Lossless Playback Now Available in Apple Music

In June 2021, Apple offered lossless audio for iPhone and iPad running iOS and iPadOS 14.6 or higher, and the Mac for all subscriptions at no extra cost

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
August 4,2021

In June 2021, Apple offered lossless audio for iPhone and iPad running iOS and iPadOS 14.6 or higher, and the Mac for all subscriptions at no extra cost. Let’s explore this feature.

This is for iPhone and iPad running iOS and iPadOS 14.6 or higher, and Mac

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You can stream most music in lossless format except for broadcast radio, live and on-demand content, and music videos.

What is Lossless Playback

Music is compressed to save on space, particularly when it comes to streaming. The bitrate of a particular file or stream determines the quality of the music, with more bits generally meaning better quality. When you choose a higher bitrate, you will also consume more bandwidth (streaming) or space on your device (downloading).

Until recently, Apple Music could only be streamed using “lossy” AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) compression. While Apple claims that “the difference between AAC and lossless audio is virtually indistinguishable,” the company now offers lossless compression that uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) instead.

ALAC is an open-source format that uses around 50% of the space of uncompressed audio. Support ranges from 16-bit/44.1 kHz CD quality to more modern 24-bit/192kHz recordings. Enabling lossless audio playback for Apple Music is easy and comes at no extra financial cost, but there’s more to lossless than simply flipping a switch.

Check Your OS

First, go to;

Settings > General > Software Update

There you will see your version number. If not 14.6 or higher, tap the blue link to download and install. After installation, go back to your Home Screen.

Enable Lossless Playback on iPhone and iPad

First, you must be a subscriber to Apple Music to enable Lossless audio. After subscribing (3 months free trial), then launch Settings and tap on Music. Next, tap on Audio Quality. Refer to below image:

Lossless 1
Selecting Audio Quality option

Now, under Audio Quality, toggle Lossless Audio to ON. See below image:

Lossless 2
Enabling Lossless Audio

Next, tap Wi-Fi Streaming. See following image:

Lossless 3
Accessing Wi-Fi Streaming

:Now, choose between a Lossless 48kHz sample rate or a High-Resolution Lossless 192kHz sample rate. Refer to below image

Lossless 4
Selecting High-Resolution Lossless option

If you choose High-Resolution Lossless and do not have a converter, you will receive a message. See below image:

Lossless 5
Message about using a DAC converter

Next, make a choice and exit Settings.

Enable Lossless Playback on a Mac

First, open your Apple Music app, and then click on

Music > Preferences

in the menu bar. Now, on the Playback tab, select Audio Quality. Next, toggle Lossless to ON. Next, choose between 48kHz and 192kHz sample rates. If you do not see the option, you may need to update your macOS.

Using AirPods

Wireless headphones and earphones use compression to stream music from your iPhone to your ears. This includes Apple’s AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and the Beats range of earphones and headphones. Since audio must be compressed for use with wireless Bluetooth audio, lossless audio offers no benefits.

To enjoy lossless audio, you will need to use a wired pair of headphones or speakers or the built-in speakers on your iPhone.

But wait, there is a catch. The iPhone cannot output the higher sample rate of 192kHz (Hi-Res Lossless) without an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The DAC in the iPhone is limited to 48kHz output.

Listening Difference

If you are frustrated that your expensive AirPods Max will not support lossless audio, consider for a minute that most people can not tell the difference. The best that you can do is to make sure that high-quality streaming is enabled under

Settings > Music

on your iPhone or iPad so that you are getting the best possible quality that’s available to you.

Quote For the Day

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

Carl Sagan

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How to Set Your Music App Using Siri on iPhone and iPad

In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or higher you can train Siri to learn your go-to music app. Siri will ask you which audio app you would like to use and remembers your choice.

In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or higher you can train Siri to learn your go-to music app. Siri will ask you which audio app you would like to use and remembers your choice.

This if for the iPhone and iPad running iOS or iPadOS 14 or higher

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First, update your iOS/iPadOS to 14 or higher. Next, launch Siri. On newer Apple devices, you can do this by saying “Hey Siri” (if you have it turned on) or long-press the Side/Top/Power button on your iPhone or iPad with Face ID. Refer to below image:

Music 1
Accessing the Power button

On older iPhones or iPads with a Touch ID sensor, long-press the Home button.

Now, Siri will start listening for a voice command when you see its icon appear on-screen. Ask your phone or tablet to play a song, artist, podcast, or audiobook. For example, you can say “Play Carole King,” or “Play Horse With No Name,” or “Listen to the Vergecast.” See below image:

Music 2
Siri enabled and listening

Next, your device will ask you which music or audio app you would like to listen to the song, artist, podcast, or audiobook on. Tap the app that you would like to use. See following image:

Music 3
Select an audio app

Occasionally, Siri might ask for your permission to access an app’s data before it can control playback. Just grant the voice assistant permission by tapping the Yes button from the pop-up screen. Refer to below image:

Music 4
Giving permission to access app

Now, Siri’s on-screen overlay will transform into an audio widget. You can control playback, volume, and more from this window. Tapping outside of the widget will make it disappear, but your music, audio, or podcast will continue playing in the background. See below image for the jazz song “Touching Peace.”

Music 5
Siri audio widget

For the full playback screen from Apple Music, see following image:

Music 6
Siri audio widget in full screen

From now on, if you ask Siri to play a song or audio program, your device will default to whichever app you selected. It will no longer automatically open the Apple Music app.

