Apple Music Dolby Atmos Not Working and Showing? (Do These)

Dolby Atmos offers a lot of good things, including an immersive, three-dimensional sound field. It’s like listening to a song with the 3D effect in movie theaters.

One of the music streaming services that offer Dolby Atmos is Apple Music. However, I’ve heard from many people that Dolby Atmos is not working on Apple Music. Let’s talk about it.

You’re using the Apple Music Voice plan

If you notice Dolby Atmos not showing on Apple Music, it could be because you’re enrolled in the Voice plan. According to Apple, Dolby Atmos isn’t available in the Apple Music Voice plan.

Apple Music Voice Plan is one of the newest subscription tiers for Apple Music designed around the power of Siri. It’s extremely affordable, only for just $4.99 per month.

The Apple Music Voice plan is designed to only play music by using Siri. Simply ask Siri to play what you want to hear, and Siri will play it. However, it does have its limitations.

With the Apple Music Voice plan, you cannot listen to music in lossless audio, or experience sound in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. You’ll need to upgrade your subscription.

Your country and region doesn’t support Dolby Atmos

Apple Music and Dolby Atmos aren’t available in all countries or regions. If you don’t see the Dolby Atmos setting on your device, then it’s not available in your country.

If you live in the United States, you can probably access Dolby Atmos content on Apple Music. But for some of you living outside the United States, you won’t get access to Dolby Atmos.

Apple Music updates are region-specific, so you should check Apple’s website to make sure the updates have been rolled out for your country. 

For example, if you visit{countrycode}/apple-music/ you should see a card when you scroll down that demonstrates the lossless and Dolby Atmos features.

If it says “Coming Soon” or there is no such card, then in that case you’ll have to wait. Unfortunately, there is no way to say exactly when you’ll get it.

Incorrect Dolby Atmos settings

If Dolby Atmos doesn’t work on Apple Music, you’ll need to make sure you’ve set it up correctly. Navigate to Settings > Music > Dolby Atmos. Then, choose Automatic or Always On.

Automatic plays Dolby Atmos whenever the iPhone is connected to compatible headphones such as AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, or to compatible speakers.

Always On plays Dolby Atmos on any headphones or speakers. The Music app will attempt to play Dolby Atmos tracks on any headphones or speakers connected to the iPhone.

However, it’s important to note that Dolby Atmos will play on any headphones, but not all speakers will play Dolby Atmos on Apple Music as intended.

Once the settings are correct, wait a few seconds every time you play a Dolby Atmos track. It may take some time for the badge to show up, somewhere between 4 to 5 seconds.

I think what is happening is that Apple Music starts streaming the stereo version (normal, not lossless and not Dolby Atmos) while it buffers the Dolby Atmos version.

Not all content is available in Dolby Atmos

Some songs only have the stereo version and not the Dolby Atmos version. If you read the fine print carefully, you’ll see that not all content is available in Dolby Atmos. 

Dolby is currently partnered with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The exact number of Atmos tracks isn’t something they have shared publicly, though.

Universal has said its Atmos tracks will include songs from Bastille, The Beatles, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Luciano Pavarotti, Marvin Gaye, and The Weeknd — to name a few.

Let’s hope in the future that Apple Music will be able to serve more Dolby Atmos tracks. Until then, you should expect that not all content is available in Dolby Atmos.

Background App Refresh is disabled

If Dolby Atmos is not working or not showing on Apple Music, it could be because the Background App Refresh has been disabled on your device.

With Background App Refresh enabled apps like Apple Music are permitted to refresh content all the time constantly, although it does use the internet and depletes the battery.

Open the Settings app, then tap on General. Make sure the Background App Refresh is turned ON. Ideally, you want it enabled for all apps on both Wi-Fi and mobile data.

I had trouble once with Dolby Atmos on Apple Music because I had turned off the Background App Refresh. After turning it on again, the Dolby Atmos logo came back.

Dolby Atmos content won’t play without adding to the library (macOS)

For some reason, whenever I try to stream the Dolby Atmos version of a song on Apple Music from Browse using macOS, it only streams the stereo version of the song.

The only way to play the Dolby Atmos version is to add the track to my library, then navigate to Library > Songs, and then play it from there. It seems to be a bug on macOS.

I don’t need to download the track, but simply play it from the Library section instead of Apple Music > Browse. The Dolby Atmos logo appears when playing the Atmos version.

This applies even to whole playlists as well. If I add the whole “Rock in Spatial Audio” playlist to the library and play the tracks from the Library, they play in Atmos correctly.

I must always navigate to my library even after playing the Dolby Atmos version once because every time I play a song from Apple Music > Browse it still plays the stereo version.

If you’re using the macOS, just add songs or playlists to your library, then play it from your library to enjoy the Dolby Atmos version. I hope Apple fixes this bug on macOS soon.

The Dolby Atmos badge doesn’t always show up

Many people, myself included, have noticed that there is also a bug where the Dolby Atmos badge doesn’t always show up on the screen, even though Atmos is being used.

Toggling the Dolby Atmos off and on while listening to the track should make it pretty obvious. I think it’s a bug where the badge will only show up when using Apple or Beats headphones.

Also, I tried keeping Dolby Atmos to “Always On” and switched between AirPods and wired headphones. Airpods showed the badge but when I switched to wired, the badge went away.

What’s funnier is that it seems like the song is actually switching from the Dolby Atmos version to the stereo version, as I had listened to this particular track on both sets of earphones before.

With the latest iOS, it seems like setting Dolby Atmos to “Always On” doesn’t operate properly with wired headphones. I hope Apple fixes this issue soon.

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