Searching Your Playlists on Spotify Mobile

A reader of this blog sent me an email recently to ask how to search for an artist or song in playlists on Spotify Mobile. This would seem like a simple question with a simple answer. Unfortunately Spotify have made it rather difficult to do this, but there is a way to kind of get what you want. Read on for the solution!

Reader Joe asked the following:

I’ve recently upgraded to Spotify Premium and am having trouble with it on Mobile. I’d like to be able to see a list of artists in my playlists. Is there any way of listing artists so it’s easier for my to find the song I want?

A simple request it seems: you have lots of playlists so obviously you’d want some way of searching them. What you’d expect to be able to do is this:

Search tabs show you results for Tracks, Albums, and Artists. But not Playlists.

You’d expect to go to the Search tab, type your query, then view the results in a Playlists tab. But there’s no Playlist tab there (the image on the right above is my mock-up of how I think it should look).

On the desktop you can view your Library, select Edit > Filter (Ctrl-F) then type a search query to search your playlists like this:

On the desktop, use the Library Filter to search in your playlists

This doesn’t show you which playlist the results are in, but you can at least sort the results by Track/Artist/Album. Note the the results are listed in the order they appear on the original album, not in the order you have them in your playlists.

There’s also a filter option on Spotify Mobile but (a) it’s hidden and (b) it doesn’t really work very well. To find it:

  • On iPhone, swipe the screen down to reveal the hidden Filter option at the top
  • On Android,¬†view your library of all tracks then pull the list down to reveal the hidden Filter option

Pull the Library list down to reveal the hidden Filter option

Tap Filter to display the keyboard for you to type your search. As you type, the songs listed are filtered down and a popup shows you the query. This has the unfortunate effect of obscuring the middle row of the keyboard but you can still just about see what you’re doing:

The filter on Spotify Mobile

As with the desktop, these filter results don’t tell you what playlist the songs are in but at least on the desktop you can sort the results: here you can’t, everything is listed in alphabetical order based on song title. This means that if you click on a song to listen to it, the next song played is the next song alphabetically, not the next song on the album.

The Filter option also claims that you can long-press the Menu button, but doing that just takes you to the regular Search tab which is not the same as the filter.

Another bug is that if you go back to the main Playlists tab, the Library counter shows the number of tracks based on the filter (for example, “10 tracks”). Useful you’d think, but if you then click on the Library again it lists the first 10 (or however many) tracks of your entire library, not the filter results!


So that’s how you search your playlists on Spotify Mobile. You can’t search based on the name of your playlists (how useful would that be?) and because the results are alphabetical, playing the results can be a somewhat random affair.

Note the examples above use Spotify Mobile for Android, which is notoriously buggy and lacking in features compared with Spotify Mobile for iPhone.