomePod support has dampened the excitement a bit for many. Hopefully the Cupertino giant will release audio products that support lossless audio streaming soon. Anyway, what do you think about lossless audio? Do you think it will give Apple Music a competitive advantage over competitors like Spotify and YouTube Music? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Moyens Staff
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