AirPods Max won’t support lossless audio over Lightning either

Another hope bites the dust.

What you need to know

  • AirPods Max will not support Apple Music lossless audio over Lightning.
  • It is still unclear if you can use an analog to digital converter.

It’s sounding like AirPods Max, in any state, will not support the upcoming lossless audio feature on Apple Music.

Earlier today, Apple announced that it was bringing lossless audio as well as spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support to Apple Music.

At that time it was also revealed that AirPods Max would not support lossless audio over Bluetooth due to its limitations and the fact that the headphones do not support Apple’s new ALAC audio format. At the time, we hoped that perhaps AirPods Max would at least support lossless if you plugged in the Lightning to 3.5mm cable.

Apple had already pointed out that the high-res lossless audio would require special USB hardware to work, but it doesn’t mention any special requirements for the standard lossless quality.

You can listen to lossless audio using the latest Apple Music app on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. Turn on lossless audio in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. You can choose between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless for cellular or Wi-Fi connections. Note that Hi-Res Lossless requires external equipment such as a USB digital to analog converter.

Maybe we’ll all need that Lightning to 3.5mm cable after all. And another adapter at the other end, too!

Unfortunately, it sounds like even THAT won’t be an option. According to a new report from MacRumors, the Lightning port on AirPods Max are limited to analog output sources and does not support digital audio formats which Apple’s new ALAC format is. The company has not, however, confirmed if a digital to analog convertor could work.

Earlier today, we confirmed that AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max will not support lossless audio over Bluetooth because of Bluetooth limitations, and it turns out there’s no direct wired lossless option for the AirPods Max either.

Apple’s AirPods Max headphones are equipped with a Lightning port, but it is limited to analog output sources and will not natively support digital audio formats in wired mode. Apple has not yet said whether the AirPods Max support lossless audio over Lightning with a digital to analog converter.

Thankfully, AirPods Max will support spatial audio and Dolby Atmos when the new features roll out to Apple Music in June.

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