Part of the community-building efforts of Spotify is letting other people know what you’re listening to. However, this may not be because you want to keep others apprised of your music choices. Spotify automatically makes your listening history, or listening activity, public to followers. This means anyone who follows you can see what is being streamed from your computer in real-time.
This isn’t to scare you, just to let you know that though you may be listening to that incredibly explicit song in the privacy of your headphones, your mom could pop in at any point and tell you to turn it off. Parents know Spotify, kids, and they probably know yours.
Listen to Music Without the World Watching
The listening activity feature can help those who are attempting to build followers around their playlists and influence others’ listening activity. Still, there are times when users desire privacy for whatever reason. Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t allow you to disable this feature on your account completely. There is a way you can temporarily suspend your listening activity, though.
Spotify Private Session
If you wish to turn off listening activity, you can enable a Private Session. Once Spotify has been restarted, or you go inactive for an extended period of time, the session will restart. If you really want to keep your listening activity private, you’ll have to turn on Private Session each time you open Spotify.
Enabling Private Session is different from desktop/laptop to mobile phone/tablet, but it’s incredibly easy to do from both platforms.
- In the desktop app, look for a downwards facing arrow in the right corner. This should appear next to your username. Click the arrow.
- Select “Private Session.”
- You will see a blue padlock icon on your profile icon. This indicates that the private session has started.
- To undo the session, go into the arrow and click “Private Session” again.
Phone or Tablet
- Click the home icon (it looks like a house).
- Go into your Settings > Social.
- Locate “Private Session” and tap to enable it.
- To undo the session, go back into your settings and tap “Private Session” again.
Disable Friend Activity
While you can turn off listening activity for yourself, you can also turn off what is known as Friend Activity. This is a great way to retain their privacy if you know it’s an issue for them. Friend Activity displays the listening activity of those you follow on Spotify. If you have no interest in seeing what they’re streaming for the day, you can mute the feed. This is actually where your music feed shows up, as well: in your followers’ Friend Activity.
As of now, you can only disable Friend Activity from your desktop.
- Click the arrow in the right corner of the desktop app, next to your username.
- Go to Settings > Display Options.
- In Display Options, you’ll see an option to toggle on (green) or off (grey) Friend Activity.
Another option available to users is to create Secret Playlists. You can turn an existing public playlist private by removing it from your profile. This way, if you can listen to your favorite tunes without other people knowing. If you share these playlists, however, the people you shared them with can still partake.
- Find the playlist you wish to make secret and right-click.
- Select “Make Secret.” You can undo this action by choosing “Make Public.”
- Find the playlist you wish to make secret and locate the more options icon (three dots).
- Tap the icon and select “Make Secret.” You can undo this action by tapping “Make Public.”
If you really want to hide what you’re listening to from the world, there’s always the option to create a fake Spotify persona. In a way, it’s like Spotify catfishing. It’s totally not recommended that you create a fake profile, however. Just turn on Private Session and listen to your 90s bubblegum pop in peace – or not! Hey, that stuff is party music!