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If you own an older Mac you won’t be able to watch 4K Netflix because of a missing chip

Older Macs do not have Apple’s T2 security chip and only 2018 Macs and later come with it and can watch 4K HDR Netflix content.

By: HT TECH
Updated on: Aug 20 2022, 23:23 IST
Older iMacs and pre-2018 Mac laptop that could theoretically play Netflix 4K content on their built-in displays or via a 4K or 5K external monitor, will no longer be able to do so post this fall when macOS Big Sur rolls out. (Pixabay)
Older iMacs and pre-2018 Mac laptop that could theoretically play Netflix 4K content on their built-in displays or via a 4K or 5K external monitor, will no longer be able to do so post this fall when macOS Big Sur rolls out. (Pixabay)

Once Apple releases macOS Big Sur for Macs and MacBooks, you will finally be able to watch 4K HDR Netflix content on your systems. But, there’s a bit of bad news. According to a new Netflix support document, as reported by Apple Terminal, 4K HDR content will only work on 2018 Macs or later ones that come with Apple’s T2 security chip.

So, the Macs and MacBooks that will be able to watch 4K content on Netflix, for now, are -

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iMac 2020

iMac Pro

Mac Pro (2019)

Mac mini (2018)

MacBook Air (2018 and later)

MacBook Pro (2018 and later)

If you want to check whether your Mac or your MacBook has the T2 chip or not, this is what you need to do -

- Press and hold the Option key while choosing Apple menu and click on System Information.

- In the sidebar, select either Controller or iBridge, depending on the version of macOS in use.

- If you see "Apple T2 chip" on the right, your Mac has the Apple T2 Security Chip.

So, older iMacs and pre-2018 Mac laptop that could theoretically play Netflix 4K content on their built-in displays or via a 4K or 5K external monitor, will no longer be able to do so post this Fall when macOS Big Sur rolls out.

It is not immediately known why the T2 security chip is needed to support 4K HDR content from Netflix though.

However, as The Verge speculates, the T2 chip might be able to handle 4K content better because it acts as a co-processor. The T2 has a built-in video processing power and support for the HEVC codec as Apple had mentioned at the 2018 event.

On the Apple website for the latest iMac, Apple has mentioned that the T2 chip makes transcoding HEVC video up to twice as fast as the previous generation. While we are not certain if Netflix uses HEVC for high-res streams, but if it does then the T2 chip could be key in helping Macs play 4K content from the platform better.

Also Read: Apple’s mini-LED iPad Pro and MacBook’s launch time frame revealed: Report

If your Mac or MacBook is compatible and you want to watch 4K Netflix once macOS Big Sur rolls out this fall, you will need to subscribe to Netflix’s Premium plan and you can only watch 4K content if you use Safari. No other browser.

If it makes you feel any better, Mac users aren’t the only ones who need specific requirements to watch 4K Netflix. For Windows users you need to be on Windows 10 and using Microsoft Edge or the Netflix app with a 4K-capable display along with a CPU and a GPU that is powerful enough.

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First Published Date: 02 Oct, 08:27 IST

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