macOS Big Sur is adding 4K Netflix support, but only on a handful of Macs

(Image credit: Netflix)

macOS Big Sur will allow users to stream Netflix in 4K HDR for the first time, but it looks like only a handful of Macs will support the feature. 

As reported by Apple Terminal, streaming Netflix content in 4K will require more than a Mac that supports Big Sur. It spotted a newly-updated support document on Netflix's Help Center that reveals only devices with a T2 Security chip will support the high-quality streaming. 

The support page confirms that as well as a Mac with macOS 11.0 Big Sur and the latest version of Safari installed, a 60Hz 4K-capable display, you’ll need a “select 2018 or later Mac with an Apple T2 Security chip.”

This means in order to stream Netflix in 4K on macOS, you’ll need a MacBook Pro (2018 or later), MacBook Air (2018 or later), Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (2019), an iMac Pro or Apple’s latest iMac 2020

News of the stringent requirements hasn’t gone down well with macOS users on Reddit, with one user complaining: "The most likely theory appears to be studios insisting on stronger Digital Rights Management (DRM) protections against content ripping. Reddit users note that there are also specific chip requirements for 4K Netflix streaming on Windows PCs."

The reason for the unusual requirement remains unclear, but one Reddit user has speculated that it stems from studies insisting on stronger Digital Rights Management (DRM) protections against content ripping. 

Some are also suggesting that perhaps this is Netflix's way of ensuring that viewers don't trying and stream HDR content on older Mac devices, which could result sub-par performance.

macOS Big Sur is now up to its ninth public beta, and is likely to rollout to the public later this month.

Carly Page

Carly Page is a Freelance journalist, copywriter and editor specialising in Consumer/B2B technology. She has written for a range of titles including Computer Shopper, Expert Reviews, IT Pro, the Metro, PC Pro, TechRadar and Tes.