Safari in macOS Big Sur Works With 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Content From Netflix on Newer Macs

Safari 14, introduced in the iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur betas, introduces HDR video support and allows Netflix users to watch content in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision for the first time.

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As pointed out by 9to5Mac, Netflix has long offered 4K content that can be viewed on other platforms like the 4K Apple TV, but it has not been available to Mac users due to hardware limitations.


Safari in macOS Catalina and earlier has limited Netflix content to 1080p resolution, but with macOS Big Sur, Netflix works in 4K and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 for more vivid colors.

Watching 4K HDR content on Mac requires a Mac introduced in 2018 or later, so older Macs will continue to be limited to 1080p resolution on Netflix with macOS Big Sur.

As we covered last week, tvOS 14 and iOS 14 are now compatible with YouTube's VP9 codec, allowing 4K YouTube content to be watched on those platforms, but the codec is not yet supported in Safari 14 in macOS Big Sur.

Related Forum: macOS Big Sur

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Top Rated Comments

Somian Avatar
51 months ago
It's not a hardware limitation. Older MacBook Pros can play H.265 4k content just fine. The only reason it doesn't work is that someone made a decision that it's not supposed to work. DRM isn't a technical necessity.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IamTimCook Avatar
51 months ago

It's not a hardware limitation. Older MacBook Pros can play H.265 4k content just fine. The only reason it doesn't work is that someone made a decision that it's not supposed to work. DRM isn't a technical necessity.
Agreed. Having the 2017 iMac Pro relegated to 1080p viewing for Netflix and iTunes is the biggest load of....
Both the 2017 iMac and the 2017 iMac Pro have the necessary CPUs for DRM streamed media.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoN1NjA Avatar
51 months ago

That looks like it says “mp4” and “hevc”. Sounds like YouTube is supporting H.265. Rather than Apple supporting VP9. If so, that’s a good thing.
Google will never support HEVC, not even in hell

Why on Earth would Google spend loads of money developing VP9 and now AV1, all to bow down to Apple who has to flick a switch on their side?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iBluetooth Avatar
51 months ago

Google will never support HEVC, not even in hell

Why on Earth would Google spend loads of money developing VP9 and now AV1, all to bow down to Apple who has to flick a switch on their side?
H265 is not an Apple codec.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jamalien Avatar
51 months ago
JUST SO YOU ALL KNOW : You don't need big sur, it also works in safari technical preview for catalina

Edit : Only works sporadically in Catalina, and consistently in Big Sur...idfk whats with it
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
konqerror Avatar
51 months ago

That looks like it says “mp4” and “hevc”. Sounds like YouTube is supporting H.265. Rather than Apple supporting VP9. If so, that’s a good thing.
The screenshot/article is talking about Netflix, not YouTube. Netflix always supported HEVC.

It was a DRM issue for 4K on the computers, as I recall. They only supported Microsoft PlayReady which requires Edge or Silverlight (when that was still a thing).
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)