Can Google Play Music play offline?

Google Play Music was a music and podcast streaming service and online music locker operated by Google. Launched in November 2011, it allowed users to upload up to 50,000 songs from their personal libraries to the cloud and stream them alongside millions of tracks available on Google Play Music.

Google Play Music offered both free, ad-supported streaming for radio-style stations based on songs, artists, albums or playlists, as well as on-demand streaming for one’s uploaded and purchased music library. It was available as a mobile app on Android and iOS, and could be accessed via the web player as well. Google Play Music subscribers also received ad-free YouTube access.

In May 2020, Google announced that Google Play Music would be discontinued later in the year and replaced by YouTube Music. By December 2020, Google Play Music shut down, with YouTube Music now serving as Google’s music streaming service.

Offline Capabilities

Google Play Music allows users to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline playback when an internet connection is unavailable. This makes it easy to listen to music on the go without using mobile data or relying on WiFi connectivity ( The offline playback feature enables accessing your music library anywhere, anytime – whether you’re on a plane, subway, or anywhere without reception.

With Google Play Music’s offline mode, you can download up to 50,000 songs to listen when offline. The downloads are stored locally on your device and don’t require a constant internet connection ( This allows you to play music seamlessly even when you lose signal or connect to sketchy public WiFi networks.

Enabling Offline Mode

To enable offline playback in Google Play Music, you first need to download the songs, albums, or playlists you want to listen to offline. Here is how to turn on offline mode:

  1. Open the Google Play Music app on your Android device.
  2. Tap on the “Settings” icon in the top left corner.
  3. Under “Downloads,” toggle “Offline mode” to the “On” position.

With offline mode enabled, any music you have downloaded in your library will now be available for offline playback even without an internet connection. The app will automatically switch to offline mode when you lose connectivity.

You can also enable offline mode directly from the “Downloaded Only” section in your library. Just tap the “Offline mode” switch at the top.

On iOS devices, offline playback needs to be enabled for each individual album or playlist before it can be listened to offline. There is no global offline mode toggle.

Downloading Music for Offline

Google Play Music allows users to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening when an internet connection is not available. Here is the process for downloading music for offline playback:

To download individual songs or albums for offline listening, open the Google Play Music app and browse or search for the content you want to download. Tap on a song or album cover and select the download icon (downward arrow) next to the title. The content will begin downloading and will display “Downloading” until the process is complete.

To download a full playlist for offline listening, open the playlist in the Google Play Music app and tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner. Select “Download” from the menu. The entire playlist will begin downloading and songs will display “Downloading” until fully downloaded.

The downloaded songs and playlists will appear in the “Downloads” section of the Google Play Music library for offline access. They can be played anytime without an internet connection. Google Play Music allows up to 500 songs to be downloaded per registered device.

Offline Playback Limitations

While Google Play Music allows you to listen to songs offline, there are some limitations users should be aware of:

Only certain file formats can be downloaded for offline playback. According to this Reddit discussion, the supported formats are MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC, M4A, M4B, and OGG.

There are also restrictions on the number of devices that can access offline content. Based on Google’s support page, offline music can only be downloaded on up to 4 devices registered to the same account.

Finally, geographical restrictions may apply depending on licensing agreements. As mentioned in the Reddit thread, offline playback may be limited in certain countries like Singapore.

Listening Offline

Google Play Music allows you to listen to music offline once you have downloaded songs, albums, or playlists for offline use. This enables you to continue enjoying your music even when you don’t have an internet connection. The offline playback interface and controls are the same as when listening online, providing a seamless user experience.

When listening offline in the mobile app, you will see an “offline” tag on playlists, albums, or songs that have been downloaded. Playback controls like play, pause, skip track, etc. function the same offline as they do online. You can browse through your full library of downloaded music and create playlists as you normally would.

The only limitation to offline listening is needing to manually download content beforehand, as the service does not automatically cache or preload recommendations, radio stations etc. But for any music you explicitly download for offline use, the playback experience itself is identical to online listening.

Offline Playback on Mobile

There are some key differences between using Google Play Music’s offline playback capabilities on desktop vs mobile. On mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, the Google Play Music app allows downloading music for offline listening [1]. The offline playback functionality works similarly on both Android and iOS devices.

On mobile, you can download individual albums, playlists or stations for offline listening. There is no limit on the number of downloads, but there is a limit of 100,000 songs that can be downloaded per account. Downloaded content is available for offline playback for up to 30 days before needing to reconnect online. One advantage with mobile offline playback is that it will continue to work even when switched into airplane mode [2].

A key difference versus desktop offline playback is that the mobile apps require downloading audio content first rather than seamlessly playing cached versions. The desktop offline playback is also not subject to the same 30 day re-sync limit. Overall though, the core offline playback features are quite similar between mobile and desktop.

Troubleshooting Tips

Google Play Music offers users the ability to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening. However, you may encounter issues trying to play downloaded music while offline. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common problems with offline playback in Google Play Music:

If your downloaded music is not showing up at all when offline, first try restarting your device and then refreshing the Google Play Music app by swiping down from the top. This can reset the app cache and make your downloads visible again (1).

On Android devices, check that you have sufficient storage space for your music downloads. Go to Settings > Storage to verify available space. You may need to delete unused apps and files or move downloaded music to external SD card storage (2).

For iPhones and other iOS devices, check that you have enabled “Offline Listening” for that specific device under Settings in Google Play Music. Downloaded songs will not be visible offline unless this is turned on (3).

If certain songs or albums are missing, re-download them individually while connected to the internet. Sync issues can prevent some content from being properly saved for offline playback (4).

As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall the Google Play Music app. This will force a clean resync with the server when you log back in (5).

Offline Alternatives

While Google Play Music does offer offline playback capabilities, there are some other excellent music services that also allow you to download songs for offline listening. Here are a few top alternatives worth checking out:

Spotify Premium allows users to download music to listen offline. Downloaded songs can be accessed in the Your Library section of the Spotify app when offline. There is no limit on the number of songs that can be downloaded. Playlists and albums can also be downloaded for offline playback (

Apple Music also lets you save your favorite songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening. Everything you download is accessible in the Library section of the Apple Music app when offline. There are no limits on how much music you can download for offline use (

YouTube Music offers offline playback for Premium subscribers. Songs, albums, playlists, and music videos can all be downloaded to your mobile device for offline playback later. There are no limits on how many songs you can download at a time or store offline (

Amazon Music Unlimited provides the ability to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening. The downloads are accessible in the Library section of the Amazon Music app when offline. Up to 100,000 songs can be downloaded per registered device (

So if you are looking for robust offline playback capabilities, services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music Unlimited are all excellent options worth exploring.


Google Play Music does indeed have robust offline playback capabilities. By enabling offline mode in the settings, users can download any music in their library for offline listening. Downloaded songs will be available offline across all devices logged into the same Google account.

The key takeaways for listeners are:

  • Offline mode must be turned on in Settings to enable offline downloads
  • Individual songs/albums can be saved for offline or “Pinned” for quick access
  • Downloaded songs can be played offline as long as you stay logged into your Google account
  • There are limits to how many offline songs can be saved depending on subscription level
  • Offline playback works seamlessly across mobile devices and the web player
  • With some minor troubleshooting, Google Play Music can be a robust tool for offline listening

By leveraging Google Play Music’s offline capabilities, listeners can access their favorite music anywhere without an internet connection.

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