Apple equips its computers with high resolution displays, like the iMac which sports a 5K monitor, something that not many desktop PCs can boast. However, when playing YouTube videos in Safari, it does not support 4K playback. This issue dates back several years ago which we imagine must be somewhat infuriating for Mac users.
However, the good news is that after years of waiting, it looks like the latest beta of macOS Big Sur will finally enable 4K playback on Safari. For those unfamiliar with why Safari could not play YouTube videos in 4K, it is due to codec issues where it capped videos at 1440p. While it was never confirmed, it was speculated that this could be because Google opted to use the VP9 codec instead of the H.264 codec that Safari uses.
As a result, videos played directly from YouTube’s website were capped at 1440p instead of 4K when supported. That being said, 1440p isn’t a bad resolution and for the most part, it is more than watchable. In fact, 1080p videos on a 4K display are already pretty decent, but we suppose giving users the option to choose is always a good thing.
These changes are expected to find its way to the macOS Big Sur update which will be released this fall, so if you own a Mac that is eligible for the update, this is something to look forward to.