Nowadays, you can stream music and audio on nearly any device. Services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music make this process straightforward, accessible, and convenient. However, streaming even the lowest-quality music files requires data. So, how much data does Spotify use?
By default, Spotify’s music quality is adjusted automatically based on your internet connection. You can change the quality in settings, and data use ranges from 24Kbps/90MB per hour on “low” to 320Kbps/1.2GB per hour on “very high.” Download your favorites and disable Canvas to reduce data use.
If you aren’t using an unlimited data plan, streaming music can eat away at your monthly allotment. Depending on the music quality, you can easily rack up a gigabyte or more of data per day. Thankfully, there are ways you can lower Spotify’s data consumption without sacrificing your music quality. Let’s look at everything you need to know about this.
Data Usage Per Hour From Streaming Music on Spotify
The amount of data you use while listening to music depends on the quality you’re streaming. Spotify provides its customers with different quality options based on their subscription level. Whether you’re listening through a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, Spotify offers these options:
- Low (free & premium): Streams music at 24 Kbps and will use approximately 90 MB per hour (or 0.09 GB per hour).
- Normal (free & premium): Streams music at 96 Kbps and will use approximately 345 MB per hour (or 0.35 GB per hour).
- High (free & premium): Streams music at 160 Kbps and will use approximately 576 MB per hour (or 0.6 GB per hour).
- Very high (premium only): Streams music at 320 Kbps and will use approximately 1.2 GB per hour.
Any by the way, if you’re using the Spotify Car Thing (on Spotify’s site), that shouldn’t change any of these numbers at all.
What is the “Automatic” Streaming Option on Spotify?
By default, Spotify sets its music streaming quality at “Automatic” for both free and premium users. The automatic streaming option allows Spotify to adjust the amount of data you’re using based on your internet connection.
This means if you have a poor WiFi signal, Spotify will adjust the quality to compensate. The automatic streaming option uses a minimum of 96 kbps and can save you data in the long run.
Does Spotify Use More or Less Streaming Data than Pandora?
In the modern age, there’s a wide array of streaming services to choose from. Each music service will have different quality options to choose from. The music quality of some of these services is based on the files themselves, while others are based on your subscription level.
Spotify uses more streaming data than Pandora when you’re using their normal, high, or very high options. However, if you use the “Low” streaming setting, Spotify will use less data than Pandora. Generally speaking, Spotify is going to use up more data because you can use much more within the app.
How Much Data Does Pandora Use?
Paid Pandora accounts have three music quality options, regardless of how you’re listening. The music streaming service will default to high-quality unless it’s adjusted. Here are the full Pandora tiers:
- Pandora Free: WiFi streams music at 128 Kbps and will use approximately 60-70 MB per hour.
- Pandora Free: Mobile data streams music at 64 Kbps automatically and will use roughly 30 MB per hour.
- Pandora Plus or Premium: WiFi or mobile data uses 192 Kbps automatically and will use approximately 90 MB per hour.
How Can You Decrease the Amount of Data Used to Stream Spotify?
345 MB of data per hour when streaming “normal” quality music can add up fast. If you’re listening to music while you commute, exercise, or work, this can turn into multiple gigabytes of data used per day. Thankfully, there are ways you can decrease the amount of data used when you’re streaming music from Spotify.
Change Your Music Quality
The first and most straightforward way to reduce the amount of data Spotify uses is by changing your music quality. For example, if you stream your music on the “High” setting, you could save around 0.25 GB of data per hour. To change your streaming quality, follow these simple steps:
1. Open your Spotify app.
2. Select the gear icon to open the Spotify Settings Menu.
3. Scroll down until you see “Audio Quality,” then tap the option.
4. You should see “WiFi Streaming” and “Cellular Streaming” options. From there, you can select Low, Normal, High, or Automatic. If you’re a paid subscriber, you will also see “Very High.”
Turn on Data Saver
Another way you can save data while using Spotify is to enable their dedicated Data Saver feature. This feature automatically adjusts your streaming quality to “Low” and disables Canvas.
1. Open Spotify on your smartphone and go to the Home page.
2. Select the gear icon near the top right-hand corner of the screen to access the Settings menu.
3. You should see the option for “Data Saver.” If you’re using Android, simply tap the toggle button. For iOS, enter the Data Saver menu and select the toggle to turn it on.
Another way you can reduce Spotify’s data consumption is by disabling the Canvas feature. The Canvas feature enables the short looping videos that appear for certain tracks. Disabling Canvas can save you data while preserving your streaming quality. Here’s how to disable Spotify Canvas:
1. Open the Spotify app.
2. Go to the Settings menu by selecting the gear icon near the top-right-hand corner of your screen.
3. From there, Android users can scroll down until they see the Canvas option and turn the feature off.
4. iOS users will need to open the Playback sub-menu, scroll down until they see Canvas, and finally turn it off by using the toggle.
Use Offline Playback
If you don’t want to sacrifice your audio quality or disable Canvas, you still have options to save data. Spotify offers offline playback. This means you can download songs and albums to your phone ahead of time. You can even use WiFi to download these tracks to avoid using data altogether.
This feature is only available for Spotify Premium and Spotify Family users. Using an Android device, you’ll see a toggle button to download albums and playlists. iOS users will have a downward-facing arrow button to download songs, albums, and playlists.
Keep in mind downloading songs, albums, and playlists will take up local storage on your device of choice.
How Much Data Does Spotify Use?
Spotify defaults to streaming music at 96 Kbps and will use approximately 345 MB per hour (or 0.35 GB per hour). Spotify is one of the more data-excessive streaming services.
You can lower the amount of data Spotify consumes by changing the music quality, turning on a data saver, and disabling certain features.