Apple’s own AirPods don’t support its own Apple Music lossless audio quality

In a bit of news that might come as a disappointment, Apple has confirmed that its own AirPods and HomePods will not support lossless or hi-resolution lossless streaming. Even AirPods Max, which have a premium price of $549, will not support lossless streaming even if they are plugged in via a lightning cable.

Apple Music

Apple Music Lossless format will require an external DAC and hi-res headphones to work with iPhone

When Apple announced its Apple Music Spatial Audio and Lossless audio upgrades yesterday, the company was very upfront on which of its devices will support Spatial Audio. However, when it came to the compatibility details for lossless and hi-resolution lossless audio quality, the details were not really sufficient.

Micah Singleton of Billboard reached out to Apple and got a response that lossless music cannot be streamed over Bluetooth which means that AirPods cannot play them wirelessly, despite the W1 chip. Users can still open up settings and enable Lossless audio quality however, the results will not be as expected.

Unfortunately for AirPods Max users, Apple also confirmed that they will not support lossless streaming even if they are plugged in using a lightning cable. The most surprising thing is that AirPods Max will not support hi-res even if you plug them in using a 3.5mm to Lightning dongle which has a DAC that supports 24-bit/96kHz.

HomePods and Sonos speakers (at least not at launch) will also not support lossless audio quality, which means that to get the best listening experience out of Apple’s upcoming Music quality upgrade, you will have to rely on non-Apple hardware, which includes an iPhone-compatible DAC and hi-res compatible headphones or speakers. However, it has been reported that CarPlay will support lossless streaming to an extent, but not hi-res lossless as it supports 16bit 48KHz.

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