Are My Spotify Playlists Automatically Public?

By Jake McEvoy •  Updated: 01/11/22 •  6 min read

When we create a new playlist on Spotify, is it private by default or is it automatically made public for other users to find? Let’s investigate…


It’s odd how we may be self-conscious about our musical preferences. I’m normally quite open about my own tastes with friends, family and the guy stood next to me at the bar, but on the train, I find myself making sure no one can hear my music – not out of politeness, but because I don’t want to be judged by London-bound suits for some reason.

It’s understandable why some people might not want their playlists found on Spotify – we all have our guilty pleasures, like Vengaboys, Justin Bieber and most chart music from between the years 2009 and 2013. These examples aren’t suspiciously specific; I definitely plucked them out of thin air.

Are My Spotify Playlists Automatically Public?
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When we create new playlists on Spotify, they’re either collections of very specific, similar songs within a genre, or compilations of songs from a broad range of artists and genres that we title “Favourites Winter 2021/22”, and it’s usually the latter example that might contain a few questionable gems.

So, before your friends discover what you’ve been secretly listening to, is your Spotify playlist publicly available for the world to see?

Are Spotify Playlists Public By Default?

The playlists that you create on Spotify are in fact public by default, however, if you want to keep them private, it’s very easy to do so.

You can opt to keep your personal Spotify playlists private if you don’t want other users to see them. They won’t appear on your profile page this way, and they’ll be hidden from public view. Phew!

You can make a playlist private whether you’re using the Spotify website, desktop application, or mobile app. Whichever platform you prefer to use, you’ll find instructions for making your playlists private below.

How To Make Your Spotify Playlist Private On A Computer

This method applies whether you use the Spotify application or the Spotify Web Player on their website.

  1. Start by using the Spotify online player or desktop application and logging into your account.
  2. Open the playlist that you wish to keep hidden from your profile page by selecting it from the sidebar on the left.
  3. Select “Make secret” from the menu that appears after clicking More (three horizontal dots).

Your playlist will now be private and users will not be able to search for it or stumble across it by mistake from your profile.

How To Make Your Spotify Playlist Private On Mobile

This method applies whether you use an iPhone or an Android phone, as the mobile applications for both are basically the same.

  1. Tap “Your Library” in the bottom right corner of your screen once you’ve signed into your Spotify account on your mobile device.
  2. Open the playlist that you wish to make private by clicking on its name.
  3. More (three vertical dots) will appear in the upper-right corner of your screen when you tap it.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the choices list and choose “Make private,” then confirm your choice.

How To Make Your New Playlists Private By Default

Now that you’ve gone through all your Spotify playlists and made them all private, it might be a good idea to change your settings so that they are private by default upon creation. Here’s how:

  1. After logging in to the desktop app, pick Settings from the menu by clicking your profile symbol in the upper-right corner of your screen.
  2. Toggle the option to “Make my new playlists public” off in the Social section.

It’s that simple. From now on, when you create a new playlist on Spotify it will be private by default. You can relax and enjoy your Classical-Screamo playlist without a soul knowing about it (unless you play it too loud on the train).

It is still possible to share your private playlists with like-minded people without having to make them public, so once you’ve made your playlists private by default there really isn’t any need to change this setting back to ‘public by default’.

Are Collaborative Playlists Public?

Collaborative playlists are a terrific way to share podcast suggestions, exchange your most recent music discoveries, and put together the ultimate playlists with your closest friends.

Collaborative playlists will be either public or private depending on which option you have on by default. If you followed the steps above and made all your new playlists private by default, then any collaborative playlists that you create will now follow suit.

If you’re collaborating on a playlist that you were invited to and the playlist is owned by somebody else, whether or not it is public or private will depend on that user’s settings. If it’s public and you don’t want it to be, either ask them to change it in their settings or cease to collaborate.

Collaborative playlists do mention which user added each song, so bear this in mind when you’re adding songs to the playlist as well.

Here’s how to create a collaborative playlist on Spotify:

  1. On your computer, phone or tablet, choose ”Your Library from the menu.
  2. Go to Playlists and choose the playlist you want to collaborate with someone (bearing in mind that you can only collaborate on playlists that you’ve made).
  3. To make the playlist collaborative, click on the ‘Add user’ button at the top of the playlist.
  4. Commence requesting contributions from others by posting on social media, via messaging applications, or simply by copying and pasting the URL into an email.

Now that you’ve finished your masterpiece, use Spotify’s new ‘Group Session’ feature to listen to it together in real-time, whether you’re physically in each other’s presence or on either side of the planet.

Maybe try sneaking a few of your guilty pleasures into the collaborative playlist, too. It might go down well, and if not, you could always claim it as a mistake – just have another song with the same name on standby.

How To Listen To Spotify From Your Web Browser
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Jake McEvoy

Jake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.

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