Spotify has been streaming music since 2008, and it’s changed a lot in that time. New features are constantly added to its apps and the platform as a whole. Just in case there are still some tricks and tools that you haven’t yet spotted, these are some of our favorites—some recently added, and some that have been around for longer.
If you’ve deleted a playlist that you later decide you should have actually kept, it’s not gone forever. Log into your account on the Spotify website (not the online player), click the Recover playlists link on the left, and you’ll see playlists that you’ve deleted recently. Click Restore to bring any of them back. Your deleted playlists are kept on this page for 90 days until they disappear for good, so you do get some time to change your mind.
Spotify is smart enough to sync the playback of your music across multiple devices and platforms, so you can control the flow of your music from anywhere. For example, if you start up a playlist in the Spotify app for Android, you can then open the web app and use it to stop and restart the playback on your phone. Tap the devices icon (which looks like a speaker in front of a monitor or TV) in any app to switch playback to a different gadget.
By default Spotify lets your friends on the service know what you’re listening to, but if you want to put this on pause you can start a private listening session. On the desktop, click your account name (top right), then Private Session; on mobile, tap Home, then the cog icon (top right), then turn the Private session toggle switch on. According to Spotify, a long period of inactivity or restarting the Spotify app will disable the private session.
If certain artists are appearing in your recommended playlists and radio stations that you’d rather not hear from, you can block them and stop them showing up. In one of the mobile apps, navigate to the main page for the artist you’re not all that keen on, then tap the three dots to bring up more options, and choose Don’t play this artist. If you later have a change of musical heart, go back into the same menu and pick Allow to play this artist.
You might have built up a lot of liked songs down the years on Spotify, and there’s now a way to sift through that long list of tracks inside the mobile apps. Tap Your Library and then Liked Songs, and you’ll see some auto-generated mood and genre labels. Tap any label to apply the appropriate filter, and tap the X button to go back to your main list. The labels you see at the top will change depending on what’s in your Liked Songs playlist.
Whether you’ve just discovered a new artist that you want to share with a friend, or you’ve compiled a playlist for a partner, you can share just about anything on Spotify with Spotify Codes. Tap the three dots next to just about anything on Spotify—playlists, tracks, albums, artists—to bring up a code. To read a code, in the Spotify app tap Search, then the search field, then the camera button. You can scan a code directly or extract it from a screenshot.
Those of you with tracks left over from the pre-streaming digital music era don’t have to leave those rare b-sides and live cuts behind, because you can import them straight into Spotify. In the desktop app for Windows or macOS, click your profile name (top right), then Settings, and then enable the Show Local Files feature. Folders for your local files can be added underneath. Premium users can also sync these local files to their mobile devices.
If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber then you can take advantage of the Group Session feature that’s currently in beta: Essentially, it lets you listen along with other people, and build a playlist collaboratively, whether these other people are on the same road trip as you on or on the other side of the world. Tap the devices icon on mobile, then scroll down to find the Start session button, which gives you a code you can then share with others.
The serious music collectors among you might know that personal Spotify libraries used to have a limit on them—to the tune of 10,000 tracks, to be exact. That limit has now been removed, which means you can add as many tracks and albums to your own library without having to worry about hitting an error message along the way. The 10,000 limit remains for items in a single playlist, and for the maximum number of offline tracks.
If you want to extend a playlist without having to think of any more tracks yourself, use Spotify’s recommendation engine for the job: Scroll down to the bottom of any playlist in any Spotify app to see some recommendations based on what’s already in the playlist (you may need to expand the recommended list if it’s not open already). If you don’t like the suggestions you get to begin with, tap or click the Refresh button to get a new selection.
In case you missed it: Spotify HiFi is coming later this year, bringing you CD-quality, lossless audio to supported devices that should really make the most of any high-end speakers and other equipment you’ve got. We don’t know exactly how much this new tier is going to cost, and in terms of a launch date all we know is that it’s making its debut at some point in 2021, but it will be “coupled with Spotify’s seamless user experience.”
If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you can download tracks to your phone for when you don’t have a strong internet connection, but it’s also worth downloading your favorite playlists to local storage in the desktop apps as well. Use the Download toggle switches at the top of your playlists. It means you’re protected against a flaky or non-existent wifi connection, and eases the strain on your home or office network once they’re saved.
(Updated 3/4/22 with new details)