How much time do you spend listening to Spotify every day? If the answer is “a lot” you might also be churning through your phone plan’s data allowance faster than you’d like.
Here we cover just how much data Spotify uses, plus some tips and suggestions to reduce your data consumption, without impacting on your enjoyment of the platform’s 50 million track-strong library.
How much data does Spotify actually use?
There are multiple factors that can affect both how much data is consumed while streaming music on Spotify and how much of that data actually counts against your monthly data allowance.
Streaming quality is one of the biggest factors, with Spotify sporting four discreet quality settings: Low, Medium, High and Very High. The higher the quality setting, the more data gets used.
Here’s how Spotify’s various quality settings convert to actual data usage, using a three-minute song as an example and if maintained over the course of an hour of playback:
|Quality setting||Bit rate||Data consumed by three-minute song||Data consumed in one hour|
|Very High||320 kbits/s||7.2MB||144MB|
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How to reduce data consumption on Spotify
So long as you’re willing to sacrifice the actual audio quality (based on bit rate) of the music you’re listening to, you can make your data go much further than it usually would.
Turn on Data Saver
The most obvious and accessible solution is to turn on Spotify’s dedicated Data Saver feature.
To do this, open Spotify on your phone, make sure you’re on the Home page and then head to the settings menu (the cog icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen).
The first option you’re presented with should be ‘Data Saver’ – tap the toggle on Android or jump into the Data Saver menu and then tap the toggle on iOS to turn it on.
Data Saver automatically sets streaming quality to ‘Low’ and disables Canvas – the short looping videos that usually appear within Spotify when playing certain tracks.
Lower audio quality settings manually
By default, Spotify’s music quality is set to ‘Automatic’, which varies streaming quality dynamically based on your internet connection (be it cellular or WiFi).
If you want to reduce your data usage but don’t want to enable Data Saver (perhaps you really like Canvas and want to keep it on), you can manually set stream quality to remain consistent regardless of your connection type.
As with the steps outlined in Data Saver, open Spotify on your phone, make sure you’re on the Home page and then head to the settings menu (the cog icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen).
On Android, scroll down to Music Quality in the settings menu and next to the drop-down for Streaming (and if you want, Download), change it to your preferred quality setting – remember, lower is better.
On iOS, scroll down to and tap on Music Quality (the ninth option in the settings menu) and once on the Music Quality setting screen, change the quality under Streaming (and if you want, under Download) to your preferred quality setting – remember, lower is better.
If you don’t want to change your current music quality setting but still want to reduce Spotify’s data consumption, turn off Canvas.
Within Spotify, head to the settings menu (the cog icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen) and – on Android – scroll down to Canvas and simply flip the toggle to turn the feature off.
On iOS, once in Spotify’s settings menu, open the Playback sub-menu (third option down), scroll down and then flip the toggle next to Canvas.
There’s every chance that you don’t want to sacrifice audio quality (or disable Canvas) to save on data, and that’s okay!
Thankfully, Spotify supports offline playback, meaning you can download tracks to your phone while connected to WiFi (thus not using any of your data allowance) ahead of time and then listen to them whenever you desire, without gobbling up a single byte of mobile data.
Spotify Premium and Spotify Family users will find the option to download Liked Songs, albums and playlists on their respective screens.
With the exception of Liked Songs, which both feature a download toggle, on Android users will find a toggle to download albums and playlists, whilst iOS users will see a downward-facing arrow within a circle that, when tapped, turns green once downloading has finished.
Note: Downloading tracks for offline playback takes up space on your phone’s local storage.
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