Hi-res lossless/24-bit music over wireless CarPlay seems to work

Lippy

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We know Apple upgraded its music service so many albums are Hi-res/lossless, encoded at 24-bit and either a 96kHz or 192 kHz sample rate. Apple isn't completely transparent about what systems can actually play hi-res/lossless, but, from what I've read, wireless CarPlay uses WiFi for the link from the phone to the car but is limited and cannot play hi-res/lossless.

I have my phone set to stream and download hi-res. I was playing a new (Foo Fighters/BeeGees cover) album that is encoded at 24/96 through wireless CarPlay on my 2021 F-150 with Sync4. I noticed the phone indicated it was playing hi-res/lossless through wireless CarPlay, which I didn't think was possible. When the phone shows the hi-res/lossless indicator during playback, it *should* actually be playing this way. I then switched the output of the phone to my HomePod Mini and the hi-res/lossless indicator disappeared, as it should, indicating the HomePod can't handle this resolution. I should also mention the playback *seemed* to sound much better and louder than normal over my B&O Unleashed system, and I could even hear the sound from the headrest speakers if I put my ear close. Usually I can't.

Could it be that Apple CarPlay wireless can actually handle hi-res/lossless if it is played over a newer audio system that can handle 24-bit?
 
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wayfarer556

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Documentation from Apple is not at all very clear, although their FAQ does specifically say that in order to enjoy truly lossless audio, you need to be on the USB adapter.

The fact that they don't specifically say that it won't work via Wireless Carplay, and the fact that everywhere I can look no one seems to have a clear answer or understanding, leads me to believe that it's possible that it will attempt lossless if the bandwidth is available, and then perhaps automatically degrade (without really notifying anyone) if it's not.

I've always found wireless carplay to be pretty fickle...I suspect that Apple's not super clear on this because so much of the experience relies on the vehicle's own head unit and WiFi adapter. Not to mention that the quality of Wifi even under excellent conditions can also be affected by outside interference.

Personally, I've turned off Wireless Carplay and just rely on the wire. Frees up my hotspot for general internet use, eliminates any weirdness like this, and is just generally more reliable.

Maybe someone somewhere will leak some internal specs document that undoubtedly both Apple and Ford has under lock and key. Otherwise I'd expect the only other way to figure out exactly what is going on is if you could figure out how to unlock a developer/debug mode on the F-150 head unit to show exactly what kind of audio output is being leveraged from it. Or perhaps a jailbroken iPhone for the same purpose.
 
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Lippy

Lippy

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My Wireless CarPlay is rock solid.

But am I correct that if it shows hi-res lossless in the playback window on the phone while connected to the truck, it is actually playing that way? It sure seems to be the case, which would be great news.
 
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Lippy

Lippy

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Now I'm really not sure what the indicator on the iPhone music app, the one that says Lossless or Hi-res Lossless, really means. If I play a song that is encoded in Hi-res on the iPhone itself, I can see the Hi-res Lossless indicator. I can see the same indicator when playing through Wireless CarPlay on my 2021 F-150, which led me to believe it is really playing at that resolution. When I played the same song through my HomePod Mini, the indicator disappeared, leading me to believe the indicator is present only when playing at that resolution. But then, when I play through my other car's Bluetooth audio, the indicator is present, and it is also present when playing through my AirPod Pros. I understand the latter two are not capable of playing Hi-res because they use Bluetooth. So what is the story with the indicator?

IMG_2125.PNG
 
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