Why won’t Spotify make it easier to avoid using mobile data when streaming music?

Having recently switched to Spotify, one thing has been really bugging me. I’m racking up some serious mobile data usage when listening to music in the car, i.e. when using 3G/4G rather than WiFi. It turns out that I’m not the only one and that this is a problem which people have been reporting to Spotify for years without it being resolved. So why is this proving so difficult to deal with?

So what’s the problem, exactly?

File 08-04-2016, 13 20 02
Spotify has a helpful “Available Offline” feature. Not so useful if you’re forgetful like me…

So here’s the thing. Whenever I plan to listen to music in the car, I try to remember to download the playlist I want by flicking the “Available Offline” switch when I’m still on WiFi (I’m using the Premium service). And that’s a handy feature. The trouble is, in the couple of weeks that I’ve been using Spotify in this way, the Spotify app has racked up over 150MB of mobile data use on my iPhone.

I’ve also got Spotify unchecked under my iOS mobile data settings, which you’d have thought might prevent the app from streaming over a mobile connection, but apparently not…

So you don’t always remember to download, right?

No I don’t. It turns out I’m not perfect, which is something of a disappointment, but hey.

So sometimes I download a playlist, but there’s still some other tracks in my play queue which haven’t been saved. So I’m driving along today enjoying the new Lumineers album (worth checking out by the way) when suddenly I think, how come this is playing when I haven’t downloaded it?

So what’s the solution?

The app already has a toggle switch preventing it from downloading over a mobile network, so why not implement something similar preventing it from streaming that way too.

Can’t you just use Spotify’s Offline Mode like anyone else?

Yes of course I can, but there’s some significant drawbacks with that, such as:

  • I have to remember to enable Offline Mode everytime I’m leaving the house (I’m perfectly happy to stream via my phone when I’m at home, connected to WiFi). And as we’ve established, I’m not perfect and I forget things…
  • I can’t scrobble using Last.fm when in Offline Mode – I know that uses mobile data too, and I’m fine with that – what I don’t want to be doing is using up loads and loads of data when I don’t need to.

What are Spotify doing about this?

I’m glad you asked. I haven’t got a clue. This thread on the support website notes that this feature was first requested back in 2012 and it seems to be a very popular idea. Clearly I am not the only one who would want this. Yet four years later, the problem doesn’t seem to have been solved.

Any ideas anyone?

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