Spotify is perhaps the most popular smartphone music streaming app around, but unlimited music playback comes with a fairly expensive cost—your data. Assuming you aren’t always connected to WiFi, your audiophile needs will not always be met by the parameters of your smartphone’s data plan.
Spotify Data Use and Playback Quality Settings
Spotify has four specific options for music playback quality on its applications for iOS and Android: Normal quality (96kbps), high quality (160kbps), extreme quality (302kbps), and automatic. When sizing up how to measure your Spotify data use, a good thing to keep in mind is how long it will take to reach 1GB on each setting.
Spotify Audio Quality Settings Compared
|Sound Quality (Bitrate)||Per Minute||Per Hour|
If your plan is short on data and you’re willing to sacrifice fidelity, normal quality is your best bet, especially when streaming all day at work or on a road trip. For those middling on the need for high-quality sound, high quality is the way to go. For those interested in the best quality without any hiccups or skipping based on their connection quality, automatic is best.
Spotify saves and caches music you’ve listened to previously, so data costs can be less if you’ve listened to that killer playlist before
Note: Spotify saves and caches music you’ve listened to previously, so data costs can be less if you’ve listened to that killer playlist before.
Best Practices for Minimizing Spotify Data Use
Below are some suggestions for getting the best Spotify streaming experience when on-the-go.
Download Your Music
If you’re the type of Metallica fan who needs to hear every note in high fidelity using Spotify’s “extreme quality” setting, Let’s Talk recommends using the offline download option. By downloading music playlists offline at home, you can avoid potential data overages or network throttling while jamming out. In addition, you can reduce Spotify data use by changing the settings to download songs only when connected to WiFi.
Stick to Automatic Quality
“Automatic Quality” playback gives Spotify listeners the best music playback based on the network connection available. This means regardless of your smartphone being connected to 3G, 4G, or WiFi, you can keep pumping out the highest quality tunes available. However, this can mean putting a dent in your cell phone plan’s data allowance.
Let’s Talk Tip: Keep your smartphone app up to date to reduce Spotify data usage. Updates can remedy bugs in apps that may cause your phone to use more data than necessary during streaming.
Keep Your Application Updated
Keeping your smartphone applications up to date is more important than you might think. If your Spotify application is out of date, there could be bugs causing your phone to use more data than necessary during streaming. Previous versions of the application reportedly downloaded album art and other content repeatedly causing extraneous data use. A simple fix to this problem is to check “auto-update” in your iOS and Android app stores.