Last month, Apple announced that it would soon be adding lossless audio streaming and spatial audio with support for Dolby Atmos to its Apple Music subscription at no extra charge. That upgrade has now gone live, Apple announced this morning – although many noted that the additions actually rolled out after the WWDC keynote yesterday.
The entire Apple Music catalog of over 75 million songs supports lossless audio.
The lossless level starts at CD quality – 16 bits at 44.1 kHz and goes up to 24 bits at 48 kHz, Apple previously said. Audiophiles can also opt for the high resolution lossless system that goes up to 24 bits at 192 kHz. Apple has said you need to use an external USB digital to analog converter to take advantage of the latter – simply plugging headphones into an iPhone won’t work.
Apple Music subscribers can enable the new lossless option under Settings> Music> Audio Quality. Here you can choose the different resolutions you want to use for different connections, including Wi-Fi, cellular, and download.
When you make your selection in Settings, iOS warns that lossless files will take up “significantly more space” on your device, as 10GB of space would allow you to store approximately 3,000 high quality songs, 1,000 lossless songs, or 200 songs with save high quality -res lossless.
Meanwhile, Spatial Audio is enabled by default on hardware that supports Dolby Atmos, like Apple’s AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip. The latest iPhone, iPad, and Mac models also support Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio on Apple Music will “soon” be available for Android devices, Apple said.
To kick off the market launch, Apple Music is introducing new playlists to present Spatial Audio today. These include:
Apple also adds a dedicated guide to Spatial Audio on Apple Music to help music listeners hear the difference. These include tracks from artists such as Marvin Gaye and The Weeknd. And Apple will be broadcasting a Spatial Audio roundtable with top sound engineers and experts today at 9:00 a.m. PT hosted by Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
Since songs have to be remastered specifically for Dolby Atmos, these guides and playlists help music fans experience the new format without a long search. Apple says it is working with artists and labels to add more new releases and the best catalog titles in Spatial Audio. To help on this front, Apple notes that several initiatives are underway – including doubling the number of Dolby-enabled studios in key markets, offering educational programs, and providing resources to independent artists.
Apple also said it will integrate music authoring tools right into Logic Pro. Later this year, the company plans to release an update to Logic Pro that will allow any musician to create and mix their songs in Spatial Audio for Apple Music.