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Spotify not working? Common problems and how to fix them

Is Spotify acting up? Find out the cause and how you can fix it.

Published onMarch 7, 2024

Spotify is the most popular music streaming service, thanks to its large user base and support for all the major platforms. But even as a market leader, it is not immune to technical glitches. To answer the question, “Why is Spotify not working?” we’ll cover the commonest problems that may prevent you from enjoying the app to the fullest.

Common Spotify problems and how to fix them

Here are the most common Spotify problems and how to fix them:

Spotify crashes or fails to open

Desktop Spotify app on Windows

If the Spotify fails to open or crashes on your Android phone, try the following fixes in order:

  • Close and reopen the Spotify app.
  • Check the Google Play Store for pending updates and install them.
  • Restart your Android device.
  • Go to Settings > Apps > Spotify to clear the app cache and data.
  • If the previous options fail, uninstall the app, reboot your phone, and reinstall the app.

Try these troubleshooting tips if you experience the problem on an iOS device (iPhone or iPad):

  • Clear the app from the app switcher menu and reopen it.
  • Update to the latest version of the app from the App Store.
  • Clear the app cache by launching Spotify, tapping the gear icon, opening the Storage settings and tapping the Delete cache button.
  • If that doesn’t work, uninstall the app, reboot your device, and install it again.

Spotify shows the infamous Windows Error Code 17

Windows Error Code 17 results from an installation problem. It occurs when you update or freshly install an app on top of a previous version that wasn’t completely removed, resulting in software conflicts.

You can resolve it by:

  • Uninstalling Spotify and manually deleting the installation folder from File Explorer.
  • If you’d rather not scrabble around in Windows File Explorer, use a third-party cleanup app or open the built-in disk cleanup service by pressing the Start button and searching disk cleanup.
  • Then, reboot your PC and reinstall Spotify.

If the error still comes up, follow these steps to run Spotify in compatibility mode:

  1. Right click the Spotify icon.
  2. Click Show more options from the pop-up box.
  • Select Troubleshoot compatibility from the options. Follow the prompts on the troubleshooting wizard that pops up.
  • You cannot download songs for offline playback

    Downloading songs for offline playback is a premium Spotify feature. If it doesn’t work:

    • Confirm that you can use other premium functions like ad-free listening.
    • If you can’t, it’s likely a subscription problem. Log out of your account and log in again to fix the issue — ensure you use the correct account.
    • If other premium features still work, but you can’t download tracks, check that you haven’t exceeded the download limit of 10,000 songs.
    • Also, confirm that you haven’t crossed the five-device limit on the same account. If you have, remove other devices by going to your account page and tapping Sign out everywhere.

    You cannot add local files to a Spotify playlist

    Spotify previously allowed users to add and play local songs by dragging and dropping them in the app. While you can still play local songs, the drag-and-drop feature no longer works.

    You can add your local playlists from the settings menu. Here’s how:

    1. Tap the hamburger icon in the top right to open the sidebar.
    2. Tap the Settings and privacy and scroll down to the end.
    3. Select Local Files and flip the toggle next to Show audio files from this device.
    4. Click the Allow on the pop-up that requests access to your files.

    Spotify app does not produce any sound

    Spotify desktop interface displaying playlists.
    The Playlists tab is a great place to view the playlists you’ve created and liked.

    You launch Spotify and click the Play button, but you hear nothing. Follow these steps to solve the restore sound:

    • Press your device’s volume sliders to ensure the volume is not reduced or muted.
    • If there’s no problem with the volume or Bluetooth, perform general troubleshooting steps like clearing cache, rebooting your device, and reinstalling the app.

    Spotify audio cracks or sounds poor

    Spotify desktop interface showing discover tab.
    The Discover tab is a great place to spend an afternoon.

    Say Spotify opens without issues and produces sound, but the quality is a far cry from what you’re used to, try the following troubleshooting tips:

    • Ensure you have a good internet connection. The Spotify audio streaming quality is set to auto by default and changes based on your internet connection, which may cause issues.
    • If the audio is still poor despite a good internet connection, force Spotify to stream audio in very high quality. Note that you need a premium subscription to get the Very high streaming quality.

    You can change your audio streaming quality on Android in the following steps:

    1. Open Settings and scroll to the end.
    2. Tap Audio Quality. Both Wi-Fi and cellular are set to automatic by default.
    3. Select Very high under Wi-Fi streaming and Mobile streaming.

    On iPhone:

    1. Navigate to Settings > Audio quality.
    2. Choose Very high under Wi-Fi streaming and Cellular streaming.

    Note that this setting uses more data.

    If you still experience crackling on your desktop, turn on hardware acceleration. On Windows laptops, open Spotify Settings and turn on the Compatibility toggle. On a Mac. Click the Spotify menu bar item and choose Hardware Acceleration to turn it on.