If your Mac doesn’t have a T2 chip, you won’t be able to enjoy Netflix in 4K quality.
It’s currently impossible for the Mac operating system to play Netflix in 4K HDR. With the release of macOS Big Sur, that’s set to change.
However, if your Mac was released before 2018 then the enhanced resolution won’t be available to you.
4K Netflix Is Coming to Macs
macOS Big Sur is the next version of Apple’s operating system and is due for release later in fall 2020.
With the update, you will be able to watch Netflix in 4K on your Mac. However, there are some prerequisites to this.
The first is that you have to subscribe to the Netflix premium plan which costs $15.99 a month. The second is that you have to use Safari—other web browsers aren’t supported and can only stream Netflix in 720p.
The largest caveat is that your Mac must have the Apple T2 security chip inside it.
T2 is a second-generation, custom silicon security chip for Mac. According to Apple, “by redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac computers … the T2 chip delivers new capabilities to your Mac”.
Neither Apple nor Netflix have commented on why this limitation exists, though The Verge theorizes that the T2 chip has built-in support for the HEVC video codec, along with the ability to process video quickly and smoothly.
Don’t forget that streaming in 4K also uses a lot of data, so your internet connection will need to be up to the job.
Which Macs Will Support Netflix in 4K?
The following Mac computers have the Apple T2 security chip, which means they will be able to play Netflix in 4K:
- iMac introduced in 2020
- iMac Pro
- Mac Pro introduced in 2019
- Mac mini introduced in 2018
- MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
- MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later
If you’re unsure what model Mac you have, there’s an easy way to see if your Mac has the T2 chip. To check, follow these instructions:
- Hold the Option key and click Apple menu > System Information.
- On the left-hand sidebar, click either Controller or iBridge (the option you see depends on your version of macOS).
- If Apple T2 chip is listed on the main pane, your Mac has the T2 chip and can support 4K Netflix.
Can You Watch 4K Netflix Elsewhere?
The ability to watch Netflix in 4K has been available on other platforms for a long time. For example, you can do it on Windows 10 and on devices like the Roku Premiere.
Slick, smooth, and speedy — the Roku Premiere is an incredible device for such a low price. While it has minor niggles, with such a large choice of apps in such a compact package, this is an amazing media streamer with 4K capabilities at an unmissable price.
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