Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If your usage of Spotify on Android consists of little more than loading up playlists and radio stations, then you’re really missing out on some of the other cool things the app is capable of.
From supercharged searching to integration with your navigation software, Spotify has loads of extra features you may not know about but really should start using. Here’s our pick of the best.
1. Advanced Searches
You can really hone in on the music you want to listen to by using search operators in the Spotify app. You can limit your search results to specific artists, albums, years, or genres, or only see new releases.
Some of the operators you’ll want to use include:
- artist:[name] — See only results from the artist (e.g. artist:”david bowie”).
- track:[name] — See only tracks with that title (e.g. track:heroes).
- album:[name] — See only albums with that title (e.g. album:”station to station”).
- year:[year] or year:[year-year] — See only releases from that year or range of years (e.g. year:1974 or year:1972–1978).
- AND, OR, or NOT — See results containing both, either, or exclude one (e.g. bowie AND queen).
- tag:new — See new releases.
- genre:alternative — See only results tagged with a specific genre.
- For even more specific results you can combine several operators in a single search (e.g. artist:”david bowie” year:1970–2016 NOT year:1981–2010).
There are a couple more, such as for the label that released a record. Check the Spotify website for the full list.
2. GPS Integration
If you use your phone for GPS navigation and also listen to Spotify in the car, you’ll know how awkward it is when you have to switch between the two apps.
Spotify’s integration with the Google-owned Waze navigation app takes care of that. The two work together seamlessly. You can keep Waze as your foreground app, and get Spotify music controls overlaid at the top of the screen. Or keep Spotify in the foreground and see your next turn from Waze in the overlay.
It is so simple and requires almost no setup or configuration. Just activate the feature in the Spotify settings, install Waze, and you’re good to go.
Spotify Running was announced with some fanfare a few years ago, so it’s a surprise that it’s so well hidden in the app.
The feature offers up a series of dynamic playlists — either curated or culled from your own favorites — to accompany you on your daily run. The clever bit is that the app uses your phone’s sensors to measure how fast you’re running. It then picks tunes with the tempo to match. To use Running, go to Browse > Playlists > Running then pick a playlist.
4. Interface Shortcuts
It isn’t that hard to find your way around the Spotify app, though there are a few hidden shortcuts that can take you places even quicker.
- Double-tapping the Search button in the bottom bar not only opens the Search screen, but launches your keyboard too.
- In the Now Playing screen, tap the song title to jump straight to the album it is featured on.
- Swipe down in the Playlist or Your Music screen to see various filtering options. These include being able to see only the playlists you’ve downloaded for offline use.
- The same swiping gesture within a playlist enables you to sort the tracks.
And the long-press is supported almost everywhere. Instead of trying to accurately tap the tiny three-dots button, tap and hold on any track for a whole host of options to appear.
At the time of writing, the Android Spotify app does not have full, built-in support for song lyrics. For a few select tracks and albums, it does give you lyrics and trivia from the Genius service. Called Behind the Lyrics, it pops up on top of the album art on the Now Playing screen whenever it’s available.
A better solution is to install the Genius app from the Play Store. You can set this up to automatically detect what track is playing, and display the lyrics for you. Also check out Musixmatch, which does the same thing. Both apps are free.
There are lots of excellent podcast apps for Android, and for the serious podcast enthusiast we’d recommend them all over Spotify.
But for the casual listener, Spotify works a treat. The selection is fine, if not as comprehensive as you’ll find elsewhere. And there’s some convenience in having music and podcasts all built into the same app.
The Android app can also be used for listening to podcasts in the desktop app, which you cannot normally do. Load up a show on your phone, then click the Connect to a device button and select your computer (you need to have Spotify installed and running on that machine too).
7. Remote Control
The Connect to a device option, which you find in the Now Playing screen, can also be used to turn your Spotify app into a remote control for another device.
When you’re listening to Spotify on another device, like your PC, TV, or PS4, you should keep the app open on your phone. You can then use the app to see what track is playing, skip forward and back, and queue up new playlists.
With tens of millions of tracks to stream, there’s no reason why your music should stop just because you’ve reached the end of your playlist.
That’s the premise of Autoplay. Once the last song in your playlist has ended, it will automatically continue playing similar types of music, until you decide to stop it. Autoplay should be enabled by default, but if it isn’t, head into Settings to turn it on.
9. Sound Settings
Many people stick to an app’s default setup, but Spotify has a few extra options that can improve your listening experience. They’re all found in Settings, and the first to look at is Crossfade.
Found under Playback, Crossfade fades the current track out and the next one in, and is disabled by default. To reduce the amount of silence between songs enable it and set it to a couple of seconds. For a continuous mix at a party set a longer crossfade duration of 10 or 12 seconds.
Just below that is Normalize volume. This should be turned on by default, and is recommended. Normalize plays all tracks at roughly the same volume level.
Finally, towards the bottom of the screen is Equalizer. Tapping this opens a new panel and enables you to adjust the audio output to match your preferred style.
Pro Tip: When using an equalizer, try lowering the sliders rather than raising them, which can introduce distortion. For example, to increase the bass and treble, you would just reduce the midrange levels.
10. Reduce Data Usage
If you aren’t careful, Spotify can eat through your phone’s data plan in no time. Thankfully, it has a few settings you can tweak to help prevent that.
First, download music to listen offline. Open a playlist or album and tap the slider next to Download. Next, limit yourself to only listening to downloaded music by going into Settings and putting the app into Offline mode. You’ll need to deactivate it again and connect at least once every 30 days to keep access to your downloaded tracks.
To carry on streaming, but minimize your data usage, go to Settings > Music Quality and set Streaming quality to Normal. Also check that Download using cellular is set to Off.
11. Social Sharing
Spotify is great for sharing your taste in music. It has built-in support for Facebook and the music discovery service Last.fm. If you want to disconnect your Spotify account from Facebook, by the way, you can only do it through the desktop app.
Don’t want to share what you’re listening to right now? Go into Settings and select Private Session.
It’s also easy to manually share what you’re listening to, with a link, to other online services. Tap the three-dot menu button next to a track or album and select Share, then choose where and how you want to share. Posting to Facebook or Twitter automatically adds #NowPlaying.
Your Favorite Features?
There’s so much more to Spotify than might be immediately obvious. Some of the lesser known features help the app integrate into almost every part of your life.
What are your favorite features in the Spotify app and what would you love to see added in the future? Join us in the comments to share your thoughts.