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  • VP9 and HEVC are video compression standards that aim to reduce the file size and bandwidth of 4K videos.
  • Apple only supports HEVC, while Google only supports VP9.
  • We used to be able to watch 4K YouTube videos encoded in H264 in ~2016. Google switched to VP9 only for 4K videos, essentially banning 4K videos on Apple Safari and iOS YouTube.
  • Not only that, macOS devices only got VP9 decoders in MacBook Pro 2019. Technically we could watch 4K+ videos using Chrome on MacBooks, but the videos were decoded on CPUs, using the CPU 400%.
  • Starting iOS 14, Apple added VP9 support; Google eventually won. Now we can play 4K videos on macOS Safari and iOS YouTube using this. Apple GPU also now supports VP9 decoding.
  • Similar to USDZ vs glTF