Apple has added support for the FLAC lossless audio format to the 4K Apple TV, iPhone 8, and iPhone X, although it has not made much noise about it.
The newly added support is now shown on the product pages for all three devices on Apple’s website, with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus also set to gain support for the format once iOS 11 is installed.
Interestingly, however, Apple’s stock Music app does not yet support FLAC files, even with iOS 11 installed. That means that anyone wanting to listen to music that is encoded in this way will have to either resort to using the built-in Files app or install a third-party solution via the App Store. VLC or Plex would be two examples of apps that can handle FLAC, and you may already have them installed, too.
While Apple has not yet flicked the switch, it is possible that the latest iPad Pros can also handle FLAC files thanks to their A10X CPUs. Apple has not updated the product pages of those particular devices, and anything running on the older A10 chips, such as the iPhone 6s or iPhone SE look set to definitely miss out on the support that is being added to newer, beefier devices. If it truly is simply a case of hardware power, we would expect the iPad Pro line to also support FLAC soon enough.
As far as Apple’s portable devices are concerned, it is worth noting that anyone wanting to get the full benefit of using FLAC will need to make sure they listen using a pair of Lightning wired headphones.
Unfortunately, Bluetooth connections are not capable of moving enough data in order to make listening to music encoded in the lossless format worthwhile.