Apple Music Classical launches with lossless audio limitations

Apple Music Classical, a new branch of Apple Music specifically designed for classical music enthusiasts, was launched on Monday in a separate iPhone app. The service offers a unique experience for classical music lovers, featuring a new search engine with additional search criteria, album walkthroughs, and expert commentary between tracks to educate new listeners.

In addition, Apple Music Classical supports high-bitrate, lossless technology, and spatial audio, including Dolby Atmos, which offers a superior listening experience. However, there is one major drawback: Bluetooth headphones cannot reproduce the full range of sound that Apple Classical offers, as the current Bluetooth audio codecs used by Apple cannot deliver lossless sound over Bluetooth. This means that to enjoy the full range of sound available on Apple Classical, users must use wired headphones.

Apple Music Classical app

Why Apple’s Bluetooth headphones aren’t Ideal for Apple Music Classical

While Apple offers several options for high-bitrate streaming audio, ranging from 16-bit/44.1kHz up to 24-bit/192kHz, users who rely on Bluetooth headphones can only hear compressed, lossy AAC, which drops below CD quality when transmitted wirelessly.

Although AptX Adaptive, a new lossless over Bluetooth audio codec, has been released by Qualcomm, it is not yet supported on Apple’s mobile devices. Even for those using wired headphones, lossless music uses a lot more cellular data or Wi-Fi bandwidth than compressed audio, which is why AAC is used by default for Apple Music.


For those with exceptionally sharp hearing and expensive, top-quality “audiophile” speakers or headphones, the difference between high-bitrate AAC encoding and lossless audio can be discernible. However, most people, especially those over 30 years old, may not notice much difference.

To listen to lossless music on Apple Music Classical, users can use wired headphones, including Apple’s wired Earbuds, as all of Apple Music’s catalog is available in lossless. Users should note that Apple uses two different terms for lossless music: “Lossless,” meaning up to 24-bit/48kHz, and “Hi-Res Lossless” for up to 24-bit/192kHz.

Apple EarPods

Overall, while Apple Classical offers a unique listening experience for classical music enthusiasts, the inability to reproduce the full range of sound on Bluetooth headphones may be a limitation for some users. However, for those with sharp hearing and top-quality equipment, lossless music can be enjoyed with wired headphones.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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