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How to Download Songs on Spotify: A Comprehensive Guide

Downloading song on Spotify
Downloading song on Spotify

One-stop guide on how to download songs on Spotify for offline listening; plus some tips and tricks to maximize this feature.

Being able to download songs on Spotify is an enormous convenience. For one, you can listen to music offline, which is helpful if you’re traveling or not getting reception, or conserve mobile data when you’re on the go.

However, the different instructions for downloading songs on Spotify mobile vs desktop can be confusing.

To make things worse, you’ll also have to learn the various download limitations and how to get around them. Else, you can easily be stuck with only being able to listen to Spotify online.

If you’re having difficulties downloading songs on Spotify, we’re here to help. This article will explain how you can get the most from Spotify downloads and help you overcome those pesky download limitations. We’ll also touch upon essential pointers to take note of for Free and Premium users when downloading content. So let’s get to it!

Can You Download Songs Using Spotify Free?

All Spotify content is available for online streaming to both Free and Premium users. However, downloads are a different story.

Spotify Premium users have a wide range of download options for mobile and desktop apps. This includes being able to download albums, playlists, podcasts, and songs on five different devices for offline listening.

In contrast, Spotify Free users can only download podcasts and nothing else.

How to Download Songs on Spotify

Streaming music is less straightforward than we’d like it to be when we’re out and about. WiFi access isn’t always readily available. And mobile data connections can be spotty and unreliable, depending on where you are.

Luckily, downloading songs is an option. This Premium-only feature lets you download your favorite songs and listen to them even without an internet connection. Here’s how:

On iOS, Android, and tablet

  1. Open the Spotify mobile app and go to the album/playlist you want to download.

    Search for the album or playlist you wish to download
    Search for the album or playlist you wish to download
  2. To download an album, tap the downwards arrow next to the heart icon.

    Tap download button for Spotify album/playlist
    Tap download button for Spotify album/playlist
  3. To download a podcast, tap the downwards arrow next to the plus icon.

    Tap download button for Spotify podcast series
    Tap download button for Spotify podcast series
  4. The album/podcast is successfully downloaded when the downwards arrow turns green.

    Successful Spotify download
    Successful Spotify download
With this method, you can choose specific podcast episodes to download. However, when it comes to music, you can only download entire albums and cannot select individual songs from an album. To download individual songs, you’ll need to create a new playlist.

On desktop app

  1. Open the Spotify desktop app and go to the album/podcast you want to download.

    Search for playlist or podcast on Spotify desktop
    Search for playlist or podcast on Spotify desktop
  2. Click the downwards arrow next to the heart icon to download an album.

    Downloading a Spotify album on desktop
    Downloading a Spotify album on desktop
  3. Hover over the podcast tile and click the downwards arrow to download a podcast.

    Downloading a podcast in Spotify desktop app
    Downloading a podcast in Spotify desktop app
  4. The album/podcast is successfully downloaded when the downwards arrow turns green.

    How to know download status in Spotify desktop
    How to know download status in Spotify desktop
Like for mobile apps, this method lets you choose specific podcast episodes to download, but not songs. For the Spotify web player, unfortunately, it does not have an option to download podcasts or music for offline listening.

Spotify Download Limits for Premium Users

As a Premium user, you may be beaming with joy thinking of all the added benefits you’d now be able to soak in. But what if we told you that there are instances where Spotify still won’t download, irrespective of your Premium status.

Here are the main download limitations to take note of even as a Premium user on Spotify:

  • Spotify-only compatibility: Spotify song downloads can only be listened to on the said app. These downloads aren’t saved on your device, nor are they accessible on other music apps. So, if you were hoping to download the songs and then give up your Spotify subscription, it won’t work as both are exclusively linked.
  • Spotify download limits: Spotify allows downloads of up to 10,000 songs per device on five devices max. This means you can have 10,000 unique downloads on each of those devices. The downside is that if you download songs on a 6th device, you’ll lose the downloads on your oldest used device.
  • Log-in requirement: You can listen to Spotify offline for up to 30 days. However, if you stay offline beyond 30 days, you will lose access to your song downloads and will need to re-download everything. To avoid this, go online at least once a month when using Spotify. This allows the app’s servers to verify that your subscription plan is still active.
  • Downloads linked to Premium: Listening to downloaded content on Spotify requires a Premium account. So, if your subscription ends and isn’t renewed, your downloaded content will be removed.

How to Delete Downloaded Songs on Spotify

If you’re fighting for free space on your device, you can opt to delete some of your downloaded Spotify songs. The only catch is that you can’t delete individual songs, only entire albums or playlists.

Simply go to the playlist or album you want to delete, then select the green downwards arrow. When it turns gray, that means those song downloads have been removed. This deletion method also applies to both mobile and desktop apps.

If you’re sure you want to delete all downloaded songs in your library, the ‘Remove all downloads’ option is an easier way to do so. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Spotify mobile app.

    Open Spotify app
    Open Spotify app
  2. Tap the Gear icon in the upper right corner.

    Going to Spotify settings
    Going to Spotify settings
  3. Scroll down until you see Storage.

    Spotify Storage settings
    Spotify Storage settings
  4. Select Remove all downloads.

    Confirming removal of all downloads
    Confirming removal of all downloads
Unfortunately, the ‘Remove all downloads’ option is not available on the desktop app.

What Are the Best Settings for Spotify Music Downloads?

According to Spotify, at least 1GB of space is needed to help the app run smoothly. This is used to store cache files of songs and podcasts for faster loading on slow connections. Song downloads, however, will take up additional space depending on their quality setting.

