How to download from Google Play Music for offline playback

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If you’ve uploaded music to Google’s Play Music before, there’s a good chance that you already know how to download songs for offline playback. But if you’re not familiar with how it works, this should clear things up.

All you really need is a Google (or Gmail) account and a phone or tablet. Signing up is completely free, unless you want to sign up for Google’s All Access plan which gives you unlimited music streaming for $9.99 per month. However, if you’re like me, and already have your own library of music, importing it into Play Music takes only a few short steps.

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Upon importing your library of songs, you’ll want to make sure that you download the music for offline playback. Otherwise, listening to the music will go against your data plan, and you certainly don’t want that.

This can be done with music of your own and/or music that you obtained from Google’s paid subscription service. Just note that once you stop your All Access plan, the music downloaded for free from the Play Store will be removed from your device(s).

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Music you upload to Play Music is stored in the cloud. But don’t be frightened, there’s a very easy way to solve this so that music won’t need an internet connection to play. It’s so easy you can have it set to automatically begin downloading music upon uploading. Just remember music that you download takes up your device’s storage unlike music that’s just in the cloud which doesn’t. In this step-by-step guide I’m going to show you how to download music for offline playback.

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So here you are with all your music inside the Play Music application. In order to download music for offline playback, tap the menu icon in the top left corner of the main Listen Now menu. Make sure you’re logged into the account that contains all your music. Inside the navigation drawer select the option Music library.

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Here you’ll see your playlists, if you have created any, along with recently added music which is under an auto-created playlist called last added. You can also swipe over to view your music sorted by artist, album or genre. And of course, the option to see a list of all your songs is present here as well.

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If you want to download just one song, select the three dots located to the right of the song title and select the download button. Soon after, you’ll get a notification saying that a song is downloading.

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Another way you can tell that it’s working is by looking to the right of the title for a loading circle. This will slowly fill up orange and show a check mark confirming when the download is complete. The same thing can be done by artist, album or playlist. If the song is not downloaded, you’ll see an empty circle with a download icon inside, which will be near the top next to the menu button.

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If you want to download all the music in your library, head to the settings in the navigation drawer instead of going into Music library. Scroll down to where it says Downloading in orange letters.

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Then toggle Auto-download to on. This will begin downloading your entire music library. You may also want to toggle on Download only on Wi-Fi. This will prevent your device from downloading music when on cellular, this way you don’t get slammed with data charges. By selecting these options, any music added from your connected devices whether that be your phone, tablet, PC or Mac, will automatically download for offline playback.

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If you aren’t sure whether a song downloaded, selecting the loading circle or view the Downloaded only section in the navigation drawer. You could always toggle on Downloaded only, which will only play the songs you have downloaded on that device. Enabling Stream only on Wi-Fi in the settings will perform the same function.

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Another great option is selecting Refresh in the settings, this will double-check to make sure all your music is in sync. You can always turn Auto-download off if you’re running low on storage space. Just be smart and know that the songs you add after this option is turned off will stream and use up your data. You can check the status of your downloads under Manage downloads, which is also located in the settings. Signing out will remove all downloaded music stored on that device.

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So that’s pretty much all you need to know to download music for offline playback. The process is very similar on PC and Mac, so you shouldn’t experience many issues. But if you do, feel free to drop a comment below and a member of our team will try their best in assisting you. You can also view Google’s help forum or get in contact with a member of their support team if need be.


About the Author: Doug Demagistris

Doug was raised in New York and currently attends Muhlenberg College where he is majoring in Accounting. He has been a die-hard Google and Android enthusiast ever since he purchased the Samsung Galaxy Vibrant. Doug strongly prefers Android over competitors for its customization, flat Material Design and exceptional integration with Google Services. Currently, Doug switches between the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Nexus 5X, and travels with a Nexus 9. In addition, Doug wears an Android Wear smartwatch and has other gadgets such as a Nexus Player and Cardboard viewer. Aside from writing with Talk Android, Doug enjoys testing new applications, designing concepts and studying Android application development all while attempting to keep up with the rapid world of technology. He’s hopeful that his high productivity will make lives easier and more meaningful. Doug’s dream is to attend Google I/O.


