- Apple Music offers lossless audio, which is the highest quality music you can get from streaming apps.
- Lossless audio takes more space and internet bandwidth to download than standard music.
- You can get lossless audio in every version of the Apple Music app for no extra cost.
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Musicapps like Spotify and Apple Music are great for building massive collections of your favorite tracks from across the eras. But any audiophile will tell you that what you get in accessibility, you’re giving up in audio quality.
In order to reach your ears without taking up too much internet bandwidth, most streamed music is “lossy” — the audio is lower quality than you might get on a CD or record. It isn’t always easy to notice, but can make a big difference for some tracks.
That’s why some streaming apps give users the option to enable “lossless” music, which takes up more internet and data space but results in much clearer sound.
What is ‘lossless’ audio in Apple Music?
Lossless audio preserves as much detail of the original music as possible, meaning that you’re hearing the song much closer to how it’s “supposed” to sound. This also ramps up how much internet data the song needs to stream, and how much space it’ll take up on your device if you download it.
Apple Music lets all subscribers listen to lossless music for no extra charge. They also give you two kinds of lossless audio: You can listen to regular lossless music, or “Hi-Res Lossless,” which retains even more detail.
But there are some catches. Even if you enable lossless audio, the only way to hear it is with a wired connection —audio is naturally lossy. And if you want to listen to Hi-Res Lossless, you’ll likely need to hook a digital-to-analog converter up to your device.
Lossless audio is available in all the Apple Music apps. Here’s how to get lossless Apple Music on your iPhone, Android, or Mac.
How to get lossless audio in Apple Music on an iPhone
To change your Apple Music settings on an iPhone, you’ll use the built-in Settings app.
1. Open your iPhone’s Settings app and scroll down to tap Music.
2. Under Audio, tap Audio Quality.
3. Toggle on Lossless Audio.
4. You can tap one of the options below — Cellular Streaming, Wi-Fi Streaming, and Downloads — to choose whether you want lossless music all the time or only when you’re on Wi-Fi, and if you want your downloaded music to be lossless too.
You can also use these options to enable Hi-Res Lossless.
Any music you’ve already downloaded will stay in its original lossy quality until you delete and re-download it.
How to get lossless audio in Apple Music on an Android
1. Open the Apple Music app and tap the three stacked dots in the top-right corner of the screen.
2. Tap Settings.
3. Tap Audio Quality, and then toggle on Lossless Audio. You can also use the options that appear to choose whether you want to stream lossless audio on cellular data or Wi-Fi, and if you want your downloads to be lossless too.
Tapping one of the options will also give you access to Hi-Res Lossless quality.
How to get lossless audio in Apple Music on a Mac
1. Open your Mac’s Music app.
2. Click Music in the menu bar at the top of the screen, and then click Preferences.
3. In the window that appears, click Playback at the top, then check off Lossless audio below.
4. Use the Streaming and Download drop-downs to pick whether you want Lossless or High Resolution Lossless music.
5. Once you’ve got your settings how you want them, click OK at the bottom of the page.