Better codec support means more 4K streaming on your iPhone.
The iPhone and the iPad are both excellent media devices. The top of the line displays means that it is great for watching movies, especially in higher resolutions and in HDR. But in the past few years, many aren’t aware that the iPhone and the iPad actually can’t play 4K videos YouTube due to a codec limitation. This also extends to the Apple TV 4K that can only play YouTube videos at a maximum resolution of 1080p.
The limitation is here is that Apple hasn’t offered support for the VP9 codec – the primary codec used by YouTube to stream 4K videos. VP9 was YouTube’s primary codec for 4K video, while Apple and other companies including Google (who owns YouTube) supporting H.265 (also known as HEVC). Since Apple doesn’t support VP9, you’re limited to watching 1080p video as the highest resolution on any Apple device.
But thankfully that is about to change when iOS 14 rolls out in the next couple of months. It will now have native support for VP9, allowing to you watch 4K videos on YouTube. VP9 support will also be supported on iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and macOS Big Sur that will unlock full 4K YouTube support on all Apple devices.
Apple plans to roll out all their updates by the fall, so expect to start watching 4K videos on your Apple devices soon.