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

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As announced earlier this year, Apple has rolled out Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio support for Apple Music subscribers. The Cupertino giant kicks off with over 20 million lossless tracks, with the ambition to deliver a library of 75 million lossless tracks by the end of 2021. However, the best part has to be that you get lossless audio support at no additional cost. on your existing Apple Music subscription. So, if you want to enjoy high fidelity sound on your Apple device, here is how to play lossless audio in Apple Music on iPhone and iPad.

How to Stream Lossless Audio in Apple Music (2021)

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

What do you need to stream high-resolution lossless Apple Music audio?

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

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

Apple offers two types of lossless audio levels: standard CD quality and high-resolution lossless audio. While standard CD-quality lossless audio is 16-bit / 44.1kHz and peaks at 24-bit / 48kHz, the high-resolution lossless level goes up to 24-bit / 192kHz.

The iPhone comes with a built-in DAC that supports 24-bit / 48kHz and lets you use Lightning headphones. Additionally, the Mac’s 3.5mm headphone jack also supports 24-bit / 48kHz audio. It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s Lightning 3.5mm Headphone Adapter comes with its own DAC that supports 24-bit / 48kHz.

As a result, Apple’s popular 3.5mm Lightning Headphone Adapter can work with high-end wired headphones. Please be aware 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 find out the best audiophile headphones for Hi-Fi listening experience via the related article.

Note that you will also need additional hardware like a digital to analog converter (DAC). It should be able to handle 24-bit audio up to 192kHz to stream high-resolution lossless audio to Apple Music.

AirPods and HomePods do not support Apple lossless audio

Ironically, none of Apple’s earphones / earphones including AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max support lossless audio. The story is no different for HomePod and HomePod mini either. The limitations of Bluetooth, analog-to-digital conversion, and the Apple lossless audio codec have held back Apple headphones. Although HomePod uses AirPlay to connect to devices, they are unable to take advantage of Apple Music’s higher bit rate.

Unfortunately, there is no clarity as to when Apple will add ALAC support to its headphones. As Bluetooth 5.0 supports higher bit rates, the Cupertino giant shouldn’t be a big deal in making its popular headphones compatible with lossless audio.

Enable Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless Audio on iPhone and iPad

To get started with lossless Hi-Res audio streaming, you must first enable it on a compatible iPhone or iPad. To do this, follow the steps below:

1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Then scroll down and move to “Music” The settings.

enable Apple Music lossless audio 1

2. Here, select “Audio quality” and activate the “Lossless audio” toggle at the top.

enable lossless audio in Apple music on iphone

3. Then you will have the option to choose between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless for Wi-Fi and mobile data streaming. Now choose Hi-Res Lossless to listen to high quality music (ALAC up to 24bit / 192kHz).

apple music lossless audio settings 3

4. That’s it. Now head to the Apple Music app. You will see the “Lossless”, “Apple Digital Master” tags under many albums and tracks. Tap play and enjoy a lossless Hi-Res audio experience in Apple Music.

apple music lossless audio

Moreover, you can also go to the settings of your Apple TV and Mac to customize the lossless audio listening experience on the respective device.

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

As mentioned above, you will need a digital to analog converter (DAC) capable of listening to lossless audio in Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad. If you’re looking for one, take a look at these notable picks.

1. Mojo accord

If you are looking for an all-in-one digital-to-analog converter to stream lossless audio to Apple Music, Chord Mojo could be the perfect choice. This DAC features a light and compact design. So you can carry it comfortably even in a small pocket.

Mojo Accord

The Mojo deal is designed to work with iPhone, Android, PC and Mac so that you can stream music without facing incompatibility issues. The headphone amplifier supports many audio file formats and is renowned for providing clear sound. It comes with a built-in battery that can run for up to 8-10 hours on a single charge. Even though Chord Mojo is quite expensive at $ 700, it has all the features to live up to the hefty price tag.

Buy on Amazon: $ 699

2. AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt

AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt

Sporting a neat form factor, AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt is a capable digital-to-analog converter. The Dragonfly Cobalt includes an ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip and can play all music files from MP3 to High resolution audio (up to 24 bit / 96 kHz). Moreover, you can use it with iPhone and Android devices. As for the sound quality, it is up to par thanks to the slow-attenuating minimum phase filter which allows it to deliver crystal-clear sound.

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

Buy on Amazon: $ 299

3. XtremPro

High performance XtremPro X1-1 USB DAC

If you want to get a relatively cheap yet efficient USB DAC for streaming Hi-Fi audio (up to 24bit / 96kHz) to 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 compete with its expensive counterparts.

Buy on Amazon: $ 32.99

To note: Keep in mind that you will also need an efficient USB adapter that you can use with a digital to analog converter. If you want to get a reliable one, I recommend you check out Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter to Play Lossless Audio in 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 announced Hi-Fi streaming for its platform earlier this year, but has yet to roll out lossless audio support for all users. So if you are not an Apple Music fan, surely you can try other music streaming services for lossless audio experience.

However, keep in mind that Apple does not charge any additional fees for lossless or high resolution audio streaming, unlike some other music streaming services. Amazon Music followed in Apple’s footsteps soon after, making its lossless “HD” level available at no additional cost to existing subscribers.

Use Apple Music to Stream Lossless Audio to iPhone and iPad

It is more or less that ! This is how you can play lossless audio in Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad. While the arrival of lossless audio is doing well for Apple Music, the lack of support for AirPods and HomePods has somewhat dampened the excitement of many. Hopefully the Cupertino giant will launch audio products that support lossless audio streaming as soon as possible. Anyway, what do you think of lossless audio? Do you think this will give Apple Music a competitive edge over competitors like Spotify and YouTube Music? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


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