How to force macOS to use aptX/AAC on supported devices
The quality of audio experience you can enjoy on your headphones/earphones is highly dependent on a bunch of factors. Starting with, the format of an audio file, the quality of DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), and the Codec in use, which all happen to be the prime essentials for an immersive and high-quality audio experience. Needless to say, the streaming device should support the Codec that your headphone is using and have it enabled. However, a lot of the times, it is set to use the default Codec, which, in most cases, is the SBC (Sub-Band Codec), requiring you to enable your preferred Codec manually.
In this article, we take you through the steps required to force your Mac (running macOS) to use aptX/AAC. Before we begin, make sure your streaming device (headphones or earphones) supports the aptX or AAC Codecs. For this demonstration, we will be using the Bullets Wireless 2 earphones from OnePlus, which come with aptX codec, and a MacBook Pro 2017.
How to Identify the Active Bluetooth Codec
1. Turn ON Bluetooth on your headphones and Mac. Connect your headphones to your Mac and start playing music.
2. Now, hold the Option key and click on the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar.
3. Hover the cursor over your headphone (from the list of devices). Here, you will see ‘Active Codec’ with the currently active Codec mentioned next to it.
4. If you see the Active Codec as aptX or AAC, your Mac and headphones are already using these Codecs. Whereas, in case you see SBC, you need to go through the following steps to change the active codec to aptX or AAC.
How to Enable aptX/AAC on macOS
1. Open a web browser and navigate to the Developer’s download page.
2. Here, enter your Apple developer account credentials and sign in.
3. Once signed in, download the Additional Tools by selecting one from the list.
4. Next, double-tap the Additional Tools (.dmg file) to mount it on your desktop.
5. Open the Additional Tools directory and navigate to the Hardware folder.
6. Now, open your Mac’s Application folder in a separate window and drag the Bluetooth Explorer app here.
7. Go to the Application’s folder and launch the Bluetooth Explorer app.
8. From the menu bar, go to Tools > Audio Options.
9. On the Audio Options window, tick the checkboxes next to Enable AAC and Force use of aptX. Also, make sure the Disable AAC and Disable aptX checkboxes are unchecked.
10. Hit Close, and restart your Mac. Once it boots up, re-pair your headphones again.
By now, you must have enabled aptX/AAC on your Mac. To verify that you are using aptX/AAC, perform the same step as you did earlier to identify the active codec in use.