Spotify Not Playing On Desktop? 9 Common Issues (Solved)

Spotify’s desktop app has almost all of the great features found in the mobile app and lets you enjoy your favorite playlists and artists from your computer.

However, if you’ve been struggling to play Spotify tracks on your computer, you may feel a little frustrated. Thankfully, in this article, we take you through the common issues that are preventing playback and how to solve them.

Spotify website home page open on a laptop screen

1. Check Spotify’s Status

When you find your streaming session coming to an abrupt halt, it can be incredibly jarring. Before you start tampering with your devices, your internet, and the app’s settings, it’s worth checking that the fault isn’t actually on Spotify’s end.

Spotify is one of the largest music streaming platforms, and the system can encounter malfunctions just like any other piece of technology.

To check the current working status of Spotify, simply go to their dedicated Twitter account @SpotifyStatus. Here you will either see ‘No problems with Spotify’ or you will be informed if there is an active system error.

If that happens to be the case, then there is nothing you can do – besides being patient.

Usually, the problem will be solved on their end in no time at all and you can get back to listening to the tracks you love.

2. Spotify Needs a Restart

It may sound too simple, but shutting down Spotify and launching it again can actually solve a lot of playback issues that you may be experiencing.

As a general rule of thumb, you should always try restarting an application if it is performing strangely or not working at all.

This isn’t, however, just clicking the ‘x’, reopening Spotify, and wishing for the best.

In order to solve the playback problem, you will need to manually force close the app to ensure there are no longer any background processes that could still be running.

Take a look below to discover how to force close Spotify before you try relaunching the app again.

How to Force Quit Spotify on Windows:

  1. Begin by shutting down Spotify.
  2. Next, you will need to open ‘Task Manager’.
  3. To do this, either hit the ‘ctrl+alt+delete’ keys simultaneously and select ‘Task Manager’ or press ‘ctrl+shift+esc’.
  4. Here you will see every application that your Windows is currently running. If Spotify is still running any background processes, it will be evident here.
  5. Click ‘Spotify’ and then select ‘End Task’.

This is the only way you can be certain any application, not just Spotify, is completely shut down. Once you have done this you can try relaunching the Spotify app through your Windows Taskbar.

How to Force Quit Spotify on Mac Desktop:

  1. If you are currently using Spotify, then begin by closing the app. It’s necessary to ensure the app is not running any background processes.
  2. Hit ‘option+command+escape’ simultaneously on your keyboard.
  3. Alternatively, you can click on the Apple logo at the top of your screen and select ‘Force Quit’.
  4. Here you will see a pop-up window titled ‘Force Quit Applications’ and a list of all active applications.
  5. If you can see ‘Spotify’, it indicates that there are still background processes running with the app. Simply highlight it and click ‘Force Quit’.

Once you have completed these steps it is time to relaunch Spotify, and hopefully discover you can listen to your music problem free.

3. Update Spotify to Prevent Playback Issues

If you are experiencing playback-related issues whilst listening to Spotify on your desktop, it can be an indication that you are running an outdated version of the app.

This can be resolved quickly and easily by updating Spotify on your Mac or PC desktop, just take a look at the instructions below.

How to Update Spotify on Windows:

  1. Launch and log in to Spotify on your Windows PC.
  2. Locate your Profile icon and click on it.
  3. If your Spotify is in need of an update, then on the drop-down menu that appears, you will see ‘Check for updates’. All you have to do is click this and follow the on-screen instructions.
    • If your Spotify is running an up-to-date version then this option will not appear.

How to Update Spotify on Mac:

  1. Begin by opening Spotify on your Mac.
  2. Ensure that you are logged in to your account.
  3. In the top left corner of the screen, you will see ‘Spotify’. Click on this.
  4. Next, click on ‘About Spotify’ to discover which version of Spotify your Mac is currently running.
    • Knowing whether there is an update is easy; a caption titled ‘A new version of Spotify is available’ will be visible on your screen.
  5. Click this, and Spotify will begin updating to a newer version.

Check out our article about why Spotify has songs you cannot play.

4. You don’t have Enough Storage Space

Having enough free storage on your device is fundamental to a hassle-free streaming experience with Spotify.

Lack of storage space can result in songs skipping, pausing, or not playing at all.

For Spotify to run smoothly, they recommend that a minimum of 1GB of memory is available on your device. This counts for all devices – not just desktops.

Spotify needs this free storage to:

  • Store downloaded songs so that you can play them offline when you are unable to connect to the internet.
  • Store files as cache so that you have little to no lagging when you go to play music or podcasts.

The best thing to do is to clear up some space on your computer in order to ensure smooth music play. An alternative would be to clear Spotify’s cache and free up some internal memory space.

