iOS 14.6 allows users to AirPlay songs on Apple Music in Lossless from iPhone to HomePod

Bill Mount

When Apple Music Lossless was announced, it wasn’t clear whether the HomePod would be able to play Lossless audio quality. Later, the company said that HomePod and HomePod mini would receive a future software update to support the feature. Although Apple’s smart speakers aren’t playing Lossless themselves just yet, it […]

When Apple Music Lossless was announced, it wasn’t clear whether the HomePod would be able to play Lossless audio quality. Later, the company said that HomePod and HomePod mini would receive a future software update to support the feature.

Although Apple’s smart speakers aren’t playing Lossless themselves just yet, it appears you can AirPlay in this quality from your iPhone to the HomePod. Here’s how it works.

Users running iOS 14.6 that have Lossless enabled can AirPlay this audio quality from the iPhone to the HomePod. Here are the steps:

  • Make sure the song/album is available in Lossless and it’s downloaded in the right version;
  • Click on the AirPlay button on the iPhone, then select your HomePod;
  • The icon must appear as “iPhone -> HomePod;” if it’s that way, you will see a little “lossless” icon above the Play/Pause button.
  • If it only appears “HomePod” in the AirPlay, it won’t stream in Lossless audio quality.

I tried to play lots of different songs in Lossless on the HomePod. The trick part is: not every time I heard a difference between the AAC file and the Lossless file. As we know, not everyone will hear a difference between AAC and Lossless. Here’s what Eddy Cue said about Lossless to Billboard while praising Dolby Atmos:

“The reality of lossless is: if you take 100 people and you take a stereo song in lossless and you take a song that’s been in Apple Music that’s compressed, I don’t know if it’s 99 or 98 can’t tell the difference.” Cue revealed that he has regularly done blind tests with the Apple Music team, and they confirm how rare it is for anyone to be able to consistently recognize lossless audio. “You can tell somebody, ‘Oh, you’re listening to a lossless [song],’ and they tell you, ‘Oh, wow. That sounds incredible.’ They’re just saying it because you told them it’s lossless and it sounds like the right thing to say, but you just can’t tell.”

Since AirPlay is based on Wi-Fi, and HomePod does support FLAC/ALAC codecs, technically, you can AirPlay a song or album in Lossless through the iPhone to the smart speaker.

Home app adds new HomePod settings in iOS 15

And if you’re running iOS 15, there’s a new Apple Music section on the Home app that lets users toggle on “Lossless Audio.” Here are the steps:

  • Open the Home app;
  • Click on the Home icon in the upper left corner, then “Home Settings;”
  • Select your Apple ID, then “Apple Music” in “Media;”
  • Turn on the “Lossless Audio” toggle.

The weird part is that even if you’re already running HomePod 15 beta 1 and toggle on this feature on your iOS 15 beta device, the Music app won’t show the lossless icon for songs playing on HomePod.

As we still are in beta 1 of iOS 15 and HomePod 15, it’s still unclear if everything is fully working. What is possible to say is that Apple is indeed working to support Lossless natively on the HomePod starting with iOS 15 and that AirPlay support is there now when you go from iPhone to HomePod.

Are you able to AirPlay Apple Music Lossless from your iPhone to HomePod? Tell us in the comment section below.

Thanks Milan for the tip!

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