Apple confirms none of its AirPods support its upcoming lossless audio format

If you are an Apple Music subscriber, you might have been excited to hear that lossless audio (ALAC) is coming in June. However, chances are that you listen to Apple Music using your AirPods. Unfortunately, the company confirmed that none of its wireless headphones support ALAC.

Starting in June, Apple Music will allow users to stream songs in ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) format in various resolutions. When Apple announced the news, it did not explicitly mention that some of its most important audio accessories would not support it—namely the AirPod line.

That’s right. AirPods, AirPods Pro, and even Apple’s $550 high-end over-ear AirPods Max don’t support Apple’s own lossless codec. instead they use the AAC codec when paired with an iPhone. Apple confirmed this caveat with lifestyle website T3 but downplayed it saying that all Apple headphones, including AirPods and Beats brands with the H1 or W1 wireless chips, would support the Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio, also arriving in June.

Apple did not specifically mention that its wireless headphones did not support lossless audio in the press release. However, it did state in the fine print that “Hi-Res Lossless (up to 24 bit at 192 kHz) also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).”

While lossless audio will be available at no extra cost to subscribers, enabling ALAC without the proper equipment will only needlessly chew up more bandwidth. It’ll be best to leave it off unless you know your receiving device supports ALAC output.