Apple HomePods get Spatial Audio, lossless support – but there's a catch

Apple HomePods get Spatial Audio, lossless thanks to beta update
(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

Apple's HomePod smart speakers are a step closer to fully supporting Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and lossless playback. The latest beta software update allows both the HomePod (now discontinued) and HomePod Mini to support both features via Apple Music, 9to5Mac reports.

Download the latest beta, and you'll see toggles for both (pictured above). But the catch is that not all beta testers will see them. To check if you can, make sure you're running the latest iOS 15 and HomePod betas (the latter is HomePod 15 beta 5), open the Home app, tap Home > Home settings, and then your profile. Tap Media > Apple Music, and then you should see the Apple Lossless/Dolby Atmos toggles.

Apple had previously said it would bring both features to its HomePods, but didn't say when. With this beta, it looks like a full rollout will happen sooner rather than later.

Previously, you could only enjoy Dolby Atmos through the HomePod with the speaker paired to an Apple TV 4K.

Apple rolled out Apple Music lossless and Spatial Audio back in June, offering around 20 million tracks in lossless resolution. Its full catalogue of over 75 million tracks is due to be available in lossless by the end of this year.

Lossless tracks can only be heard through specific products, so be sure to check out our handy guide to which devices will and won't play lossless to make sure yours are compatible.

Spatial Audio is designed to deliver 3D surround sound to any pair of headphones (here's how to enable it). It also works with iPhone, iPad and Mac built-in speakers.


What is Apple Spatial Audio? And how do you get it?

There's a problem with Apple Music Lossless (and we're excited to see the solution)

Apple Music lossless demystified

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.