Does Spotify Use Data?

By Jake McEvoy •  Updated: 02/28/22 •  6 min read

If you’re new to Spotify, you may be curious about how much data the music streaming service consumes whether you’re out and about or just without WiFi. Let’s have a look


In terms of music streaming platforms, Spotify is perhaps the most popular, however, Apple fans and their commitment to Apple Music may give them a run for their money.

More than 82 million tunes are available on the platform, which was launched by the Swedes, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, 15 years ago now. Tracks may be streamed to a range of devices such as phones, tablets, and computers.

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Except in the case of Premium users who have downloaded certain albums and playlists for offline listening, you will almost always need a connection to the internet in order to search and stream music in the majority of cases.

When there is no Wi-Fi access and the user does not have a premium subscription, how does this operate, though?

Does Spotify Use Mobile Data?

Unless you’re a premium user listening to pre-downloaded music and podcasts, you’ll need internet connectivity to stream Spotify. This means that if you don’t have access to WiFi, your phone will utilise mobile data to access content.

Spotify‘s data use is determined by the sound quality you choose. The greater the number, the more data the streaming service will use. In any event, Spotify consumes far less bandwidth than video streaming services, and perhaps even less than most people would assume. Certainly not as much as I thought, anyway.

You may pick from five sound quality levels in the Spotify app: Low (24kbps), Normal (96kbps), High (160kbps), Very high (320kbps), and Automatic, which chooses the optimal option for your connection. On your phone, go to Settings > Music Quality to access these choices.

Compared to the likes of Netflix, the amount of data consumed is practically nothing, although that would likely be assumed anyway.

On low quality, Spotify will consume 0.18MB of data per minute, meaning it will take more than 90 hours to use just 1GB of data. On very high quality, Spotify will consume 2.4MB per minute instead, meaning it will only take just short of 7 hours to use 1GB of data.

Spotify Data Saver Mode

If you’re concerned about the amount of data your phone is using when you’re using Spotify, there is a Data Saver setting available which will show fewer images on the app and automatically reduce sound quality. It also allows you to filter by audio-only Podcasts.

To turn on Data Saver mode, tap Home, go to Settings and simply click Data Saver on.

In addition to this bandwidth limiting feature, there are other ways that you can save the amount of data that you’re consuming when using Spotify.

To begin with – there’s always Spotify Premium. With Spotify Premium, you’re able to download music to your device and stream it from your internal storage instead of directly from the web, which means that as long as you download the songs using Wifi, you will never need to use mobile data on Spotify.

Another way for all users to save data when listening to Spotify is by turning off AutoPlay, which means songs won’t just continue playing after the song you actually selected finishes.

Alternative Music Streaming Platforms

Spotify isn’t the only music streaming service available, and it’s vital to be aware of this since there may be an alternative that better suits your preferences and requirements.

Apple Music

Apple Music is, unsurprisingly, focused firmly towards Apple users, so Android users may choose to search elsewhere – but this isn’t always the case. Apple Music does make a lot of sense if you’re completely involved in Apple’s environment. It costs a reasonable $10 per month or $99 for a yearly subscription. Student membership is $5 per month, while a family membership for up to six persons costs $15 per month.

Apple also announced a new $4.99 membership tier that exclusively works with voice control. Importantly, the ‘Apple Music Voice Plan’ does not allow you to use the Apple Music app to listen to music and does not get you to access Apple Music’s premium features which include everything from Spatial Audio to music videos. If you want any of those benefits, you’ll have to upgrade to an Individual or Family subscription.

The UI is basic but effective and easy to use whether using the desktop or mobile app. The service does an excellent job selecting playlists and making informed suggestions. While there is no free tier, Apple has recently integrated lossless and spatial audio compatibility for Dolby Atmos without costing more.

Tidal

Tidal was developed by some of the music industry’s biggest artists in an effort to create a platform that is more financially generous towards creators.

Subscribers to a Tidal HiFi plan enjoy uninterrupted access to music at up to 1411 kbps for $9.99 per month. There are, however, certain benefits reserved for Tidal’s top tier.

Apart from CD-quality streaming, users to ‘Tidal HiFi Plus’ get access to millions of hi-res audio recordings, which are normally 24-bit/96kHz but may go up to 24-bit/192kHz. These audio files, dubbed ‘Tidal Masters,’ are encoded using Master Quality Authenticated technology, which the business claims allow for more efficient packing of high-resolution data.

Tidal is available on iOS, Android, and PC – all of which support high-resolution streaming – as well as a browser-based player and a variety of other devices, including Sonos. Tidal Connect now enables you to connect to a growing number of gadgets through Wi-Fi.

Deezer

While Deezer has partnered with MQA, a hi-res streaming partner, there are currently no hi-res audio streams available on Deezer — just 16-bit CD quality. This puts it at a disadvantage when compared to Tidal and Qobuz, which provide high-resolution music. Meanwhile, when music comes to accessibility and user-friendliness, its non-HiFi subscription falls slightly short of Spotify.

Deezer does have one ace in its sleeve in the form of 360-degree audio tracks. The immersive format is similar to Dolby Atmos, except it’s tailored to streaming music. It’s a wonderful extra, but it’s only accessible to Deezer’s $14.99 a month ‘HiFi’ tier members, and it’s only available via a separate application.

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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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