If you use Spotify only to search for a specific song or artist, you’re really missing out.
The music streaming app has had some major updates lately, giving users long-requested features, smart recommendations and family mixes that combine the tracks you and your loved ones enjoy.
Though it’s not native to your smartphone the way Apple Music is, the downloadable app is just as flexible. So you can set it up in the car, on your smart home assistant and download tracks to listen to offline.
Spotify works on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets as well on desktop computers.
A 2019 WSJ report said that Apple overtook the Swedish streaming giant as the most popular service in the U.S. Spotify has distinct offerings including a free ad-supported tier, extensive playlist selection and much-buzzed-about podcast discovery tools.
Still, using the multiplatform app can be confusing whether you’re paying the $9.99 monthly subscription fee or not.
Here’s how to make the most of it
Create your own podcast playlist: Spotify recently rolled out the ability to combine music and podcasts into one playlist. You can start a playlist from scratch, or build on one of the platforms 3 billion user-generated playlists. Here’s how to do it:
1. Select a podcast you’re interested in.
2. Tap the three horizontal dots on the right side of an episode.
3. Tap “Add to playlist.”
4. Select a playlist you’ve already created you like to add it to. Or, tap to create a new playlist from scratch.
Download music and podcasts for your commute: Sometimes being disconnected from cellular service or Wi-Fi is unavoidable, so the app gives you an option to download tracks for when you don’t have access to online data. Here’s how to do it:
1. Navigate to the content you want to stream offline.
2. Find the download toggle and switch it to ON. You’ll know it’s working when it turns green.
3. Once the content in your library is downloaded, you’ll see a green arrow beneath each song’s name.
4. If the track is grayed out when you’re offline, it means you can’t play it until you’re connected to the internet again.
Find a playlist for your coffee break: Spotify created a couple of playlists just for your morning routine at home. The platform created Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Soul Coffee, and Arabic Coffee to choose from. Or you can pick from more than 2 million fan-made “coffee,” “latte,” “caffeine,” “espresso,” “café,” and “kaffe” playlists.
Just type the keywords in the search bar and sift through the options.
Marie Kondo your playlists: If your playlist creating habits become obsessive, there’s a way to organize them so that they’re easier to find. You need the desktop app to create a folder for them, which will show up on your mobile devices. Here’s how to do it:
1. Right-click a playlist in the menu on the left of the desktop app.
2. Select Create Folder.
3. Give it a name and press enter.
To add to the folder, select a playlist from the menu in the left of the desktop app. Then use drag and drop to add it to a playlist folder. You can also build folders within folders by right-clicking a playlist folder and selecting Create folder.
Filter out the curse words: In August, Spotify added a tool that gives adults better control over the content children listen to. And in October, the platform released a blog post detailing how to “filter out songs that might not be appropriate for everyone in your house or car to hear.” Here’s how to do it:
1. On the mobile app, tap the “Home” icon.
2. Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner and pick Settings
3. Scroll down to “Allow Explicit Content” toggle
4. Turn the toggle off (gray).
Find your next favorite song: There are four ways to discover new songs on Spotify. If you want AI to select what you might like, you can listen to Radio playlists. Tap FOLLOW to save a playlist to your radio library and further customize it by liking or disliking tracks.
There’s also a Discover Weekly playlist that makes 30 song recommendations based on your listening history. There’s a Daily Mix feature that’s basically just a playlist based on styles of songs you listen to. And there’s Release Radar, a weekly playlist of new music.