Can Friends See What I Listen To On Spotify? (Explained)

Spotify is a gigantic platform filled to the brim with music both old and new, however, that’s not all. Spotify is also filled with users all listening to whatever floats their boats.

In this age of digital social connections, it’s no wonder that many users want to know what other people are listening to, and Spotify allows your friends to take a look at your musical tastes.

In this article, you can get to grips with what exactly your friends can see about what you’re listening to and what privacy settings you can control.

Everything You Need To Know About What Your Friends Can See On Your Spotify

Spotify users can view information on what others listen to in a variety of ways:

  • Viewing the last song played by a user via the ‘Friend Activity’ feed.
  • View a list of the 50 last played artists via a user’s profile page.
  • View the playlists of a user.

Spotify users can control their privacy settings by:

  • Entering a private session.
  • Disabling recently played artists.
  • Disabling listening activity.

How Do You Make Sure Others Cannot See What You Listen To?

Spotify gives its users an enormous catalog of musical content to listen to and enjoy. There’s so much to choose from that it’s not surprising that we find some guilty pleasures in our mixes.

However, not all of us want to share our musical tastes with the world. Privacy is an important facet of the online world, and how we share what we’re listening to falls under the umbrella of privacy, too.

If you want to ensure that nobody other than you can check up on what you’re listening to on Spotify then it’s time you learn how to enable ‘Private Session’.

  • Starting a private session changes your sharing settings on Spotify.
  • With a private session activated, you will be listening to all music on Spotify anonymously.
  • The music that you listen to whilst on a private session will not be shared on the Spotify friend feed.
  • You can activate a private session on the desktop version, iOS, and Android Spotify app.

Start Private Session On Spotify Desktop App

If you want to listen anonymously to Spotify content whilst on your desktop computer then just follow these steps to activate a private session:

  1. Launch Spotify on your desktop computer.
  2. Click your profile icon and find ‘Settings‘.
  3. Search for the section entitled ‘Social‘ and find the option for:
    • “Start a private session to listen anonymously”
  4. Toggle this option to on and your music content will cease to be shared.

Start Private Session On Spotify iOS & Android App

If you’re using the Spotify app on your mobile device just follow these steps to keep your Spotify listening habits private:

  1. Open the Spotify app on your mobile device.
  2. Open up the ‘Settings‘ menu by tapping the corresponding icon found on the upper right-hand side.
  3. Within the menu, you’ll find a tab for ‘Social‘, tap it to open it up.
  4. Find the toggle option for ‘Start a private session to listen anonymously’ and then activate it.
    • You can always toggle this back off to allow your listening to become public again.

How Do You Enable Friends To See What You Listen To?

Friends, or followers as Spotify calls them, can have access to a feed that allows them to see what songs you are listening to.

This is a great feature that helps you share with the world what music is hitting all the right notes for you. It also means that when you discover a fantastic new song, your followers will notice it, too.

You need to have the ‘Share my listening activity on Spotify’ enabled to ensure that your friends can see what you’re listening to.

Enable ‘Share my listening activity on Spotify’ Using The Desktop App:

To keep your followers in the loop just follow these steps to share your listening activity on Spotify:

  1. Open up your Spotify desktop app.
  2. Click the downward arrow and then choose ‘Settings‘.
  3. From ‘Settings’ navigate to ‘Social‘ where you’ll find the option to ‘Share my listening activity on Spotify’.
  4. Ensure that it is toggled to ‘green’ if you want it enabled for your followers.

Enable ‘Share my listening activity on Spotify’ Using Andriod Or iOS:

If you want to allow your followers to keep up with what you’re listening to and you’re using Spotify’s mobile app then follow these steps:

  1. Open your Spotify app on your mobile device.
  2. Tap the ‘Settings‘ icon and scroll to ‘Social’.
  3. Tap ‘Social’ and toggle ‘Listening Activity‘ to on/green.

Is “Friend Activity” Enabled By Default On Spotify?

The ‘Friend Activity’ feature is what allows you to see what your friends are listening to whilst on Spotify.

‘Friend Activity’ is shown in the right-hand pane of the desktop version of Spotify and will display the name of your friend, the track and artist they listened to, and how long ago they were online.

You won’t find a ‘Friend Activity’ pane in the Spotify mobile app, but unless you’ve disabled ‘Listening Activity’, mobile users will still appear on the ‘Friend Activity’ feed of desktop users.

