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Apple Adds HDMI Audio Passthrough Support to macOS Sequoia

Apple Adds HDMI Audio Passthrough Support to macOS Sequoia
Apple Adds HDMI Audio Passthrough Support to macOS Sequoia

If you use a Mac to play Dolby Atmos movies and music , you’ll soon be able to stream native multichannel audio from it to a processor, receiver, or soundbar via HDMI. Home entertainment enthusiasts have been calling on Apple for years to support soundtrack passthrough, allowing the receiver to decode the audio stream instead of the Apple device. According to MacRumors , the feature is coming to Macs this fall with macOS Sequoia.

Apple Adds HDMI Audio Passthrough Support to macOS Sequoia

There’s currently no sign of audio passthrough coming to Apple TV 4K in tvOS 18 beta 2, but the fact that it’s coming to macOS soon makes it more likely. Apple TV 4K already supports Dolby Atmos, so why would it support passthrough? One reason is that Apple TV 4K decodes Atmos (and all other audio track formats) and outputs the result over HDMI as Dolby MAT 2.0, which is LPCM plus metadata for Atmos, a high-bitrate stream that only some devices support. Your TV must support HDMI eARC , while a TV with a regular HDMI ARC port won’t be able to transcode the track on the fly.

Apple Adds HDMI Audio Passthrough Support to macOS Sequoia

Another reason is that users want to play Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray disc images with lossless audio like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. This doesn’t require audio passthrough (and the Apple TV 4K already supports TrueHD and DTS-HD MA if you buy a license from an app like Infuse), but the hope is that passthrough will make it more universal across apps and that it will unlock support for Dolby Atmos in TrueHD and DTS:X, which are two audio formats that the Apple TV 4K doesn’t support in any form.

As a reminder, the macOS Sequoia operating system will be released this fall as a free update along with tvOS 18, iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and visionOS 2.