Clearing the cache is pretty much the same for both Windows and Mac, just follow the instructions below:

  1. Begin by launching Spotify on your desktop.
  2. Locate and click on ‘Settings’.
  3. Go through the list and navigate to ‘Show Advanced Settings’.
  4. Scroll down, and you will see ‘Offline songs storage’.
  5. Here is where you can find where your cache is stored on your Windows or Mac desktop.
    • A useful hint: if you click on ‘Change Location’ you can change where the cache is stored on your desktop for easier access later on.
  6. Navigate to the recently identified folder that stores your cache on your computer by typing it into the search bar.
  7. Delete all files that are located in this folder.

Clearing the cache will hopefully resolve any issues you are having with songs not playing on Spotify.

5. Log Out & then In Again

Another rather straightforward solution to any minor playback issues, besides restarting the Spotify app, is to log out of your account and log back in again.

  • For Mac, simply click on ‘Spotify’ on the top left-hand side of your screen and click on ‘Log out’.
  • For Windows, navigate to ‘File’ and click on ‘Log out’.

Once you have done this try logging in again to see if your music will play.

6. The Crossfade Setting

‘Crossfade’ is a brilliant feature that enables you to slowly fade into a new song on your playlist with no abrupt ending or beginning that can be distracting.

However, some users have reported that when they have the Crossfade feature enabled they experience problems when they are playing songs.

  • To test whether Crossfade is affecting your Spotify experience negatively, click on ‘Spotify’ and navigate to the ‘Preferences’ menu.
  • Select the ‘Playback’ section.
  • Here you will see all the adjustments you have available when it comes to the playback of your music.
  • If Crossfade is enabled, and if it is, disable it.

Once Crossfade is disabled, try testing playing your songs again and see if they play without any problems.

7. Hardware Acceleration

The Hardware Acceleration setting can negatively impact your streaming quality.

Some people have reported that when they have Hardware Acceleration enabled their songs skip, pause, and sometimes don’t even play at all.

This isn’t ideal, and if it’s happening to you, it’s worth disabling this option in order to test whether Hardware Acceleration is responsible for any of the playback issues you are experiencing.

It’s also usually enabled by default, so follow these steps to disable Hardware Acceleration on your Windows computer:

  1. Begin by launching Spotify on your desktop.
  2. Click on ‘File’ in the top left.
  3. From this menu, you can un-tick ‘Hardware Acceleration’.

For a Mac, the instructions are similar:

  1. Open Spotify on your desktop.
  2. Instead of ‘File’ click on ‘Spotify’ in the top corner of your screen.
  3. Here you will see the option to remove the tick from ‘Hardware Acceleration’.

8. Offline Mode has been Accidentally Activated

If the internet connection is interrupted in some way, then users will experience problems with streami, such as being unable to properly play songs or playlists skipping randomly.

Spotify has a feature called ‘Offline Mode’, which is designed for use when you do not have an internet connection, for example, needing entertainment while traveling on a long road trip.

Offline Mode means that Spotify will not use the internet even when it is available and will only play songs and podcasts that have been previously downloaded.

It’s a great feature, but if you have accidentally managed to activate Offline Mode when you are trying to stream online, then you will not be able to listen to any songs that are not already downloaded.

Therefore, it’s always worth checking to see if you have Offline Mode activated when you are having problems playing your music on the Spotify desktop app.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Spotify on your Windows or Mac desktop.
  2. Click on ‘File’, or ‘Spotify’ in the top left and take a look at the drop-down menu.
  3. If there is a tick next to ‘Offline Mode’ then it is currently activated.
  4. Simply untick the box to deactivate this mode.

Please also check out our solutions to why Podcasts are not playing on your Spotify Desktop App!

9. Spotify Needs to be Reinstalled

Sometimes an error can occur in the download process of the Spotify desktop app. If this is the case, you may be unable to play any music.

To fix this frustrating problem, simply read the instructions below on how to uninstall Spotify on both Windows and Mac fully. Once complete, simply redownload the app by visiting the official Spotify website.

Uninstall Spotify on Windows:

  1. From the Windows Start Menu, locate ‘Spotify’, right-click, and choose ‘Uninstall’.
  2. Next, open ‘File Explorer’ by hitting the Windows Key+E simultaneously. You will need to find the file named: C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\
  3. From here, you will need to delete the Spotify folder and all associated files to remove the application from your computer completely.

Uninstall Spotify on Mac:

  1. Begin by opening ‘Finder’.
  2. Navigate to ‘Applications’.
  3. Select Spotify’s icon and drag it to the trash.
  4. Next, type ‘~/Library/Preferences’ into the search bar at the top of your screen.
  5. Choose ‘Preferences’.
  6. In this folder search for ‘Spotify’.
  7. Now it’s time to delete all of the relevant .plist files.
  8. Next, search ‘~/Library/Application Support’ and find the ‘Spotify’ folder.
  9. When you have located it, simply highlight the icon and drag it to Trash.


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