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How to make offline playlists in Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal

Offline Playlists

There are so many benefits to using streaming music apps rather than downloading music onto your phone.

Namely, there’s a seemingly infinite library of songs at your fingertips at all times and it doesn’t take up any storage space (you need that for all of your apps!) at all.

But there’s a caveat: When you’re offline—like riding the subway, on a plane, or in a remote area with spotty service— your infinite library goes POOF. Suddenly, you’re faced with search that won’t load and songs that pause every three seconds.

Thankfully, all of the popular apps offer offline playlists, you just have to know how to use them and do a little prep work ahead of time, so when you do find yourself in one of those situations, you’ve got plenty of tunes ready to go. Here’s how to make it happen:

Offline Playlists

Offline Playlists: Spotify


Spotify lets you save up to 3,333 songs for offline listening. (That should be enough, no?) By default, it only allows you to download when you’re on WiFi, but you can change that if you want to download via your network, by going to Settings > Download Using Cellular. When you’re ready to download:

  1. Go to whatever song, album, or playlist you want to make available offline. If you want to make all of your previously saved songs available, go to Your Library > Songs.
  2. At the top, toggle the Download switch to green. When songs have finished downloading, you’ll see a green arrow next to them (and they’ll be saved in Your Library).
  3. You’ll automatically enter Offline Mode whenever you lose your internet connection, but if you want to manually listen to songs without using a connection, you can also go Your Library > Settings > Playback, and toggle to the Offline Mode switch to green. (This is a good strategy if you have service but no WiFi and are concerned about using too much data.)

Apple Music

It’s easy to download music for offline listening in Apple Music too, but an important note: while your saved songs and playlists will be on all of your devices if you’re using iCloud, downloads will only be saved on the device you download them on. How to do it:

  1. In the Music app, find the song, album, or playlist you want to download.
  2. Tap the little red cloud with an arrow pointing down—that’s the download button. (If you don’t see the icon, you may need to add the music to your Library first.)
  3. To see the music you’ve downloaded and listen to it later, go to Library > Downloaded Music.
  4. Bonus: If you want to automatically download all the music you add to your Library to your phone, you can go to Settings > Music, scroll down to Downloads, and choose Automatic Downloads.


Indie favorite Tidal also lets you download music for offline listening in a way that’s very similar to Spotify. Here’s how:

  1. When you’re browsing music, click on any album or playlist.
  2. Press the Offline switch right below the playlist or album name.
  3. This starts the download process. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, just make sure to keep the Tidal app open until the process completes, as it will stop if you close it.
  4. Once downloaded, songs, albums, and playlists are available in the left-hand menu under Offline Content.
  5. You can manually put Tidal into Offline Mode by pressing Offline in the left menu, and turn it off by pressing the same button again.

Okay, now go get your offline library ready for that upcoming flight, and happy listening!

What are some other tips and tricks you rely on for using streaming music apps most effectively? Share them in the comments, below!

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