Why can’t I find the equalizer on Spotify?

An equalizer allows users to adjust the balance of audio frequencies in music or other audio. It enables boosting or reducing levels of bass, treble, and mid-range tones to optimize the listening experience based on personal preference or the limitations of headphones/speakers being used. Equalizers can make a big difference in sound quality, especially for those wanting more bass or clarity in certain frequency ranges.

Spotify offers an equalizer feature in its apps, however it is hidden from view by default. Users have to dig into settings to find access to the equalizer, which many find unintuitive. This causes confusion for those wanting to adjust Spotify’s sound output and leverage the full capabilities of the app’s equalizer.

Spotify’s Minimalist Design

Spotify is well known for its clean, minimalist design aesthetic. According to Breaking Down Spotify’s Design Principles, the company’s user experience design prioritizes simplicity and ease of use with a stripped down, minimalistic interface. This allows users to easily find and access content without unnecessary clutter or distractions.

Some key elements of Spotify’s minimalism include:

  • Predominantly black, white and green color scheme
  • Flat, two-dimensional illustrations
  • Lots of negative space
  • Intuitive navigation and controls
  • Focus on core functionality vs. extra bells and whistles

As Marta Suchowicz writes in How to add a feature to Spotify keeping its minimalistic design, “Spotify’s interface stands out with its minimalism. No distractions, no unnecessary elements. Just music and podcasts. This simplicity helps people stay focused on content discovery and consumption rather than getting distracted by superfluous decorations.”

By keeping the interface clean and uncomplicated, Spotify aims to put the music front and center for users. The minimalist design values restraint and prioritizes an easy, enjoyable user experience.

The Equalizer Menu

The equalizer menu on Spotify is not immediately accessible or visible to users. Unlike many other music apps and devices that prominently feature an equalizer, Spotify has chosen to bury this setting deep within the settings menu (Equalizer).

To access the equalizer on mobile, users must go to the Settings page, scroll all the way to the bottom, and tap “Equalizer.” On desktop, they must click on the down arrow next to their username, choose “Settings”, click on “Display Options” and then scroll down to find the “Equalizer” setting.

So the equalizer is present in Spotify, but not readily available. Spotify likely made the choice to hide these advanced audio settings away from the main interface in order to preserve a clean, minimalist design. However, this makes the equalizer difficult to find for users who wish to customize their listening experience.

Why Spotify Hides the Equalizer

One of the main reasons Spotify hides the equalizer is to keep the interface clean and simple. According to various sources, Spotify wants to avoid cluttering the app with too many advanced controls and options that most casual listeners don’t need to access.

Spotify’s design philosophy focuses on simplicity and ease of use for the average user. The app aims to make music discovery seamless without getting bogged down in complex audio settings. As this Reddit user notes, “It’s not built in to the Spotify app. You can access the same EQ from phone settings if you have an EQ.”

While audio enthusiasts may want more fine-tuned controls, Spotify caters to the mainstream audience. Showcasing an equalizer too prominently could overwhelm users who just want to search and play music easily. So Spotify tucks the equalizer away in a settings sub-menu.

According to this Spotify community thread, Spotify wants “to provide options to enhance listening for audiophiles while maintaining a simple interface for most users.” Hiding advanced controls helps Spotify focus on their core functions.

User Feedback on the Hidden Equalizer

Over the years, Spotify users have complained about the equalizer being difficult to find and access across platforms. Many express frustration that such a basic audio feature is buried in the settings. According to a Reddit thread, users feel the equalizer should be more prominently available given Spotify’s focus on music streaming (source).

On Spotify’s community forums, users have complained since at least 2013 that the built-in equalizer doesn’t seem to work properly. Even when they locate the equalizer menu in the settings, adjusting it doesn’t appear to change the audio output (source).

In a 2020 article, one reviewer highlighted the hidden equalizer as a top complaint among Spotify users. They argue a music streaming service should have an easily accessible equalizer considering audio quality and customization are major selling points (source).

Accessing the Equalizer on Mobile

The equalizer menu is hidden by default in the Spotify mobile app, but can be accessed by navigating to the settings. Here are the steps to find the equalizer on iOS and Android devices:

On iOS:

  1. Open the Spotify app and tap on the gear icon in the top right to access settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Playback.”
  3. Toggle “Equalizer” on. This will enable the equalizer menu.

