How do I refresh my Google Play Music library?

What is Google Play Music?

Google Play Music was a streaming music service owned by Google and integrated with the Google Play Store. Launched in November 2011, the service allowed users to upload up to 50,000 songs from their libraries to the cloud for storage and streaming purposes. Users could then access that uploaded music library to stream songs anywhere on their devices with an internet connection. Google Play Music also offered the ability to purchase songs, albums, and podcasts from the Google Play Store, which were then instantly added to the user’s cloud library without having to upload them. Additionally, Google Play Music provided curated playlists and stations based on users’ music tastes.

The service began shutting down in late 2020, with YouTube Music identified as Google’s intended replacement. Google ultimately shut down Google Play Music entirely in December 2020.

Why Refresh Your Library?

Keeping your Google Play Music library refreshed ensures you have access to your latest music uploads and purchases. Over time as you add new albums or songs, refreshing tells Google Play to scan and update your library with those new additions so they appear correctly.

For example, if you purchase a new album on Google Play but don’t see it in your library, refreshing will sync everything and add that album so you can listen. It’s important to refresh so you always have your full music collection available.

[1] According to, refreshing also helps Google Play Music provide better recommendations by “mixing in signals” about your location, activity and more to match music to your context.

How to Refresh on Mobile

Refreshing your Google Play Music library on mobile is a quick and easy process. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Music app
  2. Tap the menu icon in the top left corner
  3. Select “Refresh” from the menu

This will initiate the refresh process of your Google Play Music library. The app will scan your device and cloud storage and match any new or missing songs and albums (Source).

Allow the process to complete. Once finished, you should then see any newly added or previously missing music now available in your library.

Refreshing on Desktop

To refresh your Google Play Music library on the desktop website, open in your browser and log in to your Google account. In the upper right hand corner, click the settings icon that looks like a gear. This will open up your account settings menu.

In your account settings, scroll down and look for the “Refresh” option. Click this button to initiate a refresh of your Google Play Music library. This will sync your library with Google’s servers to make sure any new additions are properly indexed.

The refresh process may take a few minutes depending on the size of your library and your internet connection speed. Once completed, you should see any missing tracks, albums, or playlists properly appear in your Google Play Music library on desktop.

If you find you are still missing content after a refresh, see the Troubleshooting Problems section for tips on further steps you can take.

Refreshing Downloaded Music

Downloaded music also needs refreshing from time to time in order to keep your library up-to-date. Even though songs are stored locally on your device, the Google Play Music app still relies on connecting to Google’s servers to properly organize and display them.

To refresh downloaded songs, simply follow the same steps outlined above for refreshing your overall Google Play Music library: on mobile, pull down to refresh or go to Settings > Refresh; on desktop, click the refresh icon in the top right corner.

According to a Google support thread, refreshing is sometimes necessary to regain access to previously downloaded content after an account change.

After refreshing, check that all your downloaded music is properly showing in the app interface. If any issues persist, try additional troubleshooting steps covered later in this guide.

Troubleshooting Problems

Google Play Music users often run into issues like long load times, missing songs in their library, or problems with downloads not working properly. Here are some steps to try if you encounter such issues:

  • Open the Settings in Google Play Music and tap on Use cellular data. Make sure this option is turned on to allow streaming and downloading on mobile data.
  • Force close the Google Play Music app and clear its cache and data. This often helps resolve temporary glitches or slowdowns (source).
  • Check that Auto Sync Library is turned on in the Google Play Music app settings. This ensures your full library is available on each device.
  • Restart your device then re-launch Google Play Music to download a fresh copy of your library (source).

Some users may need to unlink and then relink the app if the above steps do not fix loading or download issues. Lastly, check Google’s system status page to see if Play Music has any outages.

Alternative Ways to Refresh

If the standard refresh option in Google Play Music does not successfully update your library, there are a couple alternative methods you can try:

Deleting and Re-adding Music

One option is to remove all the music from your Google Play Music library and then add it back in. This forces Google Play Music to fully rescan your entire music collection when you re-upload it. To do this:

  1. Open the Google Play Music app and go to Settings > Delete all music
  2. Confirm you want to delete all uploaded and purchased music
  3. Once deleted, go to Settings > Scan device files to re-upload your music library

This tedious but sometimes necessary if a standard refresh fails. Just be prepared to spend some time re-uploading all your tracks.

Using a Third-Party App

Another alternative is using a third-party Android app like Play Music Exporter or Stamp Music Album Art Download. These apps can analyze your Google Play Music library and refresh the information.

The main downside to this method is you need to install another app solely for refreshing your library data. But some users have reported better success getting updated metadata like album art using these utilities.


Impact on Playlists & Stations

A common concern when refreshing your Google Play Music library is what will happen to your playlists and stations. Thankfully, refreshing your library does not delete or remove any of your existing playlists or stations.

According to this Google support thread, playlists and stations are stored separately from your music library. So when you refresh to re-upload songs or download updated metadata, it doesn’t touch your playlists or stations.

Playlists and stations will remain intact with all the same songs and preferences. You don’t have to worry about losing any playlists or stations you’ve created while refreshing your library.

The only potential impact is if you deleted a song that was saved in a playlist. Then it would show up as unavailable within that playlist after your refresh. But the playlist itself sticks around no matter how many times you refresh your library.

Frequency of Refreshing

There is no set timeframe for how often you should refresh your Google Play Music library. You can refresh your library anytime new media is added in order to keep your collection organized and up-to-date.

Some recommendations for when to refresh include:

  • After purchasing new music, albums, or other media that should appear in your library
  • After uploading your own song files to your library
  • If you notice songs are missing from your library
  • If playlists or radio stations seem outdated

According to this How-To Geek article, refreshing your library helps surface any tracks that may not have properly downloaded or synced across devices. So refreshing periodically can help keep your collection organized.

There’s no need to refresh multiple times a day. Focus on times when you actively add new media or notice issues. Frequent refreshing takes time and resources, so balance convenience with necessity.

Refresh Keeps Library Organized

Regular refreshing is critical for accessing new uploads and keeping your Google Play Music library organized. When you add new music to your Google account, either through purchases, uploads, or adding to your library, Google Play Music won’t automatically detect it. You’ll need to manually refresh your library for Google Play Music to scan for changes and make that new content available in your collection. This is an important step to take on a regular basis as your library grows over time with new additions.

According to How to Refresh Your Google Play Music Library, refreshing allows Google Play Music to re-scan your library and match new uploads to its catalog. Without refreshing, you may be missing albums, songs or playlists that have been added but are not yet visible. Refreshing identifies those missing entries and makes them accessible in your library and across your devices.

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