As mentioned, setting the default music app is not a setting “baked” into your device. On occasion, Siri might prompt you to reselect which audio app you would like to use to help train the Voice Assistant.

Also, you are not locked into only using the app you just chose. Instead, you can be specific in your command to Siri to open a song, artist, podcast, or audiobook in a particular app that you have installed on your device. For example, you can say, “Listen to 1984 by George Orwell in Audible.”

Quote For the Day

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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How to Identify Music on iPhone or iPad

Apple released a software update for iPhones and iPads in their operating system that includes a built-in music recognition icon that can help you quickly identify a song that is playing.

Apple released a software update for iPhones and iPads in their operating system that includes a built-in music recognition app that can help you quickly identify a song that is playing.

It is one way Apple is using Shazam, which it acquired in 2018. Since it is built-in, you don’t need to have the Shazam app installed for this to work. All you do is add a button to the Control Center menu and then, when you hear a song you like and want to know who the artist is, you just tap the button.

This is for iPhone and iPad

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Setting Up Music Recognition

We need to check your software updates, enable Siri, and download/install the Shamaz app.

First, let’s check your software updates. Head to

Settings > General > Software Update

for the iOS or iPadOS 14.2 update (or higher) and update if necessary.

Next, head to the Apple Store to download/install the Shazam app.

Here.is how the feature works. When you tell your iPhone to listen for a song, it uses its microphone to record the audio around you. That audio data is uploaded to a server and analyzed, matching it to a known song in a database.

Listen by Siri

Let’s examine another built-in feature that does not require the lastest software update; Siri. To enable Siri, go to

Settings > Siri & Search

and toggle on Listen for Hey Siri. You may also want to enable Press Side Button for Siri. Refer to below image:

Music 1
Enabling Siri

You can ask Siri what song is playing by saying something like “What’s that song?” or “What’s playing?”.

To activate Siri, long-press the Power button. Say “What’s that song?”. If you have Hey Siri set up, you can also say “Hey Siri, what’s that song?” without pressing any buttons.

Siri will pop up and say something like “Let me listen” or “Naming that tune.” Be sure your iPhone can hear the music properly. If you are in a noisy location or someone is talking loudly over the music, it might not hear the song well enough. If you have a problem, try moving your iPhone closer to the sound source playing the music, reducing noise in the area, or turning the volume up on the speaker playing the song. See below image where Siri is listening for a song:

Music A
Listening by Siri

If your device hears the song well enough, it will show you the song. If not, you will receive a message like “I can’t seem to recognize this song”.

Listen by Shazam in Control Center

As of the iOS and iPadOS 14.2 update, there is now a quick Control Center button you can use to start identifying a song. However, it is not enabled by default. Why; I do not know. Why does Apple want to hide this feature? But that is the reason for this post; to show you how to setup and use the Shazam built-in app.

First, head to Settings (the gear icon). See following image:

Music 2
Accessing Settings

Next, scroll down to Control Center. Refer to below image:

Music 3
Accessing Control Center option

Now, scroll down and tap the plus (+) sign to the left of the Music Recognition button to add the feature to the Control Center. If you do not see this option on the Settings screen, you have not updated your iPhone or iPad to 14.2 or higher yet. See below image:

Music 4
Enabling Music Recognition in Control Center

You can then drag it up or down in the list to rearrange the Control Center layout.

With the button added, you can now swipe down from the top-right corner of your device screen to open the Control Center. (On an older iPhone without a notch, you will have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead.)

Now, tap the button with the Shazam logo. The button will light up and pulse while it listens to the audio around you. Ensure your iPhone can hear the audio source properly. See following image:

Music 6
Listening by Shazam in Control Center

When the process is complete (it can take 10-15 seconds), you will see a “Music Recognition” notification banner showing you what song is playing. This notification appears along with all your other apps’ notifications in your notification center. If it can not identify a song in that period of time, you will see a notification saying a song was not detected.

Listen by the Shazam App

If you want more features, you will need a separate music recognition app on your device. The integrated music recognition features rely on Shazam, the music recognition app Apple purchased.

Shazam still has an app for your device that you can install, and it has more features. For example, the Shazam app supports Autp Shazam. In this mode, Shazma will stay in the background on your iPhone or iPad, listen to everything around you, and store a history of songs it’s heard. For example, let’s say you are at a party or ballroom dance competition and you love the playlist. You can enable Auto Shazma mode and your phone or tablet will automatically remember all the songs that was played. You can even keep using other apps on your device while Shazma listens.

To use this feature, install the Shazma app as mentioned in the beginning of this post. Now, launch it, and long-press the big Shazma button, to enable Auto Shazma mode. Refer to below image:

Music 7
Listening by Shazam app

Listen by Google

Although, not an Apple product, here is another music recognition method.

If a song you are trying to identify is trapped in your head and all you can remember is the song’s melody, there is still something you can do. With the Google app, you can hum or whistle a song’s tune to identify it.

  • Launch Google Search
  • Tap the microphone icon
  • Tap the Search A Song button

Now, start humming or whistling the song you are trying to identify. If Google can find similar matches, the results will appear labeled with match percentages. Tap More Results to see more possible matches. If Google does not find a match, you will receive a message saying so.

That’s it. Please feel free to share this post! One way to share is via Twitter, as mentioned below.

Just click the Tweet icon below to launch Twitter where you click its icon to post the Tweet.

Check out TechSavvy.Life for blog posts on smartphones, PCs, and Macs! You may email us at contact@techsavvy.life for comments or questions.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Just send an email to contact@techsavvy.life. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong: Events and Aftermath