Back in June, Apple announced that Apple Music lossless support for HomePod and HomePod mini “in a future software update,” but declined to offer a specific timetable. Based on the latest beta that just arrived, it looks like it’ll be available in September with iOS 15.
Following reports that the second beta was bricking some speakers, Apple pushed out the third beta of HomePod 15 this week that includes a fix and a new feature: lossless audio support. Like the iPhone, there’s a new toggle in the Home app’s Media tab in Settings for Lossless Audio.
The HomePod beta is only available to certain developers who were invited to join the program.
Apple flipped on lossless audio for all Apple Music subscribers back in June, but you need a pair of wired headphones or speakers, or an external digital-to-analog converter to handle the higher bitrate. As of now HomePod and HomePod mini speakers don’t support lossless audio and only support Dolby Atmos spatial audio when connected as the default speaker on an Apple TV 4K. Apple says “the difference between AAC and lossless audio is virtually indistinguishable,” so listeners might not be able to hear the difference.
But you should be able to test it out yourself in just a couple short months.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.