After months of rumors, Apple Music confirms that it will begin streaming high-quality lossless audio and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos in June. The high-res audio and surround sound settings come at no additional cost, though subscribers need to manually enable lossless audio in their Apple Music Settings.
Apple plans to offer its full 75 million song catalog in lossless quality by the end of the year, starting with 20 million tracks in June. But you can enable lossless audio now if you’re running the latest version of the Apple Music app. Just open its Settings, go to Music, and select Audio Quality.
Lossless audio on Apple Music starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz. Those who listen on Apple devices or wireless headphones supporting the ALAC codec can crack their settings up to 24 bit at 48 kHz. If you own an external DAC, Apple says that you can use a special 24 bit at 192 kHz Hi-Resolution Lossless format. (These settings are basically identical to what’s offered on Tidal and Amazon Music HD.)
Along with lossless sound quality, Apple Music will offer thousands of songs with Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos. The immersive audio format will play by default on Apple and Beats headphones with the H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers on newer iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Dolby Atmos will also work on Apple TV 4K devices connected to a Dolby Atmos receiver or TV. Those without Apple headphones have to turn on Dolby Atmos manually through the Audio settings.
Apple Music’s Spatial Audio library will start small, though the platform is partnering with artists like Ariana Grande and Kacey Musgraves to ensure a decent selection at launch. Songs will display a badge if they’re available in Dolby Atmos, and Apple Music will offer Dolby Atmos playlists on its homepage next month.
Lossless streaming and Spatial Audio will be available for all Apple Music subscribers this June. At $9.99, it will offer high-quality audio for half the price of Tidal and the same price as Amazon Music (that’s right, Amazon Music stopped charging extra for its “HD” streaming tier). Spotify still doesn’t stream CD-quality audio, but probably will by the end of the year.