  • Tom

    Having issues with the auto-download. I toggled to use that setting, but I don’t see my library increasing under the “manage downloads” section. What else do I have to do to get the downloads moving?

    • Doug Demagistris

      Hi Tom,
      Try clicking the refresh button in the settings and waiting a few moments. See if a notification pops up indicating that your library is downloading.

    • Bob

      I see the same thing, nothing downloading unless I specify manually.

      • Craig

        Same thing here. This is a real fail on Google’s part and a disincentive for anyone with Google Play All Access to get a new phone – as it stands, it looks like you have to go through album by album to download your library when you get a new device.

        • Ricardo P Fernandes

          Yeah it SUCKS

  • Wilson Nightstand

    Could be just the downloaded radio feature to keep songs rotated. That’s my guess.

  • Sil

    Auto download has never worked for me. I’m on my 3rd Android device with 64Gg external card, all set up right but auto download just won’t start. I’m beginning to think that this only works if you have a subscription

  • Robert Burns

    I bought an album before I subscribed can I listen to that with no subscription if I have it downloaded ?

  • Maryalice Anderson

    Thanks so much!

  • Bryant

    Any more luck with the Pixel? Mine should be here early next week and I’m hoping to use this exact process to download my entire library to the phone. Is it somehow a limitation that you need to have the subscription for this to work?

    • TimXer

      it seems you are able to download playlists easily. So I downloaded the “Free and purchased” auto playlist that google creates. This didn’t get me all the way there (although I haven’t really verified yet) as I don’t believe any music I uploaded (from other sources or ripped CD’s, etc.) was downloaded. Hope this helps. But simply toggling the auto-download feature still does nothing for me.

  • Bryant

    Does this process work for the new Google Pixel? I’m switching over to Android next week from iOS and have uploaded my entire music library to Google Play Music. I wanted to use this exact process and the ‘Auto-Download’ feature to download the whole library for offline listening on my device

  • StompChomp

    I Use a PC program called “Song Spout” its built for google music and its the only way to go

  • Bill DeWall

    how do you get google now to play only songs you downloaded, when i say “ok google play *name of song i have downloaded on my phone* “, google now app recognizes exactly what i said , but then proceedes to play some random shitty music i never heard before
    how can i make it just play my music that i have downloaed not through google music instead of some random bullshit?

  • keepreason

    Allavsoft also can download Google Play Music to MP3, AAC on Macand Windows

  • blw5184

    Where do the songs save to? Are they on my phone, or are they in the app? If they are in the app, can I still listen to them even if I don’t subscipe? I’m on a Samsung Galaxy S8+.
    Thank you!

    • izhmash

      The songs save to your phone within the app. It takes up storage space but it’ll appear as the app taking up more space than it previously did.

      • Forever Great

        It’s all a scam. I was purchasing and storing every song/ album on all of my notes until I unfortunately got into Google’s shit music store. Why even buy a song now?

  • Brandon Wright

    Auto-download does NOT download my entire music library. It only begins to download a song when I try to listen to it (which is frustrating because I have to wait a few seconds in between songs). Even songs that have been previously downloaded before have to be downloaded again when I listen to them again at another time. Please help me. I am using a Google Pixel.

  • Sheila Blackston

    Why do I have to pay $9.99/month to listen to music I’ve already paid for and downloaded?
    It wasn’t like this on my LG phone!
    I now have a Samsung Edge.

  • Doomups

    You can use allavsoft to download Google Play Music to MP3, AAC on Mac and Windows

  • Forever Great

    I’m BEYOND PISSED OFF. So everything from ringtones and slideshow application for pictures on my phone says ” no music found” and so basically the 200 plus bucks I’ve spent on this SHIT play store thinking I’m actually downloading songs into my phone like I was able to do with my note 7 and others, I wouldn’t have spent a fucking dime had I known the music was in a cloud. I hope people start to take notice and let Google get fucked. God I hate those people! If this scam isn’t bad enough the privacy they steal from you even when you adjust the settings is just borderline criminal. I won’t spend another cent on anything Google related and I hope their engineers and software folks choke on their sushi rolls and spill their morning lattes on their baby nuts!