Spotify, Marshmallow and SD Cards

One of the main selling points of Spotify Premium is the ability to download albums and playlists for offline listening. If you’re taking a long plane flight or going on a road trip, for example, you can download the music so you don’t have to worry about having access to Wi-Fi or LTE to listen to your tunes.

On previous versions of Android, Spotify would look for the storage device on your phone\tablet with the most free space, and save your offline music there. For most folks, this would be a microSD card. Hell, apps like Spotify Premium are one of the main reasons Android users install 32GB (or larger) SD cards in their devices in the first place.

If you’re using Marshmallow – Android 6.0, currently the latest version – you may have noticed Spotify storing music on your device’s internal storage instead of the SD card. This is especially worrying for people who don’t have a lot of spare space on their phones… but even if you do have space, it’s kind of annoying to spend money on an SD card, only to have Spotify ignore it.

What’s happening is that Marshmallow, by default, does not allow apps to access the SD card. The app may request permission, but if you accidentally click “no”, or if the app installer doesn’t ask (or somehow fudges it up during install), it won’t use external storage at all.

So… what to do about Spotify and offline music?

If you DO NOT have Spotify installed, go ahead and install it from Google Play, but don’t open it yet. Instead go to Settings > Apps > Spotify and look for the “Permissions” section:

Spotify Permissions 01

The section will probably say “No permissions granted”. If so, tap it and move the “Storage” slider to the ON position:

Spotify Permissions 02

Exit out of all that, then start Spotify and log in. The app should now save offline music to the SD card. You might want to verify this by tapping Settings > Storage and checking the available space on your SD card before and after downloading some music.

If you ALREADY HAVE Spotify installed on your device, tap Settings > Apps > Spotify > Force stop. Wait for the app to close, then tap “Storage” then “Clear data”. Then go back a page and tap “Permissions” and enable “Storage”, as shown above. When you restart Spotify, you will need to log in again. You’ll also have to download all your offline music again, but this time it should be saved to your SD card instead of internal storage.

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