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How much data does Spotify use?

Music streaming is considerably easier on your data than video streaming.

Brodie Fogg
Jun 16, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read

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With data allowances what they are these days, you’re not likely to exceed your monthly usage by streaming music. It’s a different story for sites like YouTube or streaming services like Netflix. But for the most part, streaming music with Spotify uses a comparatively modest amount of data. Of course, you can still make a dent if you’re streaming music all day on a mobile connection but if you’re only using mobile data on the go, listening to Breaking Benjamin isn’t going to break the bank.

Spotify graphic

How much data does Spotify streaming use per hour?

Roughly 144MB per hour at most.

Streaming music on Spotify can use roughly anywhere between 10MB and 144MB per hour. It just depends on what audio quality you’re streaming in.

Spotify gives you five options for audio quality: Low, Normal, High, Very High and Automatic. Automatic is the recommended setting for most users as it adapts the audio quality with the strength of your network connection. If your internet connection is slow, the audio quality will dip in order to avoid any buffering or interruptions. At the other end of the spectrum, Very High quality is a 320kbps stream that’s exclusive to the Spotify Premium tier. The audio quality can be changed in the Spotify app settings.

Spotify doesn’t offer any concrete numbers on data usage. Mostly because each stream is different so even though we can give rough data usage estimates based on each quality tier’s bitrate, data usage is likely to fluctuate.

Mode
Kbps
One hour stream
40-hour work week
Low24Kbps10.8MB432MB
Normal96Kbps43.2MB1.7GB
High160Kbps72MB2.9GB
Very High (Premium)320Kbps144MB5.7GB
Podcast (mobile)96Kbps43.2MB1.7GB

Let’s say in the most extreme case, you stream Very High quality music for the entire nine-to-five workday five days per week. You could potentially rack up around 5.7GB over the entire week. But then again, you’re not likely to be streaming Spotify for eight hours per day on a mobile connection. If anything you’d be connected to your home or office WiFi, where data is, hopefully, unlimited. Even so, if you do need to upgrade your plan to make room for more mobile Spotify streaming, take a look at these high-data mobile plans below.

Popular high data-usage mobile SIM plans

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Data usage for Spotify podcasts, video and Canvas
The exception to these usage metrics applies to three visual Spotify features: podcasts, video and Canvas. Audio podcasts stream at 96kbps (same as Normal quality music streaming) by default in the mobile app but a little higher at 128kbps in the web player. On mobile devices, you can lower the quality of podcasts, just like music, to stream at approximately 24kbps. Select podcasts will also play video automatically, but only when viewing the “Now Playing” window. Canvas, a looping visualisation on select tracks, will also use a little more data but unlike podcasts and videos, the brief video loop only loads once and won’t continue to use additional data throughout the duration of the track. Spotify is pretty vague about data usage on its video features, stating only that it uses as much data as other popular video services. For comparison, YouTube uses up approximately 264MB per hour for 480p quality video, 870MB per hour for 720p video and 1650MB per hour for 1080p HD video.
Does Spotify Premium use data?
Yes. Paying for Spotify Premium not only uses data but it also potentially uses even more data as paying for Premium unlocks the Very High audio quality option, which uses a lot more data than the other three options.
Does Spotify Premium use data?

This is a semi-common complaint from Spotify users. Spotify has an Offline Mode that allows users to restrict data usage and only allow playback of downloaded music or podcasts. It’s possible to accidentally enable this feature. If you head to Settings in the Spotify app, and click Playback, you should be able to see if Offline Mode is enabled. If it is, simply turn it off.

If you’re on an iPhone, it’s also possible you’ve manually switched off mobile data usage for the Spotify app. To check, navigate to Settings > Mobile (Cellular) Data and scroll down to Spotify. If the toggle is green, mobile data is enabled. If it’s grey, then mobile data has been blocked in the Spotify app. To enable it again, simply tap the toggle button so that it’s green (on).

Finally, some users have reported the issue to be something not so easily fixed. In cases where the above methods don’t work, resetting all Spotify settings has helped remedy the issue. In the Spotify app, navigate to Settings > General > Reset All Settings. The most desperate Spotify users have found this method to work in restoring mobile data connectivity.

If nothing’s wrong on Spotify’s end, the problem might be with your service provider. If Spotify is working as expected on WiFi and you’ve followed the steps above, you might be experiencing connectivity issues. If it’s a network issue, you should notice issues outside of Spotify. Try running an internet speed test. If that fails to deliver a result, or download speeds are much slower than expected, it could be an issue with your mobile service provider or network. We’ve got a comprehensive guide for troubleshooting slow internet on your phone.

Does Spotify use a lot of data?
Comparatively, Spotify does not use a lot of data, especially compared to video streaming services which can sometimes use up to 7GB per hour at a time. In the most extreme cases, it can use up to 144MB per hour but that’s only on the Very High audio quality option.
Brodie Fogg
Written by
Brodie Fogg
Brodie Fogg is the Australian editorial lead at Reviews.org. He has covered consumer tech, telecommunications, video games, streaming and entertainment for over five years at websites like WhistleOut and Finder and can be found sharing streaming recommendations at 7NEWS every month.

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