Apple Music has switched the switch to its previously announced streaming and surround audio features without losing quality. From now on, if you have the latest updates on iOS, iPadOS and macOS installed, you will be able to stream selected tracks in both standard lossless audio / CD quality and high-resolution lossless (if you have an external DAC for the latter).
Apple said both features will arrive “today” during the main WWDC report, but it takes many hours after the event closes before customers can see them in the app. You may still not do this if the distribution has not yet reached you. The update is from the server side of Apple.
Keep in mind that lossless audio files take up significantly more storage space when downloading and also burn more data when streaming. You can see all the technical details and frequently asked questions here. Standard AAC streaming remains the default, unless you switch your preferences to lossless in the Music app tab in iOS settings.
Apple said more than 20 million lossless songs will be available at launch, with the entire Apple Music catalog of over 75 million songs being lossless by the end of 2021. Lossless audio is exclusive to Apple Music and requires a subscription; it is not available for purchase, nor can you upgrade purchased music or receive it via iTunes Match.
Lossless audio is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV 4K. Support for HomePod and HomePod Mini will be added after a future software update.
Today, for the first time, you can also try surround sound in Apple Music. Millions of songs now offer compelling mixes powered by Dolby Atmos, which Apple claims deliver “true multidimensional sound and clarity.” However, there will be much less choice of surround audio than lossless ones, with Apple promising “thousands” of surround audio on the first day with more to follow.
The company has put together several playlists to showcase Atmos’ spatial audio experience in a variety of music genres. Other companies, such as Tidal and Amazon, also offer these surround sound audio formats.
Both features are now included as part of the standard Apple Music subscription. More and more music services are offering lossless audio, and those that were already there – like Amazon Music HD – are reducing the additional fees they previously charged to enjoy.