apple music streaming dolby atmos lossless audio
Telecom News

Apple Music Now with Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio

May 18, 2021 - Raphael Knecht

Tech giant Apple is adding new features to its music streaming service. Independent online comparison service explains the costs and functions of the new Atmos and lossless audio features from Apple Music here.

In mid-May 2021, Apple announced that it will be adding new audio options to Apple Music. Here, answers the most important questions.

What’s new?

Apple is integrating Dolby Atmos in its audio-streaming app. Atmos is meant to make audio sound more three-dimensional. Apple calls it 3D sound. You can sample Atmos on Dolby’s website. Songs are specifically remastered to make use of Atmos technology, so you do not need special headphones or loud speakers to use Atmos.

Apple is also adding lossless audio across its entire audio catalogue. Music streamed with lossless audio is encoded using the ALAC codec which keeps all audio information – in contrast to the AAC codec with which some of the original audio information is lost. Apple promises that the new ALAC codec keeps every data bit of the original unencoded audio.

What do the new functions cost?

Apple Music users do not pay any extra to use the new Atmos and lossless audio features. You do not have to make any changes to your music streaming plan, but simply activate the options. You continue to pay the standard monthly Apple Music fee of 12.90 Swiss francs for an individual subscription.

The new features will be available to Apple Music subscribers from June, 2021.

Can I listen to my favorite songs in 3D sound?

Not all songs in the Apple library have been remastered for Dolby Atmos. The chance of your favorite music already being compatible with Atmos is relatively small. Apple says that currently, thousands of tracks are available in Atmos sound. The tech giant plans to expand the selection on an ongoing basis.

But while only a portion of tracks are available in Dolby Atmos sound, all tracks on Apple Music will be available in lossless audio. According to Apple, its library includes more than 75 million songs.

What is the disadvantage of lossless audio?

Audio files which include all information are much bigger than compressed files. Unless you have a mobile plan that gives you unlimited data for a flat fee, you may want to continue streaming music in the compressed AAC format. To help Apple Music users avoid unpleasant surprises on their phone bills, the lossless audio feature is not activated by default. In order to begin streaming uncompressed audio in the ALAC format with its high data requirements, you have to activate the lossless audio feature.

You can find this option in Apple Music preferences under settings > music > audio quality.

Is Atmos only offered by Apple?

Apple Music is not the only streaming service which offers Dolby Atmos sound. Tidal also offers a selection of Atmos tracks, but its Atmos feature requires special, compatible loudspeakers. You will not benefit from Atmos sound if you use regular headphones. Tidal also only makes Atmos sound available to its HiFi plan subscribers. This plan costs 25.90 francs per month.

Amazon Music also collaborates with Dolby. But this service is not yet available to Swiss customers.

Do other streaming services offer lossless audio?

There are several other music streaming services which let Swiss music lovers stream uncompressed audio. Qobuz offers 70 million tracks in lossless audio quality. It costs 22.99 francs per month.

The HiFi plan offered by Tidal for 25.90 francs per month also offers lossless audio. This plan also lets you use Dolby Atmos with compatible devices.

Deezer also offers a plan with lossless audio. The Deezer HiFi plan costs 19.45 francs per month.


Service Provider Monthly Fee
Apple Music 12.90 francs
Qobuz Studio Premier 22.99 francs
Tidal Hifi 25.90 francs
Deezer Hifi 25.99 francs


Spotify is planning to launch a lossless audio service called Spotify HiFi in some markets as early as this year. When this feature will become available in Switzerland is as yet unknown. The name suggests that the service will be offered as a new mobile plan – most likely with a higher price tag. However, Spotify has not yet officially published details about the new service. It is possible that Apple’s lead will prompt Spotify to offer lossless audio with its standard plan at no extra cost.


In the opinion of telecom expert Ralf Beyeler, “Apple’s incorporation of these new functions into existing plans without changing its pricing comes as a surprise. Apple’s competitors in the music streaming business typically charge more for plans which include features like Atmos and lossless audio. Music streaming plans which include these features can cost twice as much as standard plans with regular sound, in some cases. Apple’s strategy is a positive development from a consumer perspective. But Apple’s move will likely put pressure on competitors.”

The move may help Apple onboard new customers. A representative Swiss streaming survey by showed that Apple Music lags behind other music streaming services in Switzerland. Only 9 percent of consumers in Switzerland use the paid version of Apple’s music streaming service, compared to 26 percent who use Spotify.

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Editor Raphael Knecht
Raphael Knecht was an analyst and a specialized editor at until the end of February 2023. Since then, he is supporting the editorial team as a freelancer.