Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X to Support FLAC

Apple today announced two new iPhone models, the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. Not mentioned, but visible in the tech specs for these devices, is support for FLAC, the free lossless audio codec.

Iphone flac

Third party apps have long been able to play FLAC files; after all, they are just files. But this suggests that the iPhone can natively play FLAC files, using hardware decoding. This is interesting, because Apple has long avoided offering any type of FLAC support in iTunes or in its operating systems.

But I looked at the iPhone 7 tech specs, and it also says that it supports FLAC, so maybe Apple just means that the files can be read by third-party apps. If FLAC were natively supported on last year’s phone, a lot of people would have heard about it. I think that this has something to do with iOS 11. Because I looked on an older version of the iPhone 7 tech specs page (via the Wayback Machine), and FLAC support is not mentioned.

So Apple may have updated the iPhone 7 specs to match what iOS 11 supports, but the iPhone 6s does not show this support. So, this is some combination of hardware and software, apparently.

I’ll post more when I find out.

3 thoughts on “Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X to Support FLAC

  1. Very interesting and very Apple, to slip this in and not explain anything. It would be cool if iTunes started to support FLAC, thus the iPhone support of FLAC would mean something. However, does it really matter if most people are streaming? And, those that aren’t streaming have already ripped audio using a long supported CODEC?

    Perhaps this is a precursor to something else.

    P.S. Apple moving to support 4K, but never mentioning high resolution audio over the years, is a strong indication of what it thinks about high res audio and the lack of interest from its customers.

  2. I expect that this means that the next version of ITunes and Quicktime will include a FLAC codec. It isn’t brain salad surgery after all.

  3. If FLAC is decoded by iPhone (whatever by A11 chip or IOS 11), it should not be able to listen from the lightning earpods , because lightning port can only pass digital signals through. So I guess IOS 11 is just allow FLAC file to be passed to lightning port and whether you can listen the FLAC music is depended on weather your lightning ear-phone has the FLAC DAC capability.

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