Should Spotify Have Access To The Microphone? (Explained)

Every application you download to your personal device will need to be granted access to certain features on your phone. Any app that is used as a messenger will need access to both your camera as well as your microphone.

But what about streaming apps like Spotify? Many users were surprised to see that Spotify wanted access to their microphone, which begs the question – why?

Here is everything we learned about why Spotify wants microphone access, as well as what that means for your privacy and protection.

Here’s Why Spotify Needs Access To Your Microphone:

While Spotify may ask you for access to your microphone, you don’t actually need to grant this access to continue using the music streaming app. The main reason why Spotify will ask for you to allow access to your microphone is so that you can unlock features that are related to voice commands.

Left hand holding smartphone. Spotify playlist open on phone. Black headphones visible in the background.

Why does Spotify Need Access to my Microphone?

Spotify is a great way to discover and download new music as well as podcasts. This is why users were recently confused when Spotify started requesting access to other features like your microphone. However, this feature was added as a way to make your life a little bit easier.

By connecting your microphone to your Spotify app, you are allowing yourself to take advantage of more of the “hands-free” features that Spotify has.

This will allow you to search for music through a voice search as opposed to having to type it in. This has been a great feature for people who mainly use Spotify on a separate device like an Apple Watch.

Another reason why Spotify wants to access your microphone is to help to customize your Spotify algorithm.

While you can make playlists and save music you love, Spotify is constantly looking for new ways to create music listening experiences for you. This is done by not only tracking the type of music you download and save but it is also through listening to your everyday life.

Understandably, this has left some Spotify users on edge.

We live in an age where AI and smart devices have made things somewhat easier, people worry that with all of these listening devices around us, everything we say and do is being tracked.

And while this theory isn’t wrong, it also doesn’t mean it is done with any intent to do harm. With this in mind, it is easier to understand why Spotify wants to also take advantage of collecting this data.

After all, the main goal of a company like Spotify is to keep its customers happy and to keep them coming back.

Are There Any Benefits to Letting Spotify Access the Microphone?

While people are understandably cautious about allowing applications to have access to their personal device features, there are some major benefits to allowing Spotify access to your microphone.

The first main benefit you can take advantage of by allowing Spotify to use your microphone is that you can use the app without having to use your hands.

This is especially great for when you are listening to music or podcasts while you are driving. Driving while using your phone is a dangerous game and many people lose their lives to this each year. So, having another way to skip through songs as well as search for new music can literally be a life changer.

However, driving isn’t the only time that you may want a hands-free experience.

People who love to run or go to the gym also enjoy taking advantage of these Spotify features. This is especially true for those who use a separate device while working out like a smartwatch.

Since Spotify connects and downloads directly to your smartwatch, you won’t need to run to your phone each time you want to switch up your playlist. With voice activation, you can simply talk into your watch by using the hands-free feature.

While the hands-free advantages of Spotify using your microphone are understandable, Spotify listening in the background makes people nervous. So, are there benefits?

The biggest benefit to Spotify using your microphone in the background is that it is tracking your mood and the noises around you in order to create a playlist based on how you are feeling at that moment.

Music, to many people, is a great mood elevator, and letting Spotify help to bring your mood up is just a really cool feature.

Take a look at our article about whether Spotify Podcasters can see who’s listening!

How do You Prevent Spotify from Getting Access to the Microphone?

If you are worried about Spotify getting access to your microphone or simply just don’t want to use the voice-activated features, take comfort in knowing that you are in complete control.

First, in order for Spotify to get access to your microphone, you have to physically allow it. This is done by denying the request when it pops up. A request will pop up if you try to use any of the voice-activated features.

For example, if you click on the microphone icon that is found in the search bar, it will prompt a pop-up asking for microphone access to which, you would hit “do not allow.”

However, if you never get a pop-up, it could be that Spotify already has access to your microphone and that all depends on your phone’s settings.

Every time you download a new application, you will have to grant access to different features found on your personal device. But, depending on your phone settings, you may have already unknowingly granted that access.

How to check if Spotify has access to your microphone:

  1. Go to your phone’s general settings.
  2. From here, click on ‘apps’
  3. Now you will see a full list of all of the applications downloaded to your phone. Scroll down until your find Spotify and click on it.
  4. This will open up all of the settings that are connected from your device to the Spotify app.
  5. Look for ‘microphone’. If your microphone has been connected to Spotify, you will see the green slider turned on.
  6. All you need to do is swipe this slider, and you halt Spotify’s access to your microphone.

You can change this setting back at any time by going through the same steps.

Does Spotify let You Know when They Access the Microphone?

Spotify cannot access your microphone without you knowing. As mentioned, when you download the application, you will be prompted to give access to certain things, which would include the microphone.

It is completely up to you whether or not you want to give Spotify access to your microphone, and you will be asked for permission before this is done.

More recently, Spotify announced that they were granted a patent to use AI and voice recognition technology in order to listen to your voice to determine your mood as well as your accent.

This feature was launched in 2021 and was met with a certain level of criticism. While the worries were completely understandable, Spotify did have to clarify that the feature is only there for those who want to use it.

This means that if you choose not to connect your microphone to Spotify, you won’t have to worry about the app tracking your voice or background noise.

You can continue to use the music streaming application as you usually would.

Does Spotify Listen to Your Conversations?

One of the biggest reasons why people were wary of Spotify’s new listening feature was because protecting your privacy while using applications is extremely important.

When apps have access to things like your camera and microphone, you don’t really know what they are listening to, as well as what type of data is collected and stored.

When this feature was announced, it made people nervous that their conversations were going to be listened to as well as recorded. Spotify isn’t the first company to be met with this type of backlash either.

Most notably, Amazon’s Eco Dot line has always had serious criticism about how they store the data since these devices are always tuned in and listening. However, it is important to recognize the difference between the two devices.

Spotify isn’t always running in the background, which means it isn’t always listening.

So, what does Spotify actually listen to, and when?

Spotify is not listening to your conversations or saving any data from voice activation searches. Even the mood detector needs your permission in order to run. So, unless you specifically click on voice activation, nothing you say will be listened to or saved.

Please also check out our article about Spotify and camera access.

What is the “Hey Spotify” Function?

Once you give Spotify access to your microphone, you essentially turn on the “Hey Spotify” feature. Spotify, hoping to jump on the popularity of other voice-activated commands like “Alexa” or “Hey Google”, added this feature as another way to give people access.

After you prompt the application with “Hey Spotify”, you can seamlessly search and discover new music without having to press a button. You can even control the flow of your personal playlist by using voice commands.

This has not only helped to make things easier for people on the go, but it also opened up a whole new level of accessibility to people with disabilities, especially the blind.

We often forget about how technology is not only helping people but also helping people who have challenges when it comes to accessibility. And that it is exactly what the “Hey Spotify” features aim to do.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has some sort of skepticism when it comes to how “big brother” is tracking our every move. With the birth of the digital age, these concerns have only heightened.

However, even though there will always be concern about privacy, there is no denying how certain features like voice activation have completely changed the way we live our lives for the better. So, you can find some comfort in knowing that when it comes to Spotify, there is nothing to worry about. Good luck.

Sources:

Five Things To Know About The “Hey Spotify” Feature

How To Enable Or Disable Microphone Access On Spotify

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