An updated version of Apple Music in iOS 9 will allow you to force music to stream at the highest possible audio quality when streaming over your network connection.

One strange if not entirely unpredictable aspect of Apple Music is the inability to set the streaming audio quality. In fact, there's no hint of the streaming bitrate anywhere in the app (though you can see that Apple Music tracks are stored as 256kbps AAC files in iTunes).

But it seems an update to the streaming service, which is set to come with the release of iOS 9 later this year, will allow you to have a level of control - specifically, the chance to force Apple Music to stream at the highest available quality when you're streaming over your mobile network.

This relates to the fact that Apple Music streams at a variable bitrate, with Apple exec Eddy Cue admitting the service would lower the audio quality if you have a poor network connection.

MORE: Apple Music review

This update, which has been spotted in the latest iOS 9 beta by Apple Insider, still keeps the level of control to a minimum, however.

For example, there's seemingly no option to set the streaming quality over WiFi, no hint of the streaming bitrate that you're getting, nor any option to set the audio quality to low, medium or high, as is the norm on the likes of Spotify and Tidal.

As it is, we're 99% certain the service is streaming at 256kbps AAC, which we're happy to report delivers pretty decent audio quality compared to its main, non-lossless rival, Spotify.

Apple iOS 9 is expected to be released later this year.

MORE: Apple Music streaming - what you need to know




lpv's picture

Do you think guys there's is

Do you think guys there's is a way to measure Apple Music bit rate stream on iOS?

Do you know at what bit rate music is played when ' make available offline' is applied? ( again on iOS)

Andy Clough's picture

Apple Music sound quality

We haven't been able to measure the bitrate at which files are streamed or played offline, all we do know is that the files are stored at 256kbps. Hopefully Apple will provide some clarification with iOS 9.

KevH's picture

Apple Music sound quality

Stick a network probe on it, see what kind of bandwidth it's pulling.

KevH's picture

Who cares it doesn't work - just add features

This seams to be the current apple mantra. Each new version of IOS adds more and more wizzy features, while old features get broken and never fixed.

The priority for apple should be taking the awful mess that is apple music and turning into something that comes even close to Spotify.

Currently the interface is cluncky and full of bugs.

lpv's picture

this is correct. but all that

this is correct. but all that mess did not stop what's hifi reviewers form 5 star rating, when in reality is a beta version.. I'm not sure if they would test ' work in progress' amplifier or speakers and end up with highest rating.. this sort of actions from this magazine reminds that they are far FAR F A R away from honest opinion.