It’s important to note that the ‘Friend Activity’ feature is enabled by default on Spotify, but this pane can easily be removed from view.

If you want to disable this default ‘Friend Activity’ feed from being shown then just take these steps:

  1. Open Spotify.
  2. Click the three dots to open up the menu.
    • You can find them in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
  3. Now click ‘View‘ and find the option for ‘Friend Activity’.
  4. Disable ‘Friend Activity’ by clicking it and removing the tick.

The pane that displays ‘Friend Activity’ will now have disappeared, but remember, this can only be done on the desktop app and it does not stop your listening activity from being shared with others.

Read our blog here about Spotify desktop app too slow?

Can Friends On Spotify See What You Listened To In The Past?

Sometimes the feed that shows ‘Friend Activity’ does not provide enough information for some people – it does only show the last song that a person listened to after all and nothing more than that.

So it stands to reason that Spotify includes a feature where you can dig a little deeper into our friend’s listening habits.

  • Friends can see what some of your past listening habits have been by navigating to a friend’s profile page.
  • By clicking on a profile from either the ‘Friend Activity‘ feed, or searching for them in the search bar, a user can open up someone’s Spotify profile.
  • The Spotify profile will display a range of information, but most importantly it will show ‘Recently Played Artists’.
  • This setting needs to be toggled on within the ‘Social’ setting for this information to appear on someone’s profile.

What Exactly Is Shared When You Enable This Feature?

Having the ‘Show my recently played artists on my public profile’ enabled does what you’d expect it to.

You’ll find a horizontal segment on your profile page with a heading above it that reads: ‘Recently Played Artists’.

The segment will display 4 artists with their pictures, but the section can be expanded to show a total of 50 artists, all of whom are your most recent listened-to artists.

  • On the mobile app, ‘Recently played artists‘ will appear as a list rather than a horizontal section.

This is a great feature for those on mobile apps who don’t have access to the ‘Friend Activity’ feed, and instead, can check out someone’s profile to get an idea of what that person loves to listen to.

How Do I See What My Friends Listen To?

In order to get the big picture about what your friends listen to on Spotify, you’ll want to start following them through the Spotify app.

As the folks at ScreenRant.com point out, connecting with friends on Spotify has its advantages:

“Once friends are connected on the music platform, there are many Spotify features they can enjoy to heighten their shared sound-tripping experience.”

To follow your friends on Spotify just use this guide below, but remember, your Spotify profile needs to be connected to your Facebook account in order to ‘find friends’:

Follow Friends Using The Spotify Mobile App

  1. Open Spotify on your mobile device.
  2. Open ‘Settings‘.
  3. Choose to ‘View Profile‘.
  4. Give the three dots a tap and you’ll see the option to ‘Find friends‘.
  5. Once you tap ‘Find friends’ you’ll have the option to ‘Follow all’ or select specific friends.
    • You can also connect to Facebook from here if you haven’t already done so.

Follow Friends Using The Spotify Desktop App

  1. Open Spotify on your desktop computer.
  2. Look over to the ‘Friend Activity‘ pane and locate the ‘Add Friends’ icon.
  3. Click the icon to open up the ‘Find Friends‘ feature and add users to your list.

Once you’re following friends on Spotify you’ll be able to see what they listen to via the ‘Friend Activity’ feed (desktop only) and check out their recently played artists, as well as any playlists that they have created.

What Does Private Session On Spotify Look Like To Others?

When a Spotify user is listening to a private session, it is obvious to all other users by the presence of a small blue and white padlock displayed on top of their profile picture icon.

This cannot be disabled, so whenever you see someone with this padlock, it is a definite indication that a private session is currently activated.

These private sessions allow users to listen to whatever they like with complete privacy and it prevents the music that you’re listening to from appearing in the activity feed and adding to recently played artists.

Read this blog here about Spotify stops after every song.

Can You See What Someone Listens To Without Following Them?

If you’re not following someone on Spotify then don’t expect to see them appear in your ‘Friend Activity feed as that is a privilege you only attain when you choose to select to follow them from their profile page.

However, it is possible to get an idea of what someone is listening to, even if you’re not following, them by navigating to their profile page.

If you open the profile page of somebody you don’t currently follow you can see information such as their playlists and their recently played artists.

Of course, this individual needs to be sharing the above information publicly. If they do not share their recently played artists and have this setting toggled off, then you won’t see this information displayed.

Sources

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