Rejoice, audiophiles: Apple Music lossless audio is coming to HomePod, HomePod mini

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Apple Music lossless audio coming to HomePod, HomePod mini
HomePod and HomePod mini will be able to take advantage of a significant improvement coming to Apple Music.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple smart speakers will be able to play Apple Music’s lossless audio after an upcoming software update. Both HomePod and HomePod mini will get support for the high-quality audio format, according to Apple.

This is good news for HomePod owners who may have been feeling disgruntled about being left out of a signature new Apple Music feature.

Lossless audio for HomePod

Apple on Saturday published on its support website a guide to listening to lossless audio. The page points out that Apple’s smart speakers use the lossy AAC format, and so currently cannot play lossless audio. But that’s about to change.

“HomePod and HomePod mini currently use AAC to ensure excellent audio quality,” said Apple. “Support for lossless is coming in a future software update.” The company didn’t say when it will release the update.

The support page makes no mention of a rumored software update for AirPods that would allow Apple headphones to play lossless audio.

Apple Music goes lossless

Apple revealed on Monday that its music streaming service will give subscribers the option to listen in lossless formats. That’s 16 bit/44.1 kHz up to 24 bit/48 kHz. The top-of-the-line Hi-Resolution Lossless service will be 24 bit/192 kHz. It, too, will be a free option for Apple Music subscribers.

iPhones can play lossless audio but not over a Bluetooth connection. As Apple noted in Saturday’s support document, users need the Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter ($9). “It contains a digital-to-analog converter that supports up to 24-bit/48 kHz lossless audio,” according to the iPhone-maker.

Apple Music costs $9.99 a month or $14.99 a month for a family plan. Students can get the streaming service for $4.99 a month. Apple Music is also a key component of all Apple One bundles, which lump together various services to save subscribers money. The lossless option for Apple Music debuts in June, even if it’s not available for HomePod yet.