Apple Music to Provide Lossless and Spatial Audio Support

No extra charge for these features

Apple announced Monday that, starting in June, it’s providing lossless and spatial audio with support for Dolby Atmos to its Music subscribers at no extra charge. 

Dolby Atmos is intended to make it appear to listeners as if the sound comes from all around and from above. By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. 

Apple Music shown on a smartphone.

Apple


"Most audio that gets played back is 2D, which results in a very flat sound," Nik Rathod, a manager at Harman Embedded Audio, told Lifewire in an email interview. "Computing power today is strong enough to power 3D audio, which creates the same impression you achieve when you’re at a concert, for example, and you can feel the music not just playing back in front of you but all around you."

At launch, Apple Music subscribers can listen to "thousands of songs" in spatial audio, the company said. The company is also trying to boost the number of songs that are created in Dolby Atmos. Initiatives include increasing the number of Dolby-enabled studios, offering educational programs, and providing resources to independent artists. 

Currently, Apple Music, like most other music services, compresses audio files for faster downloads which some users complain can degrade the quality of the music.

Apple Music will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks and will be curating Dolby Atmos playlists. Albums that are available in Dolby Atmos will have a badge on the detail page for identification. 

Audio nerds will be happy to hear that Apple Music will also make its entire catalog available in lossless audio. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve the original audio file. Currently, Apple Music, like most other music services, compresses audio files for faster downloads, which some users complain can degrade the quality of the music. 

To start listening to lossless audio, you’ll need the latest version of Apple Music. Then, you can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality

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