Spotify on Android: Workarounds for Missing Features

The new Spotify for Android app has been widely praised (not least by me) but there were some features from the previous version that were either dropped completely or hidden away. Fear not though as there are some workarounds you can try: read on to find out how!

 

How to Play Local Music Files

Spotify on Android used to have a Local Files area that listed all the MP3s and other non-Spotify music files stored on your phone. You could then use Spotify like any other music player. The new version of Spotify has removed the Local Files list, but you can still play MP3s by adding them via the desktop:

  1. Start Spotify on your phone.
  2. Now start Spotify on the desktop then drag-and-drop the MP3s you want to a new playlist.
  3. Select your phone from the Devices list, locate the playlist then set it to sync. The MP3s will be downloaded from your PC to the phone.

Most of these mixes are MP3s downloaded from my PC to my phone.

Of course this is a bit of a long-winded workaround and might seem daft if you already have the MP3s on your phone in the first place. But it does work! Just be sure your phone is on the same WiFi network as your PC and that you let the files finish syncing before you quit Spotify on the desktop or phone.

 

How to Play Your Entire Library

Spotify’s Android app used to have a Library area that alphabetically listed all of the tracks in all of your playlists. People liked to play this on shuffle and it also had a handy hidden filter to search only songs you’d added (not the entire Spotify catalog). The new Spotify for Android removed the Library view for whatever reason. But you can still play your entire library if you make use of playlist folders. Here’s how:

Every playlist folder has an “All Tracks” link at the top. This lets you add all the songs in every playlists in that folder to the queue, which you can then shuffle if you like.So to play your entire library, organize your playlists something like this then click All Tracks:

Click All Tracks within any folder to play all tracks.

In this example:

  • The top All Tracks link will play everything in every playlist in every folder in the folder called Folder With All My Playlists.
  • If you click Folder A then click the All Tracks link in there it will play everything in every playlist in Folder A.
  • If you click Folder B then click the All Tracks link in there it will play everything in every playlist in Folder B etc.

Once the first track starts you can click the Shuffle button (bottom-left) to shuffle the music.

 

How to Exit Spotify

The old version of Spotify on Android had an Exit option from within the app. These days most Android apps don’t bother with Exit buttons: you just use the Back button instead and let the operating system handle running apps as it sees fit. Some people really want to be able to exit Spotify though, so to do that:

  1. Long-press (press and hold) your phone’s Home button to display recent apps.
  2. Click Task Manager.
  3. Find Spotify in Active Applications then click Exit.

 

How to Set the Cache Location

Most Android phones let you add microSD cards to give you more storage space. With the previous version of Spotify you could tell it to cache the music on your SD card instead of the phone’s internal memory. Unfortunately there’s no in-built way to do this with the new version, but you can still set the location as follows.

There are a couple of workarounds that might work for you. Firstly, try temporarily downgrading to the old version (i.e. uninstall Spotify then install an older apk), setting the storage location like you used to (press Menu from the login screen), then upgrade to the new version again. This method worked for me!

A second option is to use a 3rd-party app called DirectoryBind to create a symbolic link from the Spotify cache folder on the phone to one on the SD card. CAUTION! This technique requires some technical knowledge as well as a rooted phone: attempt at your own risk! See this page on XDA Developers for details.

 

How To Use Spotify on Android To:

  • Work in Landscape Orientation
  • Add a Whole Album to an Existing Playlist
  • Create a Playlist Folder
  • Rearrange the Order of Playlists
  • Rearrange Songs in a Playlist
  • Search For a Playlist
  • Search for a Song Within a Playlist

  • Marten

    Good article, the last paragraph made me lol. I’m really missing the “Add whole album to existing playlist” feature from the old mobile version. But it’s collateral damage I suppose.

  • Dave

    Hi there. Good post as always. Note the method to exit will vary by phone as only certain models/skins will have this route into the task manager

  • http://pansentient.com/ Jer White

    Cheers Dave, duly noted (curse Android fragmentation!) Hopefully the sense of it is still clear even if the “how do” might vary.

  • Chief

    I really miss being able to filter my library to one artist :(

  • Gauvins

    Shuffle all cannot include the Starred playlist. Yes we can create a regular playlist instead, but this is another cumbersome workaround.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.chambers.773 Pete Chambers

    Hi – just moved from iPhone to Android (Nexus 4) and now have this annoying problem. If I search for a band name (Van Halen) it lists just 5 albums and there is no way I can see of viewing a longer list. This is the same for every search – just 5 albums! I don’t want to use a desktop to do this – I only use the mobile app. Any ideas?

  • http://pansentient.com/ Jer White

    There’s still no solution to this it seems, all it would take would be to make the “Albums” section header clickable in the search results. So if you only use the mobile app, the only “fix” I can think of is to google the band’s discography first then go back into Spotify and search for an actual album name instead.

  • Henrik

    There is a solution – first you’ll see a list of artists e.g. Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, Edward and Alex Van halen …. and then a list of albums. First select the right artist and then you’ll get all the albums.

  • http://pansentient.com/ Jer White

    Oh yeah – of course! Only trick then is to work out which artist name you want (with “the,” without “the” etc.)

  • Ralph

    worked for me! Thanks!

  • xxx

    Spotify just did an update and its featuring landscape mode now!
    “Spotify We’ve updated our #Android app – now with landscape mode. Get it here: spoti.fi/Andro1d” (via Twitter)

  • KimHuize

    The Spotify 123 top lists/tracks were also dropped from the app, but you can now access it using this app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.madrabbit.hitsify

  • srijan

    I mostly use instaglass app to edit my photos..

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