iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14 and macOS Big Sur will let you play YouTube videos in 4K resolution and HDR color on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and Mac. While this feature has been present in earlier betas of iOS, iPadOS and tvOS 14, yesterday’s release of Big Sur beta 4 has brought the ability to play 4K HDR YouTube videos to Safari on Mac.
According to Apple’s release notes accompanying the macOS Big Sur beta 4 update, the release brought “support for 4K HDR playback of YouTube videos”. Before macOS Big Sur, Apple customers couldn’t play 4K videos on YouTube in the Safari browser because Apple did not license Google’s VP9 codec, which is used to encode 4K HDR videos on YouTube.
With support for the VP9 codec now officially present in iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and tvOS 14, and now macOS Big Sur, Apple customers will — finally! — be able to enjoy crisp, high-resolution 4K HDR YouTube videos in the Safari browser and other apps without using workarounds.
Currently on the Mac, users who wish to enjoy 4K HDR clips on YouTube must use Google’s Chrome browser, because it features built-in support for the VP9 codec, or another browser with 4K video support or a dedicated Safari extension.
Safari on macOS Big Sur also supports Dolby Vision and 4K HDR content from Netflix on any Mac computers released in 2018 onward.