Does Google Play Music work without WiFi?

Google Play Music is a music streaming and media player service developed by Google. It allows users to upload up to 50,000 songs from their personal libraries to the cloud and stream them across internet-connected devices. One of the key features of Google Play Music is the ability to download music for offline listening when an internet connection is not available.

When you download music from Google Play Music to your mobile device or tablet, you can continue listening to your music library even when you are offline or don’t have access to WiFi. This makes Google Play Music a convenient option for listening to music on flights, while commuting, or in other situations where internet connectivity is limited.

The main question around using Play Music offline is how well the service works without WiFi after you have downloaded music for offline listening. This article will provide a closer look at how downloading tracks for offline use works and what limitations exist when listening offline.

How Google Play Music Downloads Work

Google Play Music allows users to download songs, albums, playlists, and podcasts for offline listening when an internet connection is unavailable. This is useful for situations like flights, commutes, or areas with poor connectivity.

To download music for offline use within the Play Music app, tap the download icon next to a song, album, or playlist. There is a limit of up to 50,000 songs that can be downloaded per account (1). Downloaded content is stored locally on the device and does not count against cloud storage limits.

Google Play Music is available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. It can also be used on the web and through Google’s Chromecast devices. Once content is downloaded, it can be accessed offline on any supported device logged into the same Play Music account (2).

The download process is quick and seamless. Users can view and manage all offline content from the “Downloads” section within the Play Music app. From there, downloads can be deleted or re-downloaded as needed.




Using Downloaded Music Without WiFi

One of the key features of Google Play Music is the ability to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening when you don’t have an internet connection. This is perfect for situations like flights, subway commutes, or any other time you’ll be away from WiFi. As long as you download the content ahead of time, you can access your full Google Play Music library without WiFi.

When you download a playlist on Google Play Music, it will be available to play in its entirety even when offline. The playlist is saved on your device so you can listen to all the songs just as you would if you were online. Individual albums and songs work the same way – anything downloaded through the Google Play Music app will be accessible offline.

The offline listening experience is nearly identical to streaming with a live internet connection. You have full access to your music library and playlists, and can shuffle songs or play them in order. The only limitation is you can’t actively search for and play new content that hasn’t been downloaded yet. But anything already downloaded is yours to enjoy offline.

According to users on Reddit (source), this offline playback feature makes Google Play Music preferable over streaming-only options when they have limited access to WiFi.

Limitations of Offline Listening

While Google Play Music allows you to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening, there are some limitations users should be aware of:

First, you can only listen to songs you have specifically downloaded – you cannot browse or search the full Google Play Music catalog when offline. You must plan ahead and download any music you want to listen to without WiFi 1.

There are also limits on the number of songs you can download. According to user reports, playlists are limited to around 100 tracks for offline listening 2. Additionally, any downloaded music will expire after 30 days if you don’t reconnect to the internet and renew the downloads.

So while offline listening is possible, you won’t have access to every feature and Google Play Music’s full catalog unless you maintain an internet connection. Planning ahead is key to make the most of offline mode.

Tips for Managing Offline Music

To get the most out of offline listening, it helps to follow some best practices for managing your downloaded music library:

Suggest periodically connecting to WiFi to refresh downloads – Offline songs on Google Play Music have an expiration date, usually 30 days from the download date. Periodically connecting to WiFi allows you to re-download any expired songs and refresh your offline library (1).

Recommend downloading playlists or albums instead of individual songs – Downloading full albums or curated playlists gives you more music available offline compared to cherry-picking individual tracks. Build playlists specifically for offline listening (2).

Advice on monitoring storage space used by downloads – Downloaded music takes up device storage, so monitor your available space. Google Play Music’s “Downloads” section shows storage used. Delete downloads if space runs low (3).

Using Play Music on Airplane Mode

Google Play Music can indeed be used in airplane mode, as long as songs have been properly downloaded for offline listening first. The key is that both WiFi and cellular data must be disabled in airplane mode in order for Play Music to access only the downloaded songs.

According to a discussion thread on Google support forums, users have confirmed being able to listen to downloaded music in airplane mode on Google Play Music. One user specifically notes testing the offline playback by enabling airplane mode on their device [1].

However, Play Music will not work in airplane mode if WiFi is left enabled. This is because the app will still try to access the internet to stream songs if WiFi is turned on, as noted in a Reddit thread [2]. Both cellular data and WiFi need to be disabled in settings.

In summary, as long as songs are downloaded within the Play Music app before a flight, the music can be accessed offline by enabling airplane mode and disabling all internet connectivity on the device. This allows Play Music to only access the locally downloaded content.

Differences from Spotify and Apple Music

Google Play Music’s offline functionality differs in some key ways from competitors like Spotify and Apple Music.

One advantage of Play Music is that you can download unlimited songs for offline listening, while Spotify limits offline downloads per device. Also, Play Music offers offline listening not just for songs but also for podcasts and playlists. Apple Music does allow offline listening like Play Music, but has a limit of 100,000 songs for downloads.

However, a downside is that Play Music’s offline downloads expire after 30 days and need to be renewed. Spotify’s downloads last for 30 days for free users and Apple Music’s offline music doesn’t expire. So Play Music users may need to re-download music more frequently when traveling or without WiFi access.

Overall, Play Music holds its own against competitors for offline listening capabilities, with its main advantage being unlimited song downloads. But its offline music does expire more quickly than some other streaming apps. Still, having the option to renew downloads provides flexibility if you remember to do so before 30 days is up.


To recap, Google Play Music does allow you to listen to music offline without a WiFi or data connection. By using the download feature in the Play Music app, you can save songs, albums, and playlists to your device for offline listening anytime, anywhere. This is great for situations when you don’t have an internet connection, like when traveling on a plane or commuting through a subway tunnel.

The main benefits of offline listening with Play Music are the ability to access your full music library without using data, and uninterrupted playback in areas with poor connectivity. However, there are some limitations – downloads expire after 30 days and you are limited by the storage capacity on your device. Overall though, the offline features make Play Music a convenient option for music listening on the go when you don’t have a stable internet connection.

In conclusion, while streaming music services like Play Music are designed primarily for online listening, the ability to save music for offline use is a useful feature for times when connectivity is limited. This makes services with robust offline functionality like Play Music a great choice for anyone who regularly finds themselves without WiFi or data access.


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Related Articles

If you’d like to learn more about using Google Play Music offline, check out these articles:

7 handy hidden features for Google Play Music – This article from Computerworld highlights 7 useful tips for getting the most out of Google Play Music, including using downloaded music offline.

The Best Google Play Music Tips and Tricks You May Not Know About – Lifehacker covers advanced tips for Google Play Music, including identifying songs playing around you and finding YouTube videos for songs in your library.

Google Play Music: 10 tips and tricks you need to know about – TrustedReviews provides 10 essential tips for mastering Google Play Music, from downloading music for offline listening to using voice commands.

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