The latest macOS Big Sur beta, released this week, includes support for viewing 4K YourTube videos in Safari. (Via AppleInsider)
Previously, Mac users who wished to view 4K YouTube content on a Mac were forced to use a third-party browser, such as Chrome. Until now, Apple’s browser did not offer support for the Google VP9 video codec.
As of Tuesday’s new macOS Big Sur beta, Apple introduced support for the VP9 codec in the Mac version of Safari. Apple’s release notes state that the fourth beta adds “support for 4K HDR playback of YouTube Videos.”
Apple’s other operating system updates also bring support for 4K YouTube video playback. That means users will be able to natively stream 4K YouTube clips in Safari on iOS 14, tvOS 14, and macOS Big Sur. However, it should be noted that even the top-of-the-line iPads and iPhones have screens not yet capable of displaying in 4K quality.
Apple and Google have long had a standoff over the V9 codec, as Apple refused to offer support in Safari, while Google had refused to encode clips in other Apple-friendly codecs.
It should also be noted that all VP9 codec support is in a beta phase, so support for VP9 may not remain when the operating systems are released to the public in the fall.