On Android:

  1. Open the Spotify app and tap on your profile picture in the top right.
  2. Tap “Settings” from the menu.
  3. Scroll down to “Music Quality” and tap on it.
  4. Toggle “Equalizer” on. This will enable the equalizer menu.

Once enabled, you can tap on “Equalizer” again in the settings menu to adjust the different frequency bands and customize the sound.

The steps are slightly different between operating systems, but essentially involve navigating to the playback or music quality settings, and toggling the “Equalizer” option on. This makes the equalizer available in Spotify on both iOS and Android mobile devices.

Accessing the Equalizer on Desktop

The equalizer option was initially hidden in Spotify’s desktop app, but has since been made available to all users. To find the equalizer on desktop:

  1. Open the Spotify app on your desktop.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to your profile picture in the top right corner.
  3. Select “Settings” from the dropdown menu.
  4. In the Settings menu, click on “Preferences.”
  5. Under “Music Quality,” check the box next to “Enable audio normalization.”
  6. Below that, check the box next to “Enable equalizer.”

Once enabled, you can click on “Equalizer” in the left sidebar to adjust the EQ settings. Spotify likely hid the equalizer originally to keep the interface clean and simple. But after user feedback, they added the option to easily access it from the settings (source). The equalizer menu allows you to boost or reduce frequencies to customize the listening experience.

Adjusting Equalizer Settings

Once you have access to the equalizer in Spotify, you can customize the sound profile by adjusting the different frequency bands.1 The equalizer allows you to boost or reduce gain on low, mid, and high frequency ranges to cater the sound to your preferences.

To adjust the equalizer:

  • Drag the sliders up or down for each frequency band. Sliding up will boost the gain, while sliding down will reduce it.
  • Start with small adjustments, like 2-3 dB, to avoid drastic changes in sound.
  • Listen to a variety of songs to hear how the adjustments impact different genres and instruments.
  • Aim for an overall balanced sound profile unless you specifically want to highlight certain frequencies.

It may take some experimentation to find your optimal equalizer settings. The key is to make gradual tweaks and closely listen to the effects. Over time, you will dial in settings that provide your preferred listening experience.

Alternatives to Spotify’s Equalizer

Since Spotify does not offer robust equalizer controls, many users seek out third-party apps to enhance their listening experience. Some popular alternatives include:

Poweramp Equalizer: This is a powerful equalizer app for Android that allows full control over bands and presets. It can be used system-wide or with specific music apps like Spotify (https://www.soundguys.com/best-eq-apps-73891/).

Equalizer FX: Available on both Android and iOS, this app provides a customizable 6-band equalizer to tweak Spotify and other music. Users praise the simple interface and quality sound enhancements (https://www.quora.com/Which-equalizer-application-is-best-for-Android-and-Spotify-music).

Wavelet: This autoeq app offers both an equalizer and dynamic range compressor. It can improve the sound of Spotify playlists and albums by automatically tuning to the ideal frequencies (https://www.reddit.com/r/AndroidQuestions/comments/17iigtd/equalizer_for_spotify_and_android_auto/).


Spotify’s minimalist interface design philosophy means the equalizer is hidden from view in the app. Many users are frustrated that they can’t easily find and adjust the equalizer to improve their listening experience. While Spotify makes users dig into settings to access the equalizer, it is possible to adjust on both mobile and desktop. On mobile, go to the “Now Playing” view, tap the gear icon, and enable the equalizer under “Settings”. On desktop, go to “Settings”, select “Equalizer” and pick a preset or create a custom EQ setting. If Spotify’s hidden equalizer is an ongoing nuisance, consider alternatives like Apple Music, Amazon Music or other services that make the equalizer more prominent in their apps.

The key for Spotify listeners is knowing the equalizer exists in the app, but requires extra steps to uncover. Once found, the equalizer provides granular audio adjustments to suit your preferences. While hiding the equalizer matches Spotify’s clean interface, it comes at the expense of easy access to a useful audio feature. Hopefully this overview has helped recap why Spotify buries its equalizer and provided guidance on how to find and customize it to improve your listening experience.

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