Spotify Premium has five audio quality settings for both streaming and downloading. These are:

  • Automatic: dependent on the speed of network connection
  • Low: 24 kbit/s
  • Normal: 96 kbit/s
  • High: 160 kbit/s
  • Very High: 320 kbit/s

The main thing to keep in mind when downloading songs is that the higher the quality, the more storage space it’ll consume.

For instance, songs downloaded in Very High quality use up to about 2.4 MB per minute.

Since most songs nowadays average about 197 seconds (roughly 3:28 minutes), a Very High song download would take up 7.88 MB of space. In contrast, the Low setting uses about 0.18 MB per minute and would thus take up only 0.59 MB of space per song.

That said, if you don’t have a lot of free space on your device, it’s best to download songs in Low or Normal quality. But if you’re not keen on listening to lower-quality downloads, you might as well stick to streaming.

On the other hand, if you have a slow internet connection and space to spare, feel free to download songs in High or Very High quality. This way, you can listen to your music without having to suffer through audio stutters.

If you’re concerned about saving mobile data when downloading songs, keep the ‘Download using cellular’ option turned off.

Experts’ Workarounds: Tips & Tricks for Spotify Music Downloads

Despite the limitations mentioned above, there are a few tricks you can employ to get the most out of Spotify music downloads. Here are the main ones to note:

How to download songs on Spotify individually

As we now know, downloading whole albums from Spotify is as easy as pressing a button. Yet we can’t do the same for individual songs for some reason.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this. All you need to do is create a new playlist and simply add the individual song you want to download. This saves you from downloading entire albums for a couple of songs you like. It also saves valuable space on your device.

Adding songs on Spotify Playlists
Adding songs on Spotify Playlists

How to automatically download ‘Liked’ songs on Spotify

You don’t need to create a new playlist every time you have a new set of songs to download. You can, however, ensure liked songs get downloaded automatically. Once you’ve opted to download your liked songs, all future liked songs will also be downloaded.

To add songs to your ‘Liked Songs’ playlist, simply tap the heart icon next to the song in the player.
Liking songs on Spotify
Liking songs on Spotify

The good thing about this is you don’t need to remind yourself to download new content you’ve saved. This is even more true for heavy Spotify users who are constantly discovering new songs.

How to limit Spotify cache size

Downloaded songs and frequently played songs are typically stored in your cache files during each listening session. These cache files are helpful (for downloading content faster), especially when you’re bothered by a slow internet connection.

Unfortunately, Spotify’s cache storage will continue to grow, occupying more storage space as you keep using the app.

This is especially because not only downloaded songs get added to Spotify cache. Songs you have recently played will be stored in your cache files as well. This keeps things running smoothly even when you suddenly lose connection.

So, although the cache files are useful, they can be detrimental if your device is low on disk space. Eventually, you’ll be left with no room for new downloads. You may also experience syncing problems and slower device response due to this.

The good news is that desktop users can avoid this by setting a limit on the Spotify cache size. Here’s how:

On macOS

  1. Close the Spotify app.

    Closing Spotify app
    Closing Spotify app
  2. Click Go on the Menu Bar the click Go to Folder.

    Opening 'Go to Folder'
    Opening ‘Go to Folder’
  3. Tpye “~/Library/Application Support/Spotify/prefs” in the Search bar.

    Searching for Application Support on Mac
    Searching for Application Support on Mac
  4. Open the prefs file in TextEdit.

    Selecting prefs
    Selecting prefs
  5. Add a new line in this format: “storage.size=”. Make sure to assign a specific value in megabytes after the equals sign. For example, if you want to limit your Spotify cache to 500 MB, the command should look like this: “storage.size=500”.

    Setting storage size limit
    Setting storage size limit
  6. Save the file when you’re done, then restart Spotify. You’ll find the cache has shrunk to the size specified.

    Saving changes
    Saving changes

On Windows

  1. Close the Spotify app.

    Closing Spotify Windows app
    Closing Spotify Windows app
  2. Open the Spotify folder by typing “%localappdata%\Packages\SpotifyAB.SpotifyMusic_xxxxxxxxxxxxx\LocalState\Spotify” in the File Explorer search bar.

    Opening Spotify's offline storage location
    Opening Spotify’s offline storage location
  3. Open the prefs file in Windows Notepad or any other text editor of your choice.

    Opening 'prefs' via Notepad
    Opening ‘prefs’ via Notepad
  4. Add a new line in this format: “storage.size=”. Make sure to assign a specific value in megabytes after the equals sign. For example, if you want to limit your Spotify cache to 500 MB, the command should look like this: “storage.size=500”.

    Setting storage size limit for Spotify Windows app
    Setting storage size limit for Spotify Windows app
  5. Save the file when you’re done, then restart Spotify. Your cache should have decreased in size.

    Saving 'pref' changes
    Saving ‘pref’ changes
The option to manually set limits on Spotify cache size is currently not available for iOS & Android mobile apps. However, the idea has already made its way to Spotify’s internal teams, and with any luck, they may introduce the option in the near future.

Conclusion

With the tips and tricks we’ve mentioned in the article, we hope downloading songs on Spotify will no longer seem overwhelming to you.

There aren’t many boxes to tick here; you need only apply these key tips to max out your listening experience on Spotify, i.e., create custom playlists to download individual songs. Or, for more convenience, set up automatic downloads.

Use Local Files feature if you don’t want to exceed the download limit on Spotify. And most importantly, go online at least once every 30 days to keep your downloads.

Hopefully, this article will have helped you discover new ways to get the most out of Spotify and everything it has to offer.

Curious about other streaming platforms? Check out the best Spotify alternatives you can consider!

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below if our recommendations worked for you. If you’d like to share some tips of your own, please do share them as well!

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