How to Stop Spotify From Tracking You Because It Knows Too Much

Most Spotify users probably know that the streaming service tracks their listening activity, search history, playlists, and songs they like or skip – all of which help the algorithm figure out what you like, right? However, some users may be less happy with how much other data Spotify and its partners are logging. According to Spotify’s privacy policy , the company tracks:

  • Your name
  • E-mail address
  • Telephone number
  • Date of Birth
  • Floor
  • Postal address, country and other GPS location data
  • Login information
  • Payment information
  • Website cookies
  • ip address
  • Facebook user ID, login details, likes and other details.
  • Device information such as accelerometer or gyroscope data, operating system, model, browser, and even some data from other devices on your Wi-Fi network.

This information helps Spotify to tailor the song and artist recommendations to suit your tastes, and of course is used to improve the user experience in the app. However, the company also uses it to attract advertising partners who can create personalized ads based on your information . And that doesn’t even apply to third-party cross-site trackers, which also eagerly track your Spotify activity.

Treating people and their data like a consumable is messy, but it’s a common practice for most companies and websites these days, and the general public’s common reaction is usually a shrug (not to mention that a survey adults in the United States has shown that we value the value of our personal data highly .) However, this is still a security threat. As we’ve seen many times over the years, all it takes is one poorly secured server or an unusually skilled hacker to compromise the personal data held by companies like Spotify.

And to top it off, almost all of your Spotify profile information is public by default, so anyone else with a Spotify account can easily find you if you don’t do your best to change your settings.

Fortunately, you can restrict some of the data that Spotify and connected third-party apps collect, and you can also view the personal information stored in the app. Spotify doesn’t offer as many data privacy options, and many of them are prevalent across its web, desktop, and mobile apps, but we’ll show you where to find them all and which ones should be enabled for the most private Spotify experience. listening experience is possible. You know, relatively.

How to Change the Privacy Settings of Your Spotify Account

The web player is where to start if you want to customize your Spotify privacy. Pretty much all of Spotify’s data privacy settings are there, not in mobile or desktop apps.

We’ll start by reducing the amount of personal data you share with Spotify.

  1. Log into the Spotify web player on your desktop.
  2. Click the user’s icon, then go to Account> Edit Profile.
  3. Delete or edit any personal information you can.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Share my registration information with Spotify content providers for marketing purposes.
  5. Click “Save Changes”.

Next, let’s restrict how Spotify uses your personal data for advertising.

  1. Go to Account> Privacy Settings.
  2. Disable the “Process my personal information for personalized ads” setting . Note that you will still receive the same amount of ads – and Spotify will continue to track you – but your personal information will no longer be used to serve you targeted ads.
  3. Disable “Process my Facebook data . »This will stop Spotify using Facebook account information to further refine the announcement heard.

Finally, go to Account> Apps to view all external apps associated with your Spotify account and see a list of all the devices you’re signed in to. Delete anything that you no longer need or no longer need.

How to View Your Spotify Account Details

You can also see how much of your personal data Spotify has collected. At the bottom of the privacy settings page, there is an option to download your Spotify data for viewing. While you cannot delete this data from your account, it does show you personal information, listening and search history, and other data. the company has collected. Click on “Request” to start the process. Please note that Spotify can take up to 30 days to prepare your data for download.

How to Hide Public Playlists and Listening Activity on Spotify

Your Spotify playlists and listening actions are public by default, but you can quickly disable them or even block certain listening actions on Spotify web and desktop apps. While this does not affect the Spotify data tracking, it is still recommended to hide some information if you are trying to keep Spotify as private as possible.

How to turn off Spotify listening

Desktop

  1. Click on your profile picture and go to Settings> Social.
  2. Turn off the Make my new playlists public option .
  3. Disable “Share my listens on Spotify”.

Mobile

  1. Tap the settings icon in the upper right corner of the app.
  2. Scroll down to Social Media.
  3. Disable Listening.

How to hide Spotify playlists

Don’t forget to hide previously created playlists, which are made public by default. This can be done from desktop, web and mobile applications.

Mobile

  1. Open the “Your Library” tab.
  2. Select a playlist.
  3. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  4. Select “Make a secret.”

Desktop app and web player

  1. Open the playlist in the library panel on the left.
  2. Click the three-dot icon next to the playlist name.
  3. Select “Make a secret.”

How to Use Private Listening Mode on Spotify

Spotify’s private listening mode also hides your listening activity, but you need to manually turn it on every time you want to use it.

Mobile

  1. In the app, go to Settings> Social.
  2. Click Enable Private Session.

Desktop app and web player

There are three ways to enable a private session on the desktop:

  • Click your profile picture and select Private Session.
  • Or click the … icon in the upper left corner and choose File> Private Session.
  • Or go to Settings> Social and select the Start private session to listen anonymously radio button .

Note that private sessions only affect what other users see (or not see). This does not prevent Spotify from tracking your activity – although, as Wired points out , Spotify’s Privacy Policy vaguely states that private mode “cannot influence” your recommendations, so it is possible that some data is not being tracked while that mode is turned on. It’s better to use the privacy controls described in the sections above if you want to change the way Spotify collects data.

How to Limit Tracking of Third Party Cookies on Spotify

Enabling the above privacy settings will help reduce the amount of data Spotify tracks and uses for ads and keep some of your Spotify listening history hidden from other users, but you should also take steps to limit how other apps and websites track your. Spotify activity.

The desktop app has built-in cookie blocking controls that can:

  1. In the desktop app, click your username in the upper right corner.
  2. Choose Settings> Show Advanced Settings.
  3. Scroll down to ‘Privacy’ and enable ‘Block all cookies for this Spotify desktop app installation’.
  4. Close and restart the application for the changes to take effect.

For iOS and iPad users, you can turn off App Tracking in your device’s settings . Android users have a similar option , but not as aggressive. And for those listening to the Spotify web player, use browsers with strong privacy controls like Safari , Firefox, or Brave .

Last resort: delete your Spotify account.

Even if all possible privacy settings are turned on and private listening sessions are always on, Spotify is still tracking your data. If this is completely unacceptable to you , the only real option is to delete your account. This will permanently delete all of your Spotify data – just make sure you download and back up any data you want to import into other services before proceeding.

  1. Go to the “Contact Spotify Support” web page and sign in to your Spotify account.
  2. Select the “Account” section.
  3. Click “I want to close my account” in the list of options.
  4. Scroll down the page and click “Close Account”.
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen, clicking Continue each time to move forward.
  6. After final confirmation, Spotify will send you an email with a cancellation link. Click the “Close My Account” button to confirm that you want to delete your account (this link is only active for 24 hours).

To be clear, we are not urging everyone to log out and delete their Spotify accounts due to the company’s privacy policies and advertising practices, but it is always important to know how and why the apps and websites we use are tracking us. As we discussed above, even well-intentioned companies can tinker with your data, inadvertently transferring it into the wrong hands.

Even if you’re happy that Spotify is tracking you and don’t want to enable the options we’ve covered in this guide, take the time to set up your account privacy with a strong password and two-factor login, and then remove any unnecessary information from your profile. … These additional steps will help keep you safe in the event of an unexpected security breach.

[ Wired ]

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