In short: When the Apple Music EQ is not working on iOS, turn it off then turn it on again. Once you do that, the EQ starts working. On MacBook, highlight all of your tracks and choose an Equalizer preset so it applies to all songs.
The Apple Music Equalizer, also known as EQ, is a feature that lets you choose a preset from a bunch of options on the songs you listen to, for better or for worse.
However, many Apple Music users have noticed the Equalizer not working. In this article, I’ll share some workarounds to go about the Apple Music EQ settings.
Apple Music Equalizer shuts off every time you pause the song
I’ve been observing that the Apple Music Equalizer on my MacBook doesn’t work properly. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t, which is frustrating.
After many trials and errors, I’ve discovered that the problem is much more generic than you might think. The equalizer shuts off any time you pause the music.
If you pause a song and then resume it, any equalizer effects that were previously set are gone. Nudging any EQ brings it back. It’s baffling that these kinds of bugs still show up.
Apple Music EQ settings apply per song
Many Apple Music users have changed the equalizer setting in their MacBook, only to have it set back to its previous value the next time a song is over and a new one is played.
My theory is that the EQ settings apply per song, not for your entire library. If you are having this issue, I’ve found a workaround to this problem but you’ll need a MacBook.
On your MacBook, highlight all of your tracks and then right-click. Select Song Info and then navigate to Options where you’ll see the option to choose an equalizer setting.
You might get a warning message saying “Are you sure you want to edit information for multiple items?” which is what you want to do anyway so click the blue Edit Items button to continue.
Once you’ve chosen an EQ preset, all of your songs will maintain that equalizer setting while you play them so that you don’t have to enable the EQ for every song.
Toggling the EQ off and then on again solves the issue
Another issue on the iPhone is that the Apple Music EQ doesn’t work unless I turn the toggle off, and then turn it back on again. Once I do that, the EQ starts working.
Regardless of my EQ setting, it won’t work when I start a song on Apple Music. It doesn’t “activate” until I toggle the EQ from On to Off and then back to On. Then the EQ starts working.
This isn’t normal and shouldn’t be happening. And this has happened on multiple computers and multiple iOS devices for many years. This isn’t anything new.
The only workaround I know so far is to purchase an EQ app for the computer. Only then Apple Music will follow that EQ. For mobile devices, I can only toggle it off and on.
But the internal Apple Music EQ does not just come on with the first song played, even though it shows that it is turned on. I have to toggle off and on again for engagement.
Apple Music EQ doesn’t work with Hi-Res Lossless
To my dismay, I’m not able to change the EQ setting like you can when listening to regular lossless (or even AAC 256 kbps, for that matter). So the only profile is completely flat.
I think I figured it out with the help of Apple Support, it seems it’s related to file types. I had downloaded some Apple lossless files and they’re the ones I noticed the EQ does not work on.
The equalizer presets on Apple Music are not working when playing Hi-Res Lossless tracks. No matter what preset I choose, there’s no change or effect on the sound.
It’s bad enough that Apple Music doesn’t let you finetune your own EQ settings like you can with Spotify but with Hi-Res Lossless you can’t even use any of the presets.
To be clear, the EQ itself isn’t disabled; it works fine when I set streaming quality to 256kbps, but the second I switch it to lossless the equalizer doesn’t follow the programmed presets.
So right now, the choice is between having lossless, and an EQ that actually works. Since transparency is usually achieved around 192kbps, I think I’ll stick with